Fair Trade Your Christmas

"Fair Trade Your Christmas" by Kyle Freund (CatholicMom.com)

Consider using Fairtrade ingredients in your holiday baking! Find Fairtrade options here. ©Fairtrade Sweden, Linus Hallgren, 2015. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

At a time of year when we feel more love, joy and togetherness, we all have an opportunity to share and connect with some of the world’s most vulnerable people. There are many ways that you can spread joy – whether it’s with the presents you give or giving of yourself!
One option is to seek out Fairtrade gifts. For generations, conventional trade has fed growing inequality around the world. Fairtrade aims to address power imbalances in trade by empowering farmers and workers to improve conditions on their terms. Fairtrade’s vision is a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfill their potential and decide on their future.

Fairtrade Standards require sustainable production and farming practices, improved working conditions, better prices and wages for farmers and workers, and more transparent trade practices. Fairtrade also prohibits child labor, forced labor, and encourages environmentally-friendly production methods.

For fair trade gift-giving options, check out these resources:
Fairtrade America
Catholic Relief Services
Fair Trade Federation
Ten Thousand Villages
Ethical Trading Company

Go Beyond the Gifts

While gift-giving is at the heart of the Christmas season, it’s also important to think about how we go beyond what’s under the tree. Here are a few of our favorite options:

1. Volunteer for organizations you believe in
Maybe there’s a food pantry near you or a literacy program that needs volunteers? In the season of giving, think of how you can give of your time in service of others. Many organizations rely on the support of volunteers to deliver important services in your community!

2. Donate to your favorite non-profit organizations
Even a small contribution can make a big difference. What’s your favorite non-profit? Be sure that you read upon the organizations you support – look at tools like Guidestar and Charity Navigator to find great groups doing great work!

3. Teach your children the importance of considering others
Fair trade is a great way for kids to learn about the world and feel connected to people across the globe. Check out these lesson plans from Fair Trade Campaigns!

4. Share fair trade with your friends and family
Share Fairtrade with friends and family. When you’re gathered round your festive table, ask friends to consider spreading the joy to the farmers and workers who produce so many of the goods we love. Learn more about Fairtrade America here.

"Fair Trade Your Christmas" by Kyle Freund (CatholicMom.com)

SCINPA is a Fairtrade-certified cocoa-producing coop in Agboville, Ivory Coast. SCINPA has 2,500 members with farms mainly between 5 and 10 hectares. Their members earn around 90% of their income from cocoa and their harvests have recently been badly affected by climate change and drought. The coop is using Fairtrade premium payments for building schools, to help eliminate child labour in the area, and they hope to provide potable water to all the local villages in the future. 
 ©Fairtrade America, Sean Hawkey, 2016. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

No matter how you celebrate this Christmas, remember that every action you take has an impact. Whether you add fair trade to your shopping list, make gifts at home or simply brighten someone’s day during the holidays, you have a chance to make a difference.

Copyright 2017 Kyle Freund

About the author: Kyle Freund is the Media Manager at Fairtrade America, the US-member of the world’s most trusted Fairtrade certification. Previously, Freund worked with Fairtrade International, and prior to that was Communications Manager for Coffee Kids, an international NGO dedicated to helping coffee-farming families improve their quality of life. He currently serves on the board of Food4Farmers. Follow Fairtrade America on Twitter.


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