Monday, 1 July 2013

Fair Trade movement re-states commitment to green practices

In recent weeks, two key statements by the international fair trade movement have re-stated their commitment to environmentally friendly practices in the production of fair trade goods.

Principles of Fair Trade

One of the core tenets of the fair trade movement is the sustainability of the production process.

Indeed one of the World Fair Trade Organisation’s (WFTO) 10 Principles of Fair Trade is “Respect for the environment”, which states:

• Organizations which produce Fair Trade products maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible.

• They use production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption and where possible use renewable energy technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

• They seek to minimize the impact of their waste stream on the environment.

• Fair Trade agricultural commodity producers minimize their environmental impacts, by using organic or low pesticide use production methods wherever possible.

• Buyers and importers of Fair Trade products give priority to buying products made from raw materials that originate from sustainably managed sources, and have the least overall impact on the environment.

• All organizations use recycled or easily biodegradable materials for packing to the extent possible, and goods are dispatched by sea wherever possible.”

Global Fair Trade Week & Fair Trade Beyond 2015

This commitment to eco-friendly practices was re-confirmed at WFTO’s Global Fair Trade Week in Brazil in May 2013. The conference statement declared that the international fair trade movement would continue to fight against “the causes of climate change” and for “respect for the environment”.

In addition, the Fair Trade Beyond 2015 campaign (which is calling on the UN to replace the 2015 Millennium Development Goals with a new global development framework) wants to “encourage environmentally-sustainable farming and production practices” as one of the key elements of its development framework.

Fair Trade equals eco-friendly

So fair trade is not only about making a commitment to balancing the current unequal global trade rules and practices, but to creating an ‘equitable and sustainable world’ based on environmental as well as social and economic development.

This environmentally sustainable approach to business is carried out by fair trade retailers across the world, as the goods they sell are usually made by small artisan producer groups creating high quality handmade goods in an eco-friendly manner.

How Accessory Fair helps the environment

For example, here at Accessory Fair, our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment is a core element of our business philosophy which can be seen in many ways. For example:

• The vast majority of our fair trade products are made using natural materials and eco-friendly dyes.

• One of our jewellery suppliers works exclusively with the Women for Conservation project in Columbia, which seeks to help marginalized women who live near nature reserves to make ethical jewellery using sustainable materials.

• Our winter woolies supplier recently funded a river erosion rescue project in the village where many of their workers live in Nepal.

• Within our own business we use the bio-degradable Eco Poly Jacket to send out orders, and only ever use 100% recycled paper. In this way we, along with every other fair trade retailer, are doing our bit to minimise our impact on the environment, and contribute to the global fair trade movement campaigns to encourage environmental sustainability.

Colin Timperley
Accessory Fair