Your purchase of fair trade jewelry and hand crafted products can help people in communities and areas of the world where agricultural products may not be viable. While the certification process for these products is different than for commodity goods, they represent an important option to help break the cycle poverty and dependency. Here are some of the reasons to buy fair trade jewelry:
Promote fair trade start-ups
Unlike other fair trade products like coffee or tea where access to land and years of cultivation are needed before a product is ready for market, jewelry can be made quickly and with locally available materials. Many artisans make fair trade jewelry as a side job or income supplement in addition to other employment.
Protect the environment
Artisans often use recycled materials such as tin cans, wire, and discarded phone cards as raw materials for jewelry. In Kenya, an intrusive plant called water hyacinth has been used instead of wood from trees. Haitian artists use the steel from discarded barrels as a sculpture medium. Fair trade jewelry is environmentally sustainable.
Support peace in conflict zones
Jewelry from certified fair trade suppliers uses gold and silver that is traced through the supply chain to ensure that it is not purchased from war zones or areas at high risk of conflict. When you buy fair trade jewelry you can feel confident that your purchase is not funding an arms race.
Protect cultural identity
Fair trade jewelry can help preserve indigenous art forms and cultural identity. One of the things that make these products so attractive is that they are authentic expressions of style as an alternative to mass produced fashion and consumerism.
Support gender equality
In cultures where women are excluded from “non-traditional” occupations, jewelry is something that can be made without challenging cultural norms. By offering women new means to generate cash, fair trade provides new opportunities for empowerment and community involvement.
Throughout the year, please consider fair trade jewelry and handcrafts as gift ideas for your friends and family. They truly are gifts that keep on giving!