Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.
You may remember a past Philanthropy Friday where I featured the fair trade company, Jolica. I’ve kept in touch with Jolica and have been corresponding Ingrid Heinrich Pauls, who handles public and media relations for the Canada-based company.
When you talk with Ingrid, her passion for fair trade is obvious. She shared with me an editorial she recently wrote in response to the way we, as consumers, make our shopping decisions. Certainly, a timely subject to be thinking about. I thought it was worth sharing because I think we need to be more aware of how and where we spend our money.
Following is the editorial, which was also published in the Toronto Sun and Fair Trade Federation.
Reflections: Christmas shopping, garment fire, knock-offs
Just as many of us began our most intense shopping weeks of the year, news broke about a garment factory fire in Bangladesh. One hundred and twelve workers died because they could not escape. A week later we heard that $3 million worth of knock-offs, including toys stuffed with dog fur, were discovered here in Canada. We were collectively appalled and disgusted. How could our retailers buy products made by people working in such poor conditions? How could they try to sell us products that are potentially dangerous?
Will we just wring our hands, say that something should be done, and then continue making our shopping decisions according to price & brand names?
If we make our consumer decisions based on brand names and price, why would retailers spend time and money on work that is anything but as cheap as possible? Why would they prioritize ethical trade practices and hold people in their chain of production accountable?
Every time we make a purchase we are supporting that retailer and its trade practices. Our outrage alone will not inspire change. Only our consumer decisions have that power.
Fair Trade and Ethical Trade are ineffective if they are only supported in theory – they need sales.
It is possible, even easy, to find great products that were produced ethically. Fair Trade jewelry and personal accessories, clothing, home furnishings, flowers, sports balls, coffee, and food products can be found on-line, at home sales, community events, and in shops across the country.
Christmas really can be about spreading peace on earth and goodwill toward mankind.
Ingrid Heinrichs Pauls
December 6, 2012
How much thought do you put in to the products you buy? (I know I’ve been thinking more about this topic a lot lately.)