A view of Nakusp. (Photo-Kootenay Rockies)

A view of Nakusp. (Photo-Kootenay Rockies)

‘Do the world a favour and think again’: Fair trade Committee speaks up

Nakusp is designated a fair trade community

Oriah and her team

The Fair Trade Committee

Nakusp became a fair trade community in 2009 thanks to the efforts of students from Nakusp Elementary School. Nakusp was the first Fair Trade town in BC and the fourth in Canada.

Ever wonder how the products we buy get to the store before we pick them up and bring them home? The truth is, the complicated process that lands them in our hands is most likely not at all mutually beneficial.

It is easy to believe that any or all items, that one buys, are manufactured in an entirely equitable way when this is not always the case. Though thinking like this may be more instantly gratifying, as it allows one to shop without worry, it is unrealistic.

Most products are produced and sold in a way that is harmful to those who make them. There is a way, though, to shop without feeling either guilty or ignorant of the facts. Shop Fair trade!

Buying Fair trade is a way to guarantee that the products we purchase are produced and sold fairly. In other words, it ensures that everyone involved in the process of buying and selling an item benefits in the way that they should.

Fair trade connects the whole world in a global web of ethical trading. Have I piqued your interest? Read on to find out more! Be warned, it may change your life for the better.

For a business to partner with Fair trade, they must abide by the principles and use only products that are also Fair trade certified. There are ten major principles of Fair trade: partners must provide opportunities for disadvantaged producers, be entirely transparent and accountable in their communication, conduct trade fairly and honestly, use mutually fair prices, ensure the absence of forced or child labor, be totally non-discriminatory, ensure positive working conditions, provide capacity building for employees, promote Fair trade, and act respectfully toward the environment.

It was said by Enrique Calderon, “Fair trade is much more than merely an environmental certification, it is the only and best ethical and social certification that really ensures social and environmental, ethical and economic impact, and therefore human impact”. Today, there are around 30,000 unique Fair trade products and over 660,000 certified farmers.

One of the best-known Fair trade products right now is coffee. Quality is always ensured as Fair trade farmers spend at least 25% of their premium to enhance their coffee annually. It has won 14 great taste awards, plus there is no better feeling than knowing one’s coffee is produced ethically.

Though it is true that Fair trade coffee can be slightly more expensive, the quality and the sustainability it guarantees makes it all worthwhile. We are given quite a lot of responsibility in that our choice of coffee (and groceries in general) could change someone’s life.

We must ask ourselves if it’s worth saving a few bucks if we are endorsing slave labor. We must be conscious of the gravity of even our most seemingly insignificant decisions. So, next time that bag of cheap coffee beans catches your eye, I hope you will do yourself and the world a favor and think again.



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