We have been celebrating fairtrade fortnight and in particular fair trade textiles. But surely every day of every week we should be buying such products? Now that most supermarkets stock fairtrade tea and bananas and many other fairtrade lines there is no excuse not to buy these products. But most supermarkets also stock disgracefully cheap clothes. I doubt that anybody at the bottom of the production chain is making a decent living producing these. These cheap cotton goods exploit the poorest people in the world and degrade the environment in which they are produced. The cycle of poverty is thus ensured. But you, the consumer, have the power to change this. Here five good reasons to buy fair trade textiles.
Consumer Power Counts:
Buying fair trade textiles protects poor producers against market shocks as fair trade brings producers and traders together and enables them to work outside the commodity market. The long term survival of these trade agreements depend upon us the consumer buying their goods.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty:
A proportion of profits are used to subsidise vital services for whole communities, such as educational, medical or environmental projects. It is important to improve the life-chances of each successive generation if the cycle of poverty is to be broken.
Fair trade textiles are produced to last. These are not cheap, throw-away supermarket clothes. These are quality textiles and from start to finish are made with care and attention to detail. Treasure your clothes and bed-linen for a lifetime, quality speaks volumes about you as a person.
Protecting the Environment:
Fair trade textiles equal environmentally friendly and sustainable textiles. Business does not get much dirtier than the cotton trade. Cotton production squanders vast amounts of natural resources, is heavily sprayed with harmful chemicals and degrades the soil and local environment. Fairtrade with its commitment to sustainable development means their textiles are usually organic or grown to standards which have minimum impact on the environment.
Doing the Right Thing:
If you had to come face to face with the poor people, many of them children, who produce the world’s textiles you would no doubt feel rightly ashamed by the cheap and thoughtlessly purchased shirt on your back. We must buy fair trade textiles because we know it is the right thing to do.
I hope as Fairtrade Fortnight comes to a close I may have persuaded you to think a little more carefully about where your clothes and other textile products come from, and what their production has meant for other people on our planet. In a better world there would be no need for fair trade for all trade would be fair. Until then, you the consumer, can play your part.