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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fair Trade and Ethical Shopping

After watching a TV show about sweat shops and hideous working conditions for skilled sewers/tailors/seamstresses, I realised that its easy to forget where our clothing comes from while being caught up in the excitement of shopping online.

I don't want to wear a shirt that took some poor worker 2 hours to make in a stinking horrible room.  I don't want to be responsible for someone sleeping on the floor under their sewing machine and getting paid 2 rupees for something sold at an obscene profit.  

So what is the solution?  How do you avoid the sweat shops and give your money to the companies that profit share with their workers?  How do you ensure that your clothes were not made using child labour?

The answer?  Make the switch to support Fair Trade clothing.

Your purchase can make a huge difference in creating supportive, ethical working environments that empower the workers and fight against poverty, mistreatment and exploitation.

How to check to find out if your latest online purchase is Fair Trade:

1.  Look for the Fair Trade logo

2.  Go to the company website and check in the "about us" section.   If it mentions supporting workers co-ops or profit sharing with the workers, you are on the right track.

3.  Check YouTube for videos of the company's profile and working conditions.

4.  If in doubt, call the company and ask the questions.

Fair Trade Alpargatas (Slippers)
Supports a worker-owned Buenos Aires Co-operative.

100% Organic Fair Trade cotton.  Made by accredited Fair Trade producers.

You can take this ethos to your everyday shopping as well:
The Ethical Consumer Guide
At a glance, Australian consumers can now check the track record of the companies behind their favourite brands.  Your weekly supermarket shop can make a difference.


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