The goal of the traditional business model known as "free trade" is to maximize profit for shareholders. In a supply chain, the goal of a business may be at odds with both suppliers and consumers. As a result, in developing nations, farmers who are already living marginally are driven out of work by unfair business practices. In some cases, child laborers are forced to work long hours under harsh or dangerous conditions. In the 1990s both Nike and Wal-Mart faced scandals when it was discovered some of their products were made by children in sweatshops.
Social consumerism (also known as ethical purchasing or ethical consumerism) is not a new phenomenon. In America, in the early 1800s, the Free Produce Society fought slavery through an economic boycott of slave-made goods. At the same time in Britain, the Rochdale Pioneers started the first consumer-based cooperative and opened the first co-op shop. Consumers want to know that their purchases are ethical, and that they make a difference in the world.
Fair Trade helps farmers and communities in many ways. Fair Trade guarantees fair minimum prices for producers. It encourages sustainable, organic farming practices. And Fair Trade returns a premium to the farming community itself, via farming cooperatives, for improvements.
The ten principles of Fair Trade, as described by the World Fair Trade Organization, are:
- Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
- Transparency and accountability
- Fair trading practices
- Payment of a fair price
- Ensuring no child labor and forced labor
- Commitment to non-discrimination, gender equity and freedom of association
- Ensuring good working conditions
- Providing capacity building
- Promoting fair trade
- Respect for the environment (maximize use of local, sustainable raw materials)
(Spicely Organic Spices is pleased to have Cybele Pascal, food allergen cookbook author, introduce our new blog.)
"Sugar and spice and everything nice" is a one of the most familiar rhymes of childhood. Good food is the embodiment of joy. And whether it’s sweet or savory, spices are an essential part of that experience.
But until I discovered Spicely Organics on the shelves of my local Whole Foods market, spices were a minefield for me. I never knew where they were sourced from, what kind of facility they were being manufactured in, and if they potentially bore the risk of cross contamination with allergenic ingredients. You see, I’m the mother of a food allergic family. I’m also an allergen-free cookbook author, and TV host. So finding spices that are free of the risk of cross contamination is of the utmost importance. That little ditty "Sugar and Spice and everything nice" was written long before food allergies had exploded into a major public health crisis ... before people had to ask, "was this cinnamon manufactured in a plant alongside peanuts?" 1 in 17 kids under the age of 3 has a food allergy in the US. 1 in 24 adults. That’s a staggering number, and it continues to rise at an alarming rate. If you suffer from a life threatening food allergy, even a trace amount of the allergen you are allergic to can set off a severe allergic reaction. This left me in a state of despair as I combed the labels of vanilla extract, and ground ginger, looking for clues about how the lovely aromatic ingredient had come to my local shelves, and whether it was safe.