Why Fair Trade Matters

- by Whitney Caldarone with Purposefully Purchased

Growing up I would hear or see the term fair trade sprinkled about but never really knew what it meant. At that time, when I thought of fair trade, all I could think of was overpriced tea, coffee, and colorful handicrafts. It wasn't until I was much older that fair trade would weave its way into the very fabric of my heart.

“Every purchase matters because every person behind each product matters.”

Fair trade is how most people believe all businesses operate, but sadly this is not the case. Human trafficking has infiltrated a vast majority of supply chains on many different levels so that we greatly benefit from slave labor and exploited people every. single. day.

We are much more familiar with the produce and products we enjoy than the faces behind them. Farmers, miners, factory workers, jewelry makers...the list goes on. Fair trade focuses on the treatment and livelihoods of these people, who have become invisible and voiceless to the modern-day consumer.

Fair trade matters because people and their treatment matter! Just because some were born into different circumstances, does not make it right for me to treat myself with the fruits of their suffering and sacrifice in an attempt to survive. This injustice is a constant reality.

“Shopping fair trade in just one small area is a great way to fight back!”

Don't let this truth overwhelm you or crush you. Shopping fair trade in just one small area is a great way to fight back! I started with buying Starfish Project jewelry about 4 years ago, and that small regular purchase has lead to a big impact!

Starfish Project's name comes from the idea that one starfish thrown back into the sea is worth every effort, though millions still lay suffering on the shore. That same thought resonates deeply with me with every fair trade purchase I make.

Every purchase matters because every person behind each product matters. And multiplied by consistency and community, it's a path to real positive change.