Fair Trade Movement Continues to Grow & Diversify Globally
The Fair Trade Movement began in the late 1940s with just a handful of companies like Ten Thousand Villages, an NGO affiliated with the Mennonite Church, and SERRV International. They wanted to create an alternative trading model dealing directly with farmers and artisans and cutting out exploitative middlemen and wholesalers. Fair Traders ensure that producers and artisans are paid a fair wage and that products are created in a sweatshop-free environment,
The British organizations "Oxfam" and "Traidcraft" joined the movement in the 1970s and "Pueblo to People" started their Fair Trade catalog business soon after. The movement accelerated in the 80s and 90s as Fair Trade coffee, tea, chocolate and textile crafts became popular in N. America and throughout Europe. "Equal Exchange" opened in 1986 and "Illuminate's" predecessor, "Fair Trade Quilts & Crafts," began selling handmade textiles just before Christmas in 1999.
The internet made it possible to reach many more people with what was, at first, a niche message about ethical shopping. Today, most consumers in America understand what Fair Trade means and how it benefits artisans and producers. The movement began with just a handful of products such as coffee and bananas, but today includes home decor, clothing, and ceramics. And Fair Trade isn't just about fair wages any more.
Borgenmag.com: "Fair trade is also about ensuring that employers treat workers well and that employees can conduct work in safe, clean environments. Certified fair trade organizations invariably uphold standards to ensure compliance with this. For instance, Nest, a fair trade organization specifically geared toward improving conditions for artisans, has policies governing hours of work, enforcing grievance procedures and rights for collective bargaining and ensuring workers are permitted time off."
As consumers became more aware of sweatshop abuses in the developing world by large corporations seeking to evade safety regulations and reduce costs, many embraced Fair Trade. In 2017 sales of Fair Trade products exceeded 9.2 billion dollars worldwide, with about 2 million producers involved. Coffee is still the biggest seller globally, but you can now also buy Fair Trade tea, beer, wine and vodka, to name just a few items. And while we were one of the first Fair Trade textile organizations in 1999, we have plenty of competition today selling beautiful clothing and home decor items from around the world.
Illuminate Fair Trade [Fair Trade Quilts & Crafts] will celebrate its 20th Anniversary in November. We thank you for your support. We look forward to another 20 years of working with our artisan partners in Guatemala and S. Asia to bring you fabulous textile crafts.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content