January 22, 2020

OPINION: We need to focus on Fair Trade

Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly challenged to stand up for what we believe in. Some will choose not to eat meat due to their displeasure with the livestock industry, or buy a shampoo that is tested on humans rather than dogs due to their beliefs against harsh treatment of animals. Others may choose to walk to instead of drive, because of their beliefs on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions.

Paying attention and making educated decisions in your everyday life is essential if morality is of concern. To help make moral decisions, there are a variety of options, such as purchasing items with the Fair Trade Certification.

The Fair Trade Certification is a symbol printed on qualifying production company’s products that meet certain standards. There are a wide range of standards these producers must meet, for example they must pay their workforce a reasonable salary, prevent child labor, and provide a safe working environment.

A certificate like this is important in light of recent misdirected step in child labor. In 2014, Bolivia became the first country to officially legalize child labor. Although it is still more prevalent in other countries, Bolivia has lowered the legal working age from 14 to 10 years old.

Although buying products from companies that employ children may seem like a subtle gesture of demonstrating your beliefs, the reality is much different. When a purchase is made from a company that uses child labor, that money supports the company, and simply encourages them to continue on their path.

Being unable to regulate the employment practices of other countries, the only solution is avoidance of the companies we know to support those practices. Making decisions to avoid these companies in order to encourage them, as well as foreign countries, to make changes is certainly effective, in addition to setting a precedent.

(Vincent Caruso ’16, Opinions Editor)

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