What is Fair Trade and Why Does it Matter?
Fair trade is a social economy that refers to paying artisans and laborers a fair wage for the items they produce. In particular, it is geared toward Third World countries with the intent of offering these populations a just and sustainable source of income. Fair trade practices improve the lifestyles of Third World populations by providing fair wages and raising their standard of living, thereby reducing poverty, improving health care and offering access to clean food, water etc. Fair trade was developed as a response to unfair labor practices, such as child labor, and by purchasing free trade products, you are supporting practices that lead to acceptable wages and work environments, while protecting children, women, individuals and societies all over the world.Â
Fair trade products can include everything from clothing, jewelry and personal accessories to furniture, tribal art, coffee, decorative accessories, stationery, greeting cards, toys, games and more. Fair trade products are also produced using sustainable raw materials and eco-safe practices; so by purchasing fair trade decorative items, you can help both people and the planet while also adding unique and exotic accents to your home.
A Worldwide Decor Marketplace
Fair trade products can come from any country or continent. Here are four countries that produce noteworthy fair trade decor products:
â€¢Â Â Â Â India: Â Products from India are renowned for their vivid colors, intricate beadwork and masterful carpentry. Sustainable free trade products from India include holiday ornaments and decor, such as hand painted Christmas cards and paper holiday decorations. Free trade Indian artisans also produce beautiful furniture and decorative accents from Shesham wood which is harvested from a fast-growing, highly sustainable tree that grows in India. Wood products, such as tables, bowls and wall decor, made from Shesham wood feature a dark rich patina and beautifully detailed craftsmanship.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Cambodia: Cambodian furniture and home decor products are often made from lightweight crepe myrtle wood. Crepe myrtle grows freely in warm climates and produces light toned, freely sustainable wood which is used to create beautiful, well made furniture and decor products at very affordable prices. This combination of eco-friendly wood, outstanding craftsmanship and better-than-name-brand pricing makes Cambodian wood products an irresistibly great value.Â
â€¢Â Â Â Â Vietnam: If itâ€™s intricate detail, exotic design and rich symbolism that you crave, take a good look at fair trade products from Vietnam. Furniture and flooring made from bamboo are two wildly popular eco-friendly products from Vietnam. Richly detailed decor Vietnamese products lush with ancient and religious Asian symbolism can add a unique exotic look to your home.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Cameroon: Fair trade artists from Cameroon fair produce striking works of tribal art, as well as furniture and other home decor products. Wood carvings, such as wooden wall panels or carved figurines, are typically made from cordia, a fast-growing and sustainable wood that is plentiful and carves easily.
To be sure that the items you buy are made by truly adhering to free trade practices, look for free trade certification whether buying from brick-and-mortar stores or free trade online retailers.