Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
In order to support the sales of our Cambodian partner, we are offering 10% off all their products from March 10th-March 19th. This group is highly deserving; made up of landmine and polio disabled artisans who craft various fashionable accessories out of recycled feed bags, they were awarded the 2004 UNESCO Seal of Excellence due to the excellent quality of their products and their associated work in income generating development projects.
Here are a few pieces:
Please help us support this worthy group.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
by Dana Geffner
Recently, myself, along with Jocelyn Boreta, the Global Exchange San Francisco Store Manager, were invited by Craftmark with financial help by Aid to Artisans to visit India and see firsthand how new and existing fair trade groups are transforming the workplace culture in rural India. Craftmark is an initiative by the All India Artisans and Workers Association (AIACA) which helps to promote genuine Indian handmade crafts, develop sector-wide minimum standards and norms for labeling a product as a handmade product, and increase consumer awareness of distinct handicraft traditions.
Our 17-day trip to India was filled with inspirational moments. We visited several different types of groups from small family businesses that have been making mud block prints for five generations, to a family that has been making threaded jewelry for over 1000 years, to a slum project making recycled newspaper bags, to an NGO that is working with 360 men & women displaced by the creation of a tiger reserve.
All of the groups we visited were inspirational in their own way but the one that was working with green energy alternatives and supporting them with Fair Trade practices really caught our attention. Avani, which took an overnight train and a 7-hour car ride through the Himalayas to reach, could be considered the role model for how NGOs can become sustainable entities. They also prove that supporting Fair Trade can move mountains. Through their Fair Trade craft program, Avani is working to revive, preserve and promote traditional weaving craft and to incorporate contemporary input for market exposure and income generation. With an all-local team of weavers, working out of their homes and Avani community centers in over 90 communities, they have successfully created a sustainable village-based enterprise managed by the community. In 23 extremely remote villages, Avani has provided solar panels for electricity and have educated the villagers on installation and maintenance.
Avani also works to promote rain water harvesting for drinking water and grey-water systems for irrigation and domestic use. The Avani center collects 2,700,000 litres of roof run off rainwater and recycles 100% of their water through grey-water filtration systems. In a region where water shortage is a huge problem this practice is revolutionary.
Sales of Avani's fair trade products have been life-changing to the remote, rural villages where they operate and have allowed their green projects to be completely sustainable. The women weavers produce hand-spun fabrics from all-natural organic fibers including wool, mulberry, eri, munga, pashmina, angora, linen and a variety of non-violent locally cultivated silks. The result is a huge selection of scarves, stoles, blankets, and clothing. Their range of organic color, texture and design is amazing. One can feel the organic process and grass-root level commitment to excellence in each textile.
The Avani center is a vibrant, thriving work and living space where families raise each others children, share home-grown meals, work for shared income, educate visitors and spend nights drumming, singing and dancing together. As Avani grows, this vibrancy is systematically being spread through the organization of self sustaining village centers throughout this region of the Himalaya.
Avani is just one of many great stories of fair trade groups making a difference in the communities where they exist. But they can't be successful if they can't market their products. We feel without our support and consumer’s support, these communities cannot continue to grow and move towards self-sustainability.
Dana Geffner is the Fair Trade Wholesale and Online Store Program Director for Global Exchange
Monday, February 8, 2010
There are so many things to consider on Valentine’s Day: the reason you and your beloved were first attracted to each other, the amazing date you’ve planned, the perfect gift to express your affection. And, if you’re like most Americans, you’re thinking about buying chocolate. U.S. consumers purchase hundreds of millions of dollars of chocolate for their sweeties in the week leading up to February 14. With that in mind, here’s one more thing to consider:
Yes, child slavery. It’s rampant in the cocoa industry.
Though the industry promised in 2001 to fix the problem, it hasn’t. Abusive child labor and slavery still makes your chocolate a bit bitter. A report funded by the State Department and others estimate that in West Africa, the source of 70 percent of the world’s cocoa, hundreds of thousands of children as young as five years old toil in the cocoa fields, with scores of them enduring the worst forms of child labor. These kids clear fields, spray pesticides, and carry heavy sacks across vast distances.
Not so sweet, huh?
But there’s a way to give the perfect Valentine’s Day chocolates without perpetuating child abuse. The solution lies in fair-trade certification.
Fair-trade certification ensures that cocoa producers meet stringent labor and environmental standards, stipulating that the crop is produced without forced or abusive child labor. Fair trade also guarantees that farmers are paid a fair price for their crops, allowing them to pay the costs of inputs to their crops—including labor—and purchase necessities they often can’t afford when prices are left to the market’s whims.
Chocolate, jewelry, and other gifts worthy of being a token of your love can be found at your local store carrying fair-trade goods or online at Global Exchange’s fair-trade store. You can even pair your gift of fair-trade chocolate with fair-trade certified flowers and wine. And then, there is the ultimate Valentine’s Day chocolate gift: a trip to spend a week with the fair-trade cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic…an experience every chocolate lover should have. Fair trade gifts are often accompanied by the story of the worker cooperative it supports, which is sure to win the heart of your beloved, all over again. You can learn more about these options at www.globalexchange.org/cocoa, a website my organization created.
Helping to end abusive child labor and slavery, and ensuring fair prices for farmers and other producers, doesn’t have to stop there. Individuals, schools, congregations, and communities around the country are uniting to educate their neighbors about fair trade, using fun and creative actions. For example, educators nationwide will participate in a National Valentine’s Day of Action by teaching schoolchildren about fair-trade cocoa. You can also visit our website to find out how you can help promote fair trade and press Hershey’s, World’s Finest Chocolate, and other cocoa industry leaders to end the intolerable shadow slavery casts on our cocoa supply.
By the way, choosing another popular Valentine’s Day gift doesn’t resolve the problem. Diamonds, without proper certification, are nobody’s best friend. Conflict diamonds, blood diamonds, hot diamonds: The names all point to the glaring problem in the industry. Most diamonds come from regions of the world embroiled in conflict, where the sale of diamonds finances arms purchases, and violent groups resort to forced labor and brutal violence to keep the money flowing.
Even flowers may be tainted. Many flower-production companies, generally operating in Africa or Latin America, pay wages below subsistence levels and threaten the health of workers through toxic exposures. Further, these companies often prevent workers from forming unions to secure their rights.
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be sweet. Let’s sweeten it for everyone by supporting the fair-trade movement and helping stamp out child slavery and other abusive labor conditions.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
We here at the Global Exchange Fair Trade Online Store are very excited at the new products coming online recently. Here are just a few of the cool new items we're selling:
Recycled Innertube Bags
We have three new styles that we've added to our already wildly popular recycled innertube line. The first is our Nature Bag. With cut out green fabric leaf shapes to add color and decorative black on black stitching it on the front pockets giving texture and style. 15"W x 12"H x 3".
The second is our Circle Bag. With punched out circle shapes exposing red fabric to give color style, this bag is designed for functionality with the traveler in mind. 10"W x 8"H x 3"D.
The third is our Toiletry Bag. Truck tires are collected, washed and then sewn into very durable and easy to clean toiletry bags. Fastens with a good quality zipper closure, lined with water proof easy to clean lining. 9"L x 4"H x 6"D.
Hand woven and embroidered with colorful flowers; this belt will make you feel happy whenever you wear it! Made of woven wool and backed for durability with soft cotton fabric, each flower and leaf has been hand embroidered by Indigenous women living in villages in very rural areas of the Andes Mountains of Bolivia and Peru. Each belt is fitted with a sturdy brass buckle.
As each belt is hand made, they can differ slightly from belt to belt. Although colors are the same, patterns, holes and sizes do differ slightly.
Choose from three color choices: Orange, Black or Blue.
Handcrafted by women living in rural villages in the central highlands of Guatemala. 7" x 7".
A color inspired hand woven tote bag, great for taking for a day to the beach, or around town to the shops. where ever you take it, it will bring color and catch the eye! Each bag has a colorful hand made pom pom attached as a fun addition. 15" x 12.
choose from two color choices:
Sunset: Deep reds, oranges and yellows replicating all the beautiful colors of the most vibrant Guatemalan sunset. inner lining is burgundy.
Purple Combo -- Huses of purples, yellows, greens and gray's with a pink inner lining.
Handcrafted by women living in rural villages in the central highlands of Guatemala.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Recently, I have been doing a bit of research on “Direct Trade” coffee roasters and the issues and challenges surrounding Fair Trade certification via TransFair represented by this now familiar logo:
The general consensus among roasters that have decided to go Direct Trade argue three main points: first, a lack of increase in fair trade premiums paid to farmers; second, the unfairness of concessions made to large businesses who use the Fair Trade label without fair practices; and third, the price of acquiring fair trade certification.
These are valid and important concerns. Personally, I too get a bit wary of Fair Trade certification; it’s use as a marketing strategy; and whether larger corporations who certify some of their products as “Fair Trade” are really 100% fair trade – it is very similar to the organic food movement, where critics argue that formal certification can erode organic standards by providing a legal framework for lobbyists to push for amendments and exceptions favorable to large-scale production, leaving small, independent farmers who are truly organic little incentive to get USDA organic certification due to both cost and principle.
Those who go Direct Trade claim that the money saved from not getting TransFair certifications goes towards paying the farmers and co-ops a higher premium. Moreover, since TransFair will only certify co-operatives, it also allows them to work with single, independent, small scale farmers.
The problem with Direct Trade is one of trust and verification. How do we know a product labeled Direct Trade is truly fair trade? There is currently no set standard for "Direct Trade" and no universal certification process. Some Direct Trade coffee roasters, like Counter Culture, set their own fair trade standards and invite a third-party auditor to come make sure they are meeting their own standards. Other big name Direct Trade coffee roasters include Intelligentia Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Coffee Roasters, while many smaller roasters, some of which were once TransFair certified, have begun to follow suit.
What is your opinion? Does certification really matter? Do you only buy items that have the TransFair logo? Would you buy a product that didn’t have the TransFair logo, but were assured that it was made with fair trade practices?
Leave a comment here or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
GX Online Store Intern
Thursday, January 14, 2010
We are all devastated to learn of the tragedy unfolding in Haiti and we want to help. Global Exchange's Fair Trade Stores (see locations below) and our online store (www.globalexchangestore.org) will be donating 10% of our total sales for the week of January 16th to the 22nd to Beyond Borders, one of our partner organizations that is dedicated to improving the living standards of artists, their families and their communities in Haiti. Beyond Borders has people on the ground in Haiti at this moment and will be able to provide immediate relief for these people in their time of need.
Global Exchange carries a number of beautiful Metal Art pieces created by the Beyond Borders artisans. Each of these pieces has a unique story to tell, as they are actually made from discarded 55-gallon oil barrels. Using only a hammer and nail, the artist creates these incredible works of art. Once finished, each sculpture is signed by the artist. You can own a piece of Haiti and at the same time help this decimated country.
Our store locations are:
SAN FRANCISCO STORE BERKELEY STORE PORTLAND STORE WASHINGTON DC (At Busboys and Poets)
SAN FRANCISCO STORE
WASHINGTON DC (At Busboys and Poets)
Monday, January 11, 2010
And remember, we now offer FREE SHIPPING for all orders of $100 or more!!
|Tibetan Singing Bowl|
Your Price: $39.00
Sale Price: $22.00
You Save $17.00!
Monday, December 14, 2009
It's the final day! Five days. Five awesome Fair Trade gifts at blowout prices. It's the Global Exchange Online Store Holiday Blow-out Sale!
Each day between December 14-18th, we're offering up one Fair Trade gift at a blow-out price. This is your chance to get that perfect holiday gift AND save a bundle.
Check back here each day this week to see the newest Fair Trade gift added to our list of blowout gifts.
Who says the earlybird gets the worm? Last minute shoppers are rewarded at the Global Exchange Fair Trade Online Store:)
And now, for the day four item....
Here's your Blowout Fair Trade item: Teakwood Business Card Holder.
Regular Price: $15
Blowout Price: $5
You Save: $!10
Don't forget to check back tomorrow for new savings.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Pampa Brava is an Argentinian fair-trade enterprise that aims to develop opportunities for marginalized indigenous groups and to bring the rich craft traditions of their ancestry to the world.
Working directly with the Wichi communities of northeastern Argentina, Pampa Brava helps these communities to overcome the obstacles they face in establishing economic stability and cultural survival.
Pampa Brava works directly with El Portillo, a 300 person strong cooperative made up of members of the Wichi community. The Wichi's are ninety thousand strong, and live in the desolate Northeast of Argentina.
Though monetarily poor, they have a rich language tradition and a deep connection to the earth. Women artisans of the Wichi community produce a variety of exquisitely handmade textiles from a native cactus-like plant called the chaguar.
Through craft creation, Pampa Brava aims to preserve Wichi's cultural identity. Pampa Brava also assists the community with health care and education. Pampa Brava's commitment to assisting these indigenous groups in both their economic and cultural struggles is founded on the principles of Fair Trade, assuring the creation of community enterprises that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. http://www.globalexchangestore.org/categ
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The concept of recycling has been around for thousands of years, back to the era of Plato in 400 BC. Recycling then was done out of necessity – reusing and converting materials when resources were scarce. But a few millennia later we had a little different problem – too many resources. Or rather, too much waste.
A key moment in the world's modern recycling movement came in 1987. A barge named the Mobro 4000 was hauling tons of garbage from New York to North Carolina where it was supposed to be turned into methane. Once it got there, it wasn't allowed to stay, so it continued on to Belize where it also was turned away. The barge had to return to New York and was finally incinerated. A media firestorm ensued regarding solid-waste disposal and recycling. Continued public discussion on the issue is credited with the increased recycling rates of the late 1980s and after.
Global Exchange is helping the recycling effort and promoting fair trade. Our Fair Trade Store is proud to say that it works with a number of producers worldwide to offer a variety of recycled products. A great example are the products we carry made of recycled magazines in Vietnam. Beautiful bowls, picture frames, ornaments and other products are made by cutting and folding old magazine paper, into long strips. They are then soaked in glue and dried. Once dry, the creations are hand-formed, piece by piece until the desired shape is completed. The products are part of a program aimed at helping street children and various other social work projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It is an income generator and education project for poor and neglected children, adolescents and poor women. It also provides appropriate training and promotes self-reliance for disadvantaged families and people of ethnic minorities. Please take a moment to visit our store and see our great selection of recycled products.
by Derek Hines, Global Exchange Fair Trade Online Store