"Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright."
Monday, August 31, 2009
"Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright."
Thursday, August 27, 2009
-Fair Trade Certified coffee imports grew 32% to 88 million pounds, from 66 millions pounds in 2007, according to TransFair USA Chief Executive Paul Rice.
There's even more good news. Rice expects banana imports to jump "significantly higher" in 2009 because Sam's Club plans to double its purchases. Look for retail values for fair trade to leap up to the $1.4-$1.5 billion range next year "as major companies continue to look to the long-term trend."
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Below are several quotes from their article that hit home with me on subjects near and dear to my own heart.
Saima took out a $65 loan and used the money to buy beads and cloth, which she transformed into beautiful embroidery that she then sold to merchants in the markets of Lahore. She used the profit to buy more beads and cloth, and soon she had an embroidery business and was earning a solid income — the only one in her household to do so."
Female mortality rate:
"Girls vanish partly because they don’t get the same health care and food as boys. In India, for example, girls are less likely to be vaccinated than boys and are taken to the hospital only when they are sicker. A result is that girls in India from 1 to 5 years of age are 50 percent more likely to die than boys their age. In addition, ultrasound machines have allowed a pregnant woman to find out the sex of her fetus — and then get an abortion if it is female.The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls and women are now missing from the planet, precisely because they are female, than men were killed on the battlefield in all the wars of the 20th century. The number of victims of this routine “gendercide” far exceeds the number of people who were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century."
Death in childbirth:
Human trafficking and modern-day slavery:
"In the developing world, meanwhile, millions of women and girls are actually enslaved. While a precise number is hard to pin down, the International Labor Organization, a U.N. agency, estimates that at any one time there are 12.3 million people engaged in forced labor of all kinds, including sexual servitude. In Asia alone about one million children working in the sex trade are held in conditions indistinguishable from slavery, according to a U.N. report. Girls and women are locked in brothels and beaten if they resist, fed just enough to be kept alive and often sedated with drugs — to pacify them and often to cultivate addiction. India probably has more modern slaves than any other country."
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Australia and New Zealand will also go fair trade in 2010, officials for the chocolate company say. Cadbury announced earlier this year that British and Irish markets would also make the change to fair trade; that change is already going into effect.
Here's the good news: around the globe, about 1 in 4 Dairy Milk sales will be fair trade certified next year. The bad? The other three-quarters of sales--including the U.S. market--that will not be.
But let's focus on the positive here. Cadbury officials say that they will sell four times more fair trade cocoa in 2010 than they did in 2008. Cocoa farmers in Ghana, the country that will reap the benefits of the swap to fair trade, are expected to sell 15,000 more tonnes in 2010 than in 2008.
Here's what one cocoa farmer, Francis Sampson Kwesi, 48, said about how the swap to fair trade will help him (albeit to Cadbury public relations flacks):
"One of the main benefits is that I can invest the proceeds out of the cocoa in things such as the upkeep of the children’s school fees, as well as in developments for the whole community, such as building roads. It helps us to have a higher standard of living, as although the land here [in Ghana] is good for cocoa growing, when we are not in the season of cocoa, we need everything else to help make the environment more conducive for cocoa growing.”
OK, here are my thoughts. In the U.S., Cadbury Dairy Milk products are produced by Hershey. Can't we, here in the States, encourage these chocolate companies to produce and sell fair trade chocolate right here at home?
This is an old campaign by Green America that we've promo'd before, but feel free to jump on board again and encourage Hershey to go fair trade.
I'm so glad you asked. About 75% of the world's chocolate is produced in Ghana and its neighboring country, the Ivory Coast. Those in the know estimate that literally hundreds of thousands of children are working illegally in cocoa plantations in these two countries. (In fact, 50 children were freed from working illegally on these plantations in an Interpol operation this June. These children were purchased for cheap labor by plantation owner needing ready hands. Read about it here.)
True fairness would mean that the chocolate we love and enjoy is made by people who are able to enjoy their lives as well. It would mean that our pleasures would not require the pain of others.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Handcrafted in Columia by economically disadvantaged women, these bracelets are made of tagua nuts,, which grow on tagua palms in South America. The nuts used in this jewelry are indigenous to Columbia.
The tagua palm has an amazing story. They first became popular as a responsible substitute for elephant ivory. Today, they prevent the destruction of rain forests and are used to make everything from beads to buttons and even bagpipes!
Workers at Hope for Women produced these bracelets. This group aims to provide sustanable employment for women around the world, giving them the chance to take control of their lives and their future.
Here's what Rosa, a Columbian mother of two, says about her work with the company:
“Working with handicrafts is my life and I love what I do each day. I have been an artisan for more than 10 years, starting with collecting raw materials and then being trained to be a skilled craftsperson. The work is very comfortable and satisfying and I enjoy the relationships with the people I work with – they are like my second family...I think the sky is the limit for me. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t have the chance to study when I was young – with this work I know I will be growing everyday and I can take care of myself and my family."
You can buy these bracelets at our online store, or, as always, in our Chattanooga storefront location.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Here's the schedule:
Sunday: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday through Saturday: 1 a.m. - 9 p.m.
We hope to see you soon!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I felt a little preachy doing it, but I thought, “I’m giving them chocolate so I’m sure they won’t mind.” I wanted to spread the word a bit about the importance of fair trade chocolate, but I was hesitant to have my boys hand it out as they went door to door begging others for candy. I didn’t want them to give a message to people they didn’t know that might have been interpreted like this:
You know that candy you just gave me. It could have been better. The candy you just generously gave me, that I asked you for, was probably made from cocoa picked by poor kids who are being overworked. You should give different, better candy.
So we went the route of friends and neighbors who I thought wouldn’t interpret it like that.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
While the bead work and jewelry creation takes place in Ghana, marketing is handled halfway around the world in Mobile, Alabama! Soul of Somanya took its first baby steps in June 2008, when it hired 8 local young people to make jewelry and other beaded items. Most of the employees are working-age orphans who lack the support networks and career opportunities available to those with a family business to enter. In addition to offering sustainable, fairly paid work for these people with very limited career options, Soul of Somanya pays retail wages to local bead-makers who supply the beads used in the jewelry. This helps these bead-makers increase their profit margins and sustain their businesses.
Come see us and check out our beads!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Our store just got a makeover! I had big plans to post pictures of the new and improved World Next Door today but was bummed to discover that I came to work equipped with a camera (to take photos of the new design), a cord (to transfer pictures from my camera to the world wide web)...but unfortunately these two pieces of equipment were not compatible. Seems I grabbed the wrong cord for my camera. :(
That said, Jency and Kim have been hard at work giving our store a facelift. It looks awesome, and we have tons of new products (especially when it comes to home goods). Come down and see us... I promise you won't be disappointed.
P.S. I'll post those pictures Monday!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I had not heard of this outbreak until this week, when I received a letter asking for help from a charitable organization I regularly support. The disease (according to my unscientific cholera research on Wikipedia) is spread through poor sanitation as well as unclean drinking water and food. According to a CNN article from May of this year, UNICEF blaims the current epidemic on "faulty sewage systems, uncollected refuse and a lack of clean water."
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This is a rather ho-hum, business lecture, but she does make a few interesting points regarding fair trade. One being that Fabian believes fair trade is about to become much more mainstream.
"We are at a tipping point," she said, "and we could really see a lot more action in this area."
What do you think about what she has to say?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
According to The Straits Times in Singapore and Xinhua on the mainland, China's Public Security Ministry has been involved in a deliberate campaign to curb human trafficking for months. That focus will continue through December, officials say.
Some of the women freed in recent raids had been forced to work as prostitutes, according to reports. As a nation, China is only now tasting the full effects of the one-child policy that has been in place for a generation. Some believe the lack of females of a marriagable age may be playing into the country's human trafficking woes. Here's an excerpt from The Straits Times article:
The trafficking of women and children remains common in China...
Women are also trafficked to be sold to men in remote areas who are unable to find brides, due to the sex imbalance resulting from China's one-child policy which has encouraged sex-selective abortions.
Population experts say that sex-selective abortions have boosted the number of boys born here for over a generation.
Men of marriageable age currently outnumber women by more than 18 million, a number that could grow to 30 million by 2020 due to a traditional preference for Chinese families to have male heirs.
Read the Xinhua report here.
Side note: I love Twitter. It has been an invaluable tool when it comes to finding out information about fair trade, human trafficking, and networking with others who are likeminded in their pursuit of global equity.
If you're on Twitter, please check us out. We go by World_Next_Door... hoping to see you there!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Milton Friedman, economist, statistician, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science
Friday, August 7, 2009
As Laura Ling and Euna Lee celebrated their freedom and thanked Bill Clinton for his rescue mission on Wednesday, harrowing details of their ordeal as North Korean prisoners emerged.
Prison food was rice peppered with rocks. They were held in isolation from each other, gripped by fear that they would be shipped to one of the infamous hard-labor gulags in Kim Jong Il's Communist state.
"The past 140 days have been the most difficult, heart-wrenching time of our lives," Ling said, choking back sobs just moments after the two journalists were reunited with their families.
In a classic Hollywood ending, Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, bounced off a private jet at 6:19 a.m. at the Burbank airport near Los Angeles and rushed to embrace loved ones.
As tears flowed, Lee hugged her husband and knelt down to lock her 4-year-old daughter, Hana, in a tight embrace. Ling kissed her husband. Soon after, the families applauded when Clinton emerged from the plane.
"Thirty hours ago, Euna Lee and I were prisoners in North Korea. We feared that at any moment we could be sent to a hard-labor camp, and, then, suddenly, we were told that we were going to a meeting," Ling said.
"When we walked in through the doors, we saw, standing before us, President Bill Clinton," she said, pausing with emotion as she placed her hand on her chest.
"We were shocked, but we knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to an end and now we stand here, home and free."
In June, the North Korean regime sentenced the journalists, who work for former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV cable channel, to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering the country.
Kim pardoned them during Clinton's dramatic 20-hour visit.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Here's what Interpol says about the children's work:
The children had been bought by plantation owners needing cheap labor to harvest the cocoa and palm plantations. They were discovered working under extreme conditions, forced to carry massive loads seriously jeopardizing their health... Children told investigators they would regularly work 12 hours a day and receive no salary or education. Girls were usually purchased as house maids and would work a seven-day week all year round, often in addition to their duties in the plantations.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
One thing I love about fair trade is that the groups we work with place a heavy emphasis on education. Without the stability and income that these companies provide, many families would not be able to send their children to school.
Ok, here are the stats. I thought that the literacy rates by country--especially when comparing female vs. male rates--are especially intriguing.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Here are some facts about human trafficking from Polaris Project's website:
-Human trafficking comprises the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, based on the recruitment, harboring, and transportation of people solely for the purpose of exploitation.
-Every year traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits at the expense of victimizing millions of people around the world.
-Labor trafficking is widespread in variety of situations that encompass domestic servitude and small-scale labor operations, to large-scale operations such as farms, sweatshops, and major multinational corporations.
-Sex trafficking is one of the most lucrative sectors regarding the illegal trade in people, and involves any form of sexual exploitation in prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, and the commercial sexual abuse of children. Under international law, any sexually exploited child is considered a trafficking victim, even if no force or coercion is present.
-An estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually in the United States alone.
-The number of US citizens trafficked within the country is even higher. An estimated 200,000 American children are at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year.
Here at World Next Door, we are passionate about stopping human trafficking. We believe, from the bottom of our heart, that fair trade is a powerful tool in the fight against modern-day slavery. Human trafficking is a lucrative industry. If we hope to rescue its victims, they must have other avenues of employment to pursue in order to support themselves and their families. That is where fair trade comes in. By offering a fair wage, up-front payment for goods, and training in both skilled labor and business, fair trade gives people the tools they need to provide for themselves in a positive way. We, the consumers, get beautiful and unique products which we can feel good about supporting.
What could be a fairer trade than that?
Monday, August 3, 2009
Here's what http://www.change.org/ says about the situation:
In December...the William Wilberforce Reauthorization Act gave the department until the end of this year to comply with the mandate. However, due to the foot-dragging of the last adminstration's Secretary of Labor, the list is already long overdue. We must hold this administration to its promise of transparency, and demand the release of this list to the public now.