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A Different Way of Doing Business
"With fair trade, we have more self-respect and we have the ability to better our lives. It is not a handout; it is a partnership of equals."
— Juan Jesus Castillo, CEPICAFE, Peru
Join the movement for an alternative economy
In the face of a world economic crisis, we are confronting a moment of profound challenge but also one of great opportunity. People are looking for options other than the corporate economy and "business as usual." There is now widespread awakening to the need to build a broad-based movement that protects workers, generates sustainable livelihoods, and contributes to the long-term health of communities.
At its root, the economy is the web of our material relationships with one another and with the natural environment. Our current economy has brought deepening poverty and inequality, and widespread abuses of the rights of workers. So, what would an alternative economy look like?
An alternative economy would:
- promote solidarity and the ethical, transparent, and co-responsible relations along the chain of production and consumption;
- value democracy, participatory ownership, and economic viability based on cooperation;
- prioritize the capacity building and empowerment of producers and workers who are marginalized by the conventional system of commercial relations;
- uphold full labor rights, including a living wage;
- advance equality and opportunity for women, racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, youth, and other marginalized communities;
- value diversity of cultures, crops, and markets;
- promote environmental justice and sustainability.
Alternative economy for healthy communities
Supporting fair trade is central to strengthening human rights and dignity for workers in this global economy. Fair trade is a set of principles and practices that more equitably distributes wealth and provides producers and farmers with a living wage. As a consumer, when you buy fairly traded goods, you express your beliefs about how our food should be produced, and you become part of the process of creating a more just economic system.
further strengthen the fellowship among UUs committed to fair trade, for every
pound of coffee, tea, chocolate, and snacks that UUs purchase through the UUSC
Coffee Project, 20 cents goes toward the UUSC Small Farmer Fund to support small
farmer and producer cooperatives internationally and in the United States.
Why purchase fairly traded products through the UUSC Coffee Project?
When you purchase fairly traded coffee, tea, chocolate, and snacks from Equal Exchange through the UUSC Coffee Project you can be certain that you are partnering with small farmers and making big change in how trade is done.
This is because Equal Exchange:
- focuses on small farmers and democratically run cooperatives, which gives farmers a stronger collective voice;
- builds long-term, direct trading relationships with farmer cooperatives;
- collaborates with cooperatives in the United States and around the world, and is structured as a worker-owned cooperative;
- creates a greener food system by supporting sustainable farming practices and developing more environmentally sound business practices;
- contributes 20 cents to the UUSC Small Farmer Fund for every pound that Unitarian Universalists purchase through the Coffee Project (this fund is used to support co-ops to develop their business skills; make investments in their land, education, and local communities; and build the leadership of women and youth members);
- partners with communities of faith to put values of justice and fairness into action through fair trade.
Alternative economy for healthy democracy
When small-scale farmers and producers form co-ops and participate in fair trade, they exercise their voice and vote over what's produced, how it's distributed, and how the community invests its resources. Small farmer co-ops are businesses that are owned and governed democratically by the famers themselves; they provide a positive economic alternative to migration, gangs, and the plantation system. Equal Exchange partners with small farmer cooperatives around the world to bring 100 percent fairly traded coffee, chocolate, tea, and snacks to you through the UUSC Coffee Project.
Equal Exchange holds itself to the same democratic workplace standards that it asks of its farmer partners. It is a worker-owned cooperative. Worker-owners at Equal Exchange own a share of the company, exercise voting rights, and participate in educational activities. What's more, the highest paid employee cannot earn more than four times the lowest paid employee, which promotes greater equity among all employees. Equal Exchange's model is one example of how businesses can be socially responsible while still making a profit.
By partnering with small farmer and producer cooperatives, congregations, schools, and family-owned markets, Equal Exchange is working to create an alternative economy based on fairness and collaboration, of which UUSC members can be a part.
Alternative economy for a healthy people and planet
Caring for the environment and ensuring sustainability is central to building an alternative economy. Through supporting farmer co-ops that farm organically, use water-preservation techniques, or develop ecotourism projects, Equal Exchange adheres to its guiding principles of promoting sustainable farming practices and using environmentally sound business practices. By choosing to purchase organic, environmentally sound products, you create a greener planet for everyone.
|Live the Seven Principles by Supporting Fair Trade [PDF]||509.77 KB|