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A New Year's Resolution for a Better World

This just in: A New Year’s resolution for a better world. 

Amidst all the fervor throughout the holiday season, New Year’s Day proves to be a sluggish reminder to make good on your not-so jolly habits. And, let’s face it; ambitious personal goals can make one wanting to crawl back into 2009. Or worse, crawl back into bed. What if I told you of a resolution that: a) is easy; b) involves shopping; c) is ethical. 

Look for Fair Trade when you shop this New Year. 

Whenever you choose a Fair Trade product, you are ensuring that producers in developing countries are receiving consistent and livable wages. This is very important because in conventional trade, importers and exports—the middlemen—reap a large portion of earnings that could otherwise be going to artisans and growers. And, even when world market prices are favorable, producers may only realize small increases in their earnings. The advantage of Fair Trade is that a minimum price is set that guarantees a consistent standard of living. Additionally, growers receive a social premium earmarked for projects such as building schools, or purchasing new equipment for each cooperative. Fair Trade products have strict environmental standards and child labour is forbidden. 

Currently, you can find Fair Trade coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, fruits, handicrafts, spices, and even flowers in Metro Vancouver. In fact, all major grocery stores offer these products, and Downtown Vancouver has plenty of cafés that you enjoy just after work. Likewise, Commercial Drive and Main Street feature trendy restaurants with delicious organic cuisines such as the Rhizome Café and Theresa’s Eatery. Those looking for handicrafts from around the world should check out Ten Thousand Villages on Granville Island. All things considered, there’s a lot of choice, and a lot of information as well. Where can an interested Vancouverite learn more? This is where Fair Trade Vancouver comes in.  

Fair Trade Vancouver is engaging with people all over Metro Vancouver, and referring them to a website that shows where to find Fair Trade products in their areas. They are attending public events, and working collaboratively with Vancouver workplaces in order to raise awareness about how Fair Trade positively impacts the lives of countless growers. They are also participating in an international Fair Trade Towns campaign in hopes that Vancouver shall become the first major Fair Trade city in Canada.

Most people see on television how difficult life can be in the poorest regions of the world, and most people really want to help in some way. The good news is that one does not have to volunteer overseas in order to make a difference because here at home, we can change the lives of others, by simply changing how we shop for everyday things. 


Sasha Caldera is a recent SFU graduate and co-founder of Fair Trade Vancouver; a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to lessen extreme poverty in developing countries and promote greater awareness of Fair Trade in Metro Vancouver.

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