April showers bring May flowers. More importantly, do you know what else happens in May? WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY! Yes, Saturday, May 14th is the day to recognize Fair Trade practices and brands world wide. Here at Ecohabitude, we are very keen on those that uphold fair trade practices and are super stoked to highlight some of our special brands that talk the talk and walk the walk. From clothing to gourmet, Ecohabitude has a plethora of awesome brands that center their business around fair trade. Check out some of those brands below and find more on Ecohabitude.com under the product footprint Fair Trade.
Cultural heritage plays a major role in Rock + Pillar’s business model. We asked Parvez Pothiawala, Co-founder of Rock + Pillar, what was his thought process in order to decide which specific community of artisans to work with?
“We decided to work with each of our communities if they met the following criteria:
- Is the community already working with or partnered with a local NGO? This was to allow the local NGO to give them capacity and also hold us accountable.
- Is the community still practicing traditional weaving practices? i.e. spinning their own yarn, dying their yarn and not using synthetic yarn & dyes.
- Is the village able to prevent more youth from moving to larger cities if there’s a change in accessible income?
- Will the village be able to preserve tradition and culture if income were to increase per household?
We found out about their work because of our connection with our local partners in Cusco.”
Working with artisans, Rock + Pillar has produced handmade native designs combined with a modern take to bridge the gap between the old and the new. The end products are these must-have colorful, beautifully-made (and almost too perfect as an addition to any festival attendee’s outfit) bags and shoes.
“Our relationship with our artisans is what differentiates our work from others. While our artisans have amazing craftsmanship and still adhere to traditional/heritage making practices, it’s our designs and joint collaboration that helps them thrive.” says Parvez. “In addition to paying our artisans livable wages, we strive to ensure that their wages allow them to support their families, send their children to school and save for a better future.”
Quality and comfort. Two things that animaná Patagonia exceed at.
“animaná is an alternative business model in the fashion world that seeks to contribute to social development, environmental conservation through the production and marketing based on principles of ethical fashion.” Marcia Gitman, a team member of animaná Patagonia. “Besides being a tool for social inclusion, territorial development, cooperation and sustainability, it is intended to reflect the knowledge and crafts of the ancient past by presenting them with new value, adapting to the times.”
Each piece is handmade using authentic natural fibers and natural dyes by artisans in Patagonia and the Andes. The end products are timeless pieces that are still functional for modern time. Marcia puts it best that “luxury can not be mass-produced.” The sustainable design of animaná Patagonia’s textiles, home products and accessories ensures that the impact on the environment is minimized because of the production of less waste.
Wake up and smell the coffee. Ethical Bean Coffee not only helps you start your day, but is also trying to help the planet. They are doing this by leaving a minimal environmental footprint and setting up programs to help the farmers that they work with.
“By choosing Fairtrade coffee, we’re helping coffee farmers combat the effects of climate change on their farms and livelihoods, so that they can keep growing the beans we all love.” Says Lauren Archibald from the Ethical Bean Coffee team.
When we asked her what are some of the positive changes she has seen with the artisan groups that they work with, Lauren responded:
“There are so many wonderful stories from the Fairtrade coffee co-ops where we source our coffee. A recent one coming from COCAFCAL, in Honduras, where we’ve been purchasing green coffee from for the last five years. The cooperative aims to improve the living conditions of its 800 members and their 12 communities, especially in health, education, infrastructure and sport… COCAFCAL has also invested in projects to help the community members increase their income through fishing and tourism, and by producing lemongrass and dried fruit. These community initiatives have come to fruition through the help of the Fair Trade premium.”
One cup of joe at a time, Ethical Bean Coffee is making a difference in the lives of many.
Snacking just became guilt free. Delicious, sweet, and good for you; Nicobella Organic Chocolates are tasty morsels that are made with pure cacao, high antioxidant ingredients that do not have any filters or additives. More importantly, Nicobella upholds fair trade practices by working closely with cacao farmers in South America.
“We visited food trade shows where we met with many chocolate companies. One of the first questions we would ask them was whether or not they were Fair Trade. We wanted to partner with those whose values parallel ours.” Says Nichole, CEO of Nicobella. “We wanted to partner with those whose values parallel ours. We wanted to know that they had a respectful and solid relationship with their farmers and that their farmers were empowered to make decisions; were leaders within their community; were educated about chocolate’s full cycle, from bean to bar; and were paid fairly. Traceability and knowing our chocolate’s origin was also very important to us.”
Octopus, ducks, and leopards…oh my! You can find these adorable little creatures on the onesies and totes by the Ethical Infant. Led by a dynamic brother and sister team, it is a 100% organic, fair trade certified children’s brand.
“At Ethical Infant, we ONLY use Fair Trade Certified blanks (certified by Fair Trade USA) to print our artwork on. We recognizes the power of a world marketplace to help alleviate global poverty.” says Katy from the Ethical Infant.
Because let’s face it, when it comes your babies, what you put on them matters. But that isn’t all the Ethical Infant has up it’s sleeves. When we asked Lauren where do you see the future of the Ethical Infant going she responded:
“We sincerely believe that we are just at the tip of the iceberg with ethical fashion. As information is made available and we, as consumers, begin to reconnect with the process of textile and fashion production, the demand for ethical clothing will only grow. This coming year we will be expanding into women’s and men’s clothing, along with expanding our line of baby clothing. In the same way that people are understanding the and need for organic and sustainable food, we too believe that this will lead them to understand the need for organic and ethically produced clothing. It is through kind and thoughtful education that this realization will take place. In the coming year we have many educational outreach opportunities planned.”
For a bold and beautiful statement accessory to your outfit, look no further than Ways of Change’s jewelry line. Handmade by artisan refugees living on the Thailand Burma border, these pieces of jewelry are like fine works of art.
“WoC works with refugee artisans and those affected by conflict and migration.” says Lauren CEO of Ways of Change. “My cousin and business partner, Cara, was in Northern Thailand conducting her masters thesis research in refugee settlements near by. While there and interviewing a number of refugees she kept hearing how the individuals had a lot of skills and wanted to work but had no places to sell anything they were making. Through meeting different people in the area she eventually ended up meeting Nay Zar who connected her with the three villages that WoC currently works with.”
By creating opportunities for these refugees, paying fair prices, and donating a portion of the proceeds to Community Projects that empower and encourage sustainable living; Ways of Change has set it’s sights on expanding the program with other refugee groups around the world.
Featured image provided by Ways of Change.4