How to Support the Fair Trade Movement

Fair Trade worker making natural dyes

At Passion Lilie, fair trade is more than a label we add to the bottom of our website and to the tags on our clothes. It’s not just a distinction we’re proud to have achieved. The fair trade movement is the heart of who we are as a company – our raison d’être. We’re passionate about fair trade because we care about people around the world who make the goods we use every day.

We understand that shopping fair trade is not always as easy as ordering what you want from Amazon or big fashion companies like H&M, Old Navy, and SheIn. Shipping may take longer, and the cost to you may be higher. In this post, we’ll share why we believe supporting ethical practices and empowering workers across the globe is worth the sacrifices on our end. The fair trade movement strives for a more equitable world by ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and sustainable production practices. This post explores the ins and outs of the fair trade movement, its benefits, and the many ways you can be part of its growth.

Gift with a Fair Trade tagUnderstanding Fair Trade

Fair trade is a growing movement that brings together producers, businesses, and consumers over a shared philosophy and pursuit of equity. Fair trade businesses commit to upholding strict economic, social, and environmental standards throughout their supply chains. This includes:

  • Fair pay: Workers receive living wages, allowing them to afford and invest in their futures. Passion Lilie and other fair trade businesses use the Global Living Wage Coalition’s (GLWC) definition to establish a living wage. They define a living wage as:

The remuneration received for a standard workweek by a worker in a particular place is sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs, including provision for unexpected events.

  • Safe working conditions: Safe working environments prioritize health and well-being, eliminating exploitative practices. Workers have a voice, participating in decision-making processes.
  • Environmental sustainability: You may notice that your favorite fair trade brands are also eco-friendly. This overlap happens because fair trade prioritizes responsible resource management, minimizing pollution, and promoting biodiversity. To provide safe work environments for farmers and producers, we eliminate toxic chemicals and pesticides detrimental to their health (and the environment). Sustainable farming techniques and organic production methods contribute to a healthier planet.
  • Community development: Fair trade empowers workers, particularly small-scale farmers and artisans, to invest in themselves and their communities. It enables workers to earn and save money to build their own businesses and give back to their local communities. Fair trade organizations often invest in schools, healthcare, and professional opportunities where their producers work.

    Passion Lilie, for example, has developed a free job training program for Indian women in the apparel industry who are interested in becoming tailors. Through our program, participants receive three months of free job training, a salary, a loaned sewing machine, and free space to work in our partner's sewing unit. The trainee learns valuable advanced sewing skills on a variety of garments and fabrics allowing them to become a skilled tailor and receive a salary increase. Upon completion of the program, the trainee is offered a job at our Partner’s Unit.

A group of happy fair trade workers

Why Choose Fair Trade?

Still wondering why we think everyone should choose to shop fair trade? Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Empowering people around the world: You directly contribute to improving the livelihood of farmers and artisans. Fair wages ensure they can provide for their families and build a secure future.
  • Environmental protection: sustainable practices minimize the negative impact of production on the environment, fostering a healthier planet for future generations.
  • Ethical consumption: By supporting fair trade businesses, you can avoid contributing to dangerous sweatshop practices and unethical labor conditions.
  • Quality products: Fair trade businesses typically produce higher quality goods. Producers take pride in their work, using traditional methods and natural ingredients.
  • Building a better world: You become part of a movement advocating for fairness and sustainability in global trade.

Making a Difference: Ways to Support the Fair Trade Movement

There are countless ways to get involved with the fair trade movement, from individual actions to community initiatives. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Become an informed consumer: Educate yourself about fair trade principles and certifications. Resources like the Fair Trade Federation and Good On You’s brand rating directory can help you make informed choices.
  • Put your purchasing power to work: Look for fair trade labels when shopping for everyday items like coffee, chocolate, bananas, flowers, and clothing. Supporting fair trade brands directly empowers producers and sends a message to the global business community that fair trade is important and valued.
  • Spread awareness: Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about fair trade. So many topics are tricky to discuss right now but supporting workers around the world is something we can all gather around. Share information, encourage fair trade options, and consider inviting a fair trade speaker to one of your community groups.
  • Advocate for change: Petition for fair trade policies in your workplace or local government. Encourage businesses to adopt fair trade practices in their supply chains.
  • Turn your community into a Fair Trade Town: Fair Trade Towns is a campaign that helps you advocate for fair trade practices in your community. Fair Trade communities actively promote fair trade businesses and educate residents. You can explore opportunities to volunteer or participate in local events.
  • Choose ethical fashion: Opt for clothing and accessories made by fair trade businesses. Brands like Passion Lilie offer affordable ethical clothing that promotes sustainability and fair labor practices.
  • Think beyond products: Fair Trade isn’t limited to consumer goods. Consider supporting fair trade service providers, such as travel companies or catering businesses, that uphold fair trade principles in their operations.

A fair trade worker holds fair trade chocolate

Individual Actions Lead to Collective Impact

Every choice we make has the potential to create ripples of change. By supporting fair trade businesses, you contribute to a more equitable and sustainable global marketplace. Even seemingly small actions like choosing fair trade coffee or having conversations about fair trade can have a significant impact. Together, we can create a world where ethical practices are the norm, and workers around the globe are able to thrive.

If you have questions or thoughts about the fair trade movement, please reach out! We’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, we’d love to see you support the fair trade movement by shopping with Passion Lilie. Here are some of our favorite pieces: 

A man wears Passion Lilie's light blue button down

Our Light Blue Men’s Button Down Shirt is a gorgeous basic every man needs in his closet. It’s made with 100% handwoven and hand-dyed cotton. Gentle tapering at the waist with a straight and narrow profile and a broader fit in the shoulders gives this shirt the perfect fit. 

Reusable tote bags

Reusable tote bags are an excellent addition to your sustainable lifestyle. They’re perfect for bringing to the grocery store, packing a picnic, or filling with thoughtful gifts. We have tons of prints available, so choose the one that best matches your style!

Passion Lilie serene blue organic pants and sunny organic cotton top

As an eco-friendly apparel company, Passion Lilie is wholly devoted to making fair trade products designed in New Orleans and handcrafted in India. Purchasing clothing, accessories, and home goods from Passion Lilie is a chic and unique way to show your support for the movement while looking good too. Visit our website to view our full eco-friendly clothing line and other products and start supporting fair trade now!

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