Why I believe in Fair Trade

Posted on July 25, 2011


At a ZeroWaste conference I attended last year a speaker was talking about the lack of precautions around the use of pesticides by local farm workers, as well as education on how toxic it is to human health. Afterwards a lady in the crowd raised her hand and then stood up, only to announce that her client – a silent African woman sat beside her- had lost her child to such a case. He was playing in a field that had been recently sprayed with pesticides and somehow must have consumed or inhaled some of these crop pesticides.

Now I see for certain that ‘Organic’ and ‘FairTrade’ is more than just another pretentious fad: it’s a strong silent ‘no’ against not only the unnatural industrialisation of the farming world, but also a stand against the ethical abuse that goes on purely for the cheap production of consumable goods.

My mother has always been an avid couch activist, a quiet (well, not always) advocate against abuse of humans, animals and the planet in business. She has taught me that through our everyday actions as consumers and citizens we directly affect how the world is run: What we say, think and do makes a difference and by buying into an unethical product we are simultaneously giving these businesses the right to continue exploiting for their own profit.
Anita Roddick became an early role model for me and I hope some day to live up to the standards she has set. Like the title of one of her books states, I do indeed ‘take it personally’ – ‘it’ being the untold corruption, abuse and exploitation that goes on in much business, as well as the smooth marketing strategies that make to pull the wool over the eyes of the common citizen.

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