That candy bar you just bought, that pretty lingerie, that yummy cup of coffee...do you know where they came from? Most people have no idea. Did you know many of these goods were made in sweatshops or by child labor? Maybe it's time to learn more about your every day purchases.
When the big push for globalization and free trade began over a half century ago, and the promise was to end poverty and create wealth. It has created more wealth, but only for the wealthy. Please don't confuse these terms "free trade" and "fair trade." Free trade is drastically different than fair trade.
The reality is that it has created more poverty than ever before. The rich are getting richer off the sweat and blood of the poor.
Did you know that almost half the world, over 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 per day?
One half of the world's children live in poverty and 400 million have no access to safe water. More than 640 million live without adequate shelter, 270 million have no access to medical care and roughly 29,000 children under the age of 5 die every single day...over 10 million children die every year. This is in great part a result of the unfair trade practices of multinationals and the World Trade Organization's lack of concern.
Anita Roddick put it simply. "If the WTO is our new, elected world government, then it is government without a heart, and without a heart, you find the creativity of the human spirit dwindles too."
Do we want to continue to support this system of greed and corruption and cover-ups in order to buy our cheap goods at the big multinationals like Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us who flout the labor laws and basic worker's rights? Imagine buying toys for your child who were made by a child working in miserable slave labor conditions. This is what we do every day.
Did you know that the average CEO these days earns 417 times the wages of the sweatshop workers they employ?
As consumers we have all the power to change the way business is done. Supporting fair trade is more powerful than you can imagine, and one of the easiest ways to make huge changes in the world.
The reality of today's world is that many big businesses only measure their success by money, not even considering the treatment of humans and the impact this will have. In the big picture this is pathetically inadequate. This is not a sustainable system when it only ensures the financially "fit" survive, while people, communities and nations are bled dry.
Corporate giant John D.Rockefeller once boasted that he was willing to pay someone a salary of a million dollars if they were brutal enough. "He must be able to glide over every moral restraint with almost childlike disregard, and has, besides other positive qualities, no scruples whatsoever and be ready to kill thousands of victims--without a murmur"
Is this the business model we want to support? This is the reality of multinational businesses today.
Below is the story of how I became involved, and how we can make our world a better place.
Since I was a child I have had a wanderlust, and undying urge to see the world and experience the cultures and beauty of diversity.
I have been fortunate to have traveled the world extensively and make many of those dreams come true, and in my travels have discovered that each country has beautiful, rich and culturally unique art, food and products for sale.
I slowly began to import these beautiful treasures and sell them here in the U.S. at craft markets and to small businesses. Along the way, awareness was growing. I was becoming aware of how poorly the artisans were living...their lack of good water and shelter and medical care when you could find their products in big department and specialty stores back home for inflated prices.
Most of these producers live in developing nations and wouldn't otherwise have access to a global market, so they feel stuck with the unfair trading practices of the buyers who are sourcing their goods. It doesn't have to be this way.
The rich are growing richer at the expense of the poor artisans and farmers who are doing all the hard work, barely able to survive. So I started thinking about what I could do to make a difference.
It's simple really. Everyone deserves fair trade. It's the opposite of unfair trade isn't it? Everyone deserves a sustainable wage. Everyone deserves clean water, medical care, food on their table and things so many of us take for granted. We as consumers hold the power to change everything.
This business is to help you help others. Find out what fair trade is all about, and how you can help create a better, more sustainable world.