ETHICAL TRADE, - WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
ETHICAL TRADING -WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
To get a better idea about what Ethical Trading is? What it means, and why it’s important? This article that was published in a supplement of The New York Times in 2013 gives some wonderful and insightful information.
Ethical Trading, Why does it Matter?
With the onslaught of worker abuse on so many different levels, ethical trading is a practice that we as consumers must keep in the forefront of our minds.
What is ethical trading? To put it simply, it is when a company is socially responsible and believes in enforcing for their workers what some of us take for granted, human rights. Unfortunately, there are various brands out there that could care less about fair labor
methods. It’s not a very ‘pretty’ subject to think about because if all were right in the world, we wouldn’t have to try and enforce it. It may not be something you may even be aware of and realize needs to be fought for. But now is the time to open up your eyes to something that will prevent and halt any unjust actions that are taken against those who feel as if this is the only way they can make a living. The people we are asking you to think about are very similar to you. They need to work in order to live, eat and survive in their environments. They are someone’s child, brother, sister, mother and father. They are indeed, no different than you and me.
When you buy and use a product, the life cycle of that item isn’t something that we usually think about. That shirt you slip on over your head, your main concern might be if it looks good on you. Or that toy you bought, will it bring joy to the child you present it to? Thoughts such as the manpower that went into it may escape you, not intentionally, but just because it’s not something that we were taught to take into consideration. Everyday items from clothing and jewelry, to toiletries and even the food we put into our mouths were created by a group of people. These people sourced the ingredients, crafted the items and packaged them for our enjoyment. However, this isn’t as simple as it seems when it is broken down. Even in our modern day culture, instances of worker abuse still exist. The creation of an item is not something that can be brushed off because lives are literally being affected. These abuses include, but aren’t limited to child labor, physical abuse, unsafe work environments, unfair wages, and if you can even wrap your mind around it, enslaved labor. To go even deeper into it with examples, think about little kids who are forced to work and chained to their stations. Or what about someone who works every day for 18 hours a day, wondering if they will even be compensated? And if a company doesn’t care or monitor any of their equipment safety standards or office conditions, there are sadly those who get burned or even lose extremities. Have I gotten your attention yet? It’s really shocking once you stop to think about how that doll you bought to bring a smile to someone’s face may in fact have cost someone their fingers.
Ethical trade is something that as a consumer, you should make sure the companies you purchase from take part in. One great example of a company who takes action is Amenity360. Amenity360 is one of the world’s leading suppliers for hotel amenities and travel toiletries. Like we said, those miniature shampoo and shower gel bottles that you use on your trips didn’t just magically pop up in your hotel room, rather they had to be made from scratch. Amenity360’s CEO Paul Bohm, passionately states that, “It’s essential that we behave as responsible global citizens wherever we operate in the world. We’re working to make sure that our products and services are produced in honest ways, without violating human rights or damaging the environment. Our Code of Ethical Purchasing sets out the standards that all our suppliers must meet, and it’s based on our values, as well as international principles like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” But how is it that they go about implementing these standards when they operate on such a large scale? While Amenity360 makes sure that the practices in their own offices and factory meet their high standards for work conditions, they take a step even further to make sure that any company that they source from also takes part in ethical trade. The company has staff that regularly visits their business partners in order ensure that they are being socially responsible. This means that they keep an eye out to make sure that the people who they work with get paid AT LEAST the minimum wage required, are compensated for any overtime work, are voluntarily working, have the ability and right to form a union, have hygienic surroundings, have safe surroundings and have reasonable hours and break times. It quite amazing to see a company such as Amenity360 go above and beyond to make sure that everything that is produced with their name on it is socially responsible.
How can you help? Take a cue from Amenity360 and find ways to assist with ethical trade initiatives and movements. Educate yourself and spread the word. If you are familiar with ethical trade, then you can go and inform others about it. You can find more information at EthicalTrade.org.
- Only choose to purchase from companies who clearly state that they are an ethical trade company.
- Websites such as Guardian.co.uk and FairTradeUSA.org list clothing companies that are fair trade.
Keep in mind that that any step you take can help create better working environments, especially refusing to purchase items that aren’t fair trade. It’s the simple thought of supply and demand. If consumers demand something and refuse to purchase anything that does not meet their demands, companies will have to change their supply methods in order to keep their business running smoothly, efficiently and successfully.