Fair-trade is gaining in popularity and can be seen on many different products, but most people don’t understand the importance and meaning of the words. Action is needed to spread awareness of fair trade as the form of social justice that it is. And although fair trade is becoming more popular, some people are still not sure how to make donations or how to support fair trade companies. This is what the Fair trade Consortium held on March 15 was all about.
“The easiest way to give back is to just buy something. We’re not just doing it for ourselves, we’re doing it for the good of the world,” fair trade ambassador Alyssa Moyer said.
However, just buying fair trade goods is not enough to maintain the positive change that people desire.
Colleges and universities such as Cabrini, Villanova, Chestnut Hill, St. Joseph’s and Rosemont are working together to promote fair trade products within their respective schools. Students presented various ideas about how they can implement the sale and use of fair trade goods in their schools, which included using fair trade products in their cafeterias, selling them in the school stores and selling them at sporting events and consortiums.
Students also observed more interesting, yet basic facts about fair trade products as well.
“Fair trade products genuinely taste better than other products. If you have a piece of Divine chocolate and compare it to a piece of Hershey chocolate, the Divine chocolate is creamier, richer,” Moyer said. “I can’t even eat Hershey anymore.”
One other major point of interest was looked to how major companies are currently incorporating fair trade products in their goods. Ben and Jerry’s is just one of many companies that use as many fair trade products as possible to make their ice cream.
“They have a commitment that within the next year, everything that can possibly be fair trade that goes in their ice cream, will be used in production,” Fair Trade USA ambassador Bill Linstead Goldsmith said.
While the goal right now is to have as many schools in the area sell fair trade products, the ultimate goal is to have people school-wide buy fair trade products and incorporate them into their lives.
“We want to do what we can to help the farmers out,” Moyer said. “They provide us with quality products, so the least we can do is make sure they get what they are owed.”
At the end of the event, each table, mixed with students from all the participating colleges, discussed what they learned from the day and their conversations with each other. Most explained their plans of institutionalizing fair trade at their schools, as well as creating more awareness for the products being offered.
“It was also helpful for throwing around ideas in regards to events,” a fair trade ambassador from Villanova shared with the room. “It was also helpful for us to talk about how to get people to our events and recruit new members.”
Through these interactions, contact information was shared as well as event dates and programing at the different schools. The hope is that through collaboration, the spread of fair trade awareness can improve at a faster rate.
Upcoming Fair Trade Events
April 2, 2013: Villanova is holding a Global Development Day.
April 10, 2013: Fair Trade Forum at Cabrini in the Iadarola building.