Congratulations to our Bottletop competition winners …
D Barker, J Burnford, P Taylor, L Dickenson, C Murray, and H Isherwood
Your prizes will be winging their way to you very soon.
The only way to really comprehend a major issue like human trafficking, is to read a first-hand in depth account. Sophie Hayes’ book ‘Trafficked’ has just hit the bookshelves and I vow you not to be moved by her story.
Sophie was trafficked from the UK to Italy (it may come as a surprise that it can happen so close to home and by someone that was considered to be one of her best friends) and is one of the few that has managed to escape to tell her story. Highly recommended.
Not all stories of human trafficking end this way. The organisation STOP THE TRAFFIK exists to prevent stories like Sophie’s from happening.
Find out more about human trafficking and the Sophie Hayes Foundation here.
At bft, we’re always on the look out for innovative fair trade products and ideas, and we love the idea that by downloading music from fairsharemusic.com we can support our chosen charity for no extra cost – if you add up how many tracks you download each year (scarily high!) you can soon work out how much could have been donated. Here are the sums …
As supporters, advocates, retailers and consumers know so well, Fair Trade is about providing opportunities to disadvantaged producers. However, to become a certified Fair Trade producer requires years of trade relations with certified importers and retailers, but unfortunately finding an entry point into the Fair Trade system can be very difficult for new producers. This has become even more difficult since the global economic crisis in 2008, when both conventional and Fair Trade sales went into a steep decline.
Interested producers offering a unique and dynamic array of products, but new to the concepts and principles of Fair Trade need to find trade partners willing to work with them for the long-term. They need to connect with importers and retailers who are willing to guide them in the process of integrating Fair Trade Principles into their everyday practices. For new producers, Fair Trade offers an alternative to “Business as Usual”; it is an ethical business model based on respect for their human rights with a high value on environmental and social sustainability. Additionally, producers need support from their trade partners who can provide much needed consumer feedback to further their development of product lines and aid their efforts to increase local value-adding steps to make high quality products.
Based on a long-term trade relationship, finding a retailer or importer willing to support a new producer is essential to expanding Fair Trade. The role of Fair Trade importers and retailers is more than simply purchasing and reselling products. There is a lot of effort that goes into the development of a strong trade partner. Sometimes concepts embraced in our shared principles such as gender equality or understanding the importance of child rights are new to those wanting to enter Fair Trade. It is not that they are unwilling to challenge existing customs or practices; the ideas are simply new and foreign. To successfully adopt a business model based on transparency and accountability takes time; time to learn not only why these practices are beneficial, but how they can be implemented in a practical sense.
To empower producers takes a sincere commitment on behalf of a retailer. Best Fair Trade has been founded on this premise and provides a unique opportunity to conscientious consumers. Best Fair Trade provides an avenue for established and new producers wanting to enter into Fair Trade and at the same time, provides a direct connection to the customer. The Best Fair Trade Certification assures customers that Producers are engaged in Fair Trade practices and free from any form of exploitation while benefitting communities. For this reason, I support Best Fair Trade and their producers and invite you to make inquiries, get to know the people behind the beautiful handmade products and make that human connection that is not possible in conventional trade.
Mitch Teberg, MA
WFTO Associate Member
Sustainable Development / Fair Trade
Researcher / Trainer / Consultant