October is Fair Trade Month and much of the emphasis of this month is on buying fair trade products. This is understandable since there are so many fair brands doing amazing work on the ground while providing great products. When we support these brands, we are reminded that there is an alternative to the conventional business model, we allow these brands to expand their good work, we support small-scale farmers through our purchases. This is all good and needed.
But it’s not enough. Part of fair trade and creating the just economy we all want to see is education and advocacy. This week is also a week of action for democracy and social justice. This is a chance to articulate the types of policies we would like to see. In a world governed by fair trade principles, trade policy would be created through transparent and democratic processes and result in policies that put farmers and the environment ahead of corporate profits. This is the exact opposite of how we are currently creating trade policy, most notably with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was finalized last week.
This week, as you continue to support your favorite fair trade brands and stock up on fair trade Halloween chocolate, please also take a minute to write or call Congress and let them know you object to the TPP and you want a fair, democratic, and transparent trade policy