Fair Trade Calgary believes that our city is capable of leading a movement to support ethical procurement.
This local not-for-profit is on a mission to make Calgary the next Fair Trade Town in Canada. Fair Trade Town is a designation administered by Fair Trade organizations. Find it, in various countries supporting Fairtrade International. Together it unites local stores, restaurants, and communities around. Supporting, fair wages, ethical working conditions. Plus, environmentally sustainable practices all along the supply chain!
SO, FAIRTRADE SHOULD BE EASY!
“We’d like to make it easier for people or businesses who want to make Fair Trade choices to connect with the appropriate suppliers and producers,” says Erin Bird of Fair Trade Calgary. “Further, people are looking for that symbol.” Besides providing connections, Fair Trade Calgary also encourages other businesses to get the Fairtrade International certification.
THEIR FAIRTRADE JOURNEY…
First created in 1988, Fairtrade International is an organization that sets the standards for fair working conditions and premiums for suppliers in the developing world – from coffee beans and chocolate to beauty products. There are other certification bodies who have different standards and audit systems. Lowen’s Skincare, for example, uses Fair Trade USA certified coconut oil and “Fair for Life” Fair Trade Certified Shea Butter in many of our products.
Bird first met Lowen’s founder Chad Zelensky at an event for REAP Business Association. “Chad was explaining challenges he’d had, regarding which certification to support.”
“I always try to offer businesses ways to tie in Fair Trade.”
Finally, Lowen’s has been an avid supporter of Fair Trade right here Calgary. In short, all it took was exploring becoming a Fair Trade licensee in Alberta.
SUPPORTING A MOVEMENT
Also, Bird explained people believe the “fair trade” movement is replacing the “buy local” movement. It is not. “I believe the 2 go hand-in-hand.” “We want to be a sustainable world and city. We want to buy locally whenever we can. However, somethings cannot be grown in Canada like: coffee and sugar.”
Another misconception is that Fair Trade is about fair wages for farmers in developing countries. “However, it’s also about making sure there’s little (to no) pesticides being used. Never grown genetically-modified either. So, there’s also the relationship piece. Meaning, it’s not just for a couple of years, it’s long-term.”
“We love to show people how they can integrate Fair Trade into their everyday lives,” says Bird.
“Consumers have a lot of power in changing the way industries run.”
Finally, check out this video on Fair Trade: