The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Fair Go for Fair Trade

This Saturday, May 12th, is World Fair Trade Day, and this year the theme is Kids Need Fair Trade. Joanna has already blogged, at the start of Fair Trade Fortnight on April 28th, about how to find local fair trade coffee in Wellington.

Fair trade kind of sounds like one of those really earnest causes lefties harp on about, but one of the things that has struck me about these campaigns is the slow but steady success. We now have fair trade goods in places other than Trade Aid - some supermarkets, upmarket retailers, and many cafes. Yes, it's still small, but I believe the fact that's this change is growing is significant.

When I was in the UK briefly last year there was a small town* which had started to build a fair trade community, emanating from the local Anglican church. Nickname Pending was quite inspired by this and he's slowly slowly building up a similar concept in his parish. It takes a long time to succeed, but they are already selling a lot of fair trade products within their congregation (including to my pantry) and now they are starting to promote it in the broader community at a low level. This church is quite literally loving their neighbours, even if they aren't quite next door.

Many of us work in offices or similar environments where we could probably push for fair trade coffee** to replace whatever management is currently supplying. It's a small, but real, difference we could make.

Fair trade products might cost us a little more but potentially the benefits to those producing the goods, and their families, is significant. We pride ourselves on being a country that's all about giving people a "fair go," and many New Zealanders say they sincerely believe in treating others as they would wish to be treated ourselves. Buying fair trade goods when possible is an opportunity to walk that talk.

* Unfortunately I forget where but I'll see if I can find it in my journal.
** And tea and hot chocolate. I can personally vouch for the extreme yumminess of the Trade Aid Dark Hot Chocolate.

(Pic Via)


Make Tea Not War said...

The other day I got a really handy small basket at Trade Aid for all the tv/dvd/Wii remotes. And a nice inlaid wooden box for my bookmark collection too. They've got some good stuff there -quite inexpensively priced.

Idiot/Savant said...

I've managed to make the permanent switch to fairtrade coffee - though its the ease of being able to order it online I think which has made the difference.

As for hot chocolate, true hot chocolate is made by melting chocolate into milk. Powdered stuff is for wusses.

unPC lesbian said...

I can certainly vouch for the Fair Trade dark chocolate. I am personally susidising I don't know how many chocolate bean farmers by my consumption and I'm not gonna tell you where i buy it from cos they ran out on Sunday and I had to settle for milk

Terence said...

as I understand it, you ought to be able to buy fair trade coffee for the same price as normal coffee (of the same quality). The idea being that the fair trade process cuts out the middleman (middle-person) and via the savings made doing this it can afford to both offer your drink at the same price and pay a premium to the farmer.

Scott James said...

Fair Trade products don't always have to cost more, either.

We set our pricing for sports balls to be equivalent with our competition at the various quality levels. We can do so since we don't have to support multi-million dollar marketing budgets.

Instead, we rely on positive word of mouth, particularly through our friends throughout the blogging community.


- Scott James
Fair Trade Sports

Idiot/Savant said...

UnPC: it certainly makes good hot chocolate - though it may require additional suger (BTW, my favourute recipe ATM is Spanish: melt 50g of chocolate (or 5 squares fair trade dark, since its strong) in a cup of milk with a tablespoon of sugar and a cinammon stick. When its all melted, add one cup of strong, black coffee and optionally a small amount of brandy. Serve it in cups with a small amount of orange peel at the bottom; the heat releases the flavour from the peel, giving it a lovely taste and smell)

Terence: I've found much cheaper coffee, but it also tends to be very bad coffee (Civio, ick). But if you prefer decent stuff, then it costs about the same.