Technology

When speaking about technology, most people aren’t thinking about the environmental impacts that take place behind the making and manufacturing of their product. Technology is ever changing and ever growing. Technology seems to replace itself before the newest product has even fully caught on. It seems like most people have 2-year phone contracts and are given an upgrade after the period is up, this is great for cell-phone companies but terrible for slave-mine workers who are getting the metal for technology. Cell phones and other technology is also filling our landfills as they become outdated or obsolete.

 

Technology is not typically ‘green’ or environmentally friendly, and definitely not slave-free. But there is one company that we will look at today that is working hard to remove itself from the cycle that has been created to create a positive cycle! This is a company called Fairphone and they specialize in cell phones, smart phones to be exact.

Their approach is completely revolutionary and ideal for those who want a functional phone while helping the earth. They’ve got an ideology and methodology that allows them to keep slaves off the market and keep cell phones out of landfills.

 

They put a high value on:

  • Conflict Free Mining
  • Design
  • Manufacturing
  • Full Lifespan of Cell Phones
  • Social Entrepreneurship

 

Within the full lifespan on cell phone emphasis they address the importance of recycling old phones. This company is based in Europe, and they take in old phones and use them for parts for their smartphones and they have created a beautifully functional phone that takes a path different from the rest.

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Wines and other Alcoholic Beverages

I’m no expert in alcohol because I’m not a big drinker, but I do appreciate and enjoy the occasional celebratory drink. And today I’m happy to talk about it because its just another way to support fair-trade farmers and the companies that are committed to helping them!alcohol450

 

As I have emphasized before one excellent way staying away from the slave market is to buy local and support your own community. One way of doing this is buying microbrews that are made locally, I know in Wisconsin we are lucky enough to have New Glarus, Lakefront Brewery, Stevens Point Brewery and Capital Brewery just to skim the surface of Wisconsin Beers. There are also so really great fair-trade companies that specialize in alcohol, and as a side note Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s grocery store has many fair trade certified wines as well as other selections of alcohol.

 

Bay Pac Beverages

Has been a certified organic supplier since 1995

Purchased the company Fair

 

C88 Holdings LLC

Located in Louisville Kentucky

Produces in small batches

Has very unique and luxurious liqueur

 

Biagio Cru & Estate Wines

Have wines from Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain

 

Heritage Link Brands

African wines

Initiates fair business practices

Has many unique and flavorful wines

 

New Direction Malbec

Sam’s club released their first fair trade certified wine in 2008- and is available to Club card holders

 

Fair

Was the first line of fair trade certified alcohol

Known for Quinoa vodka and Rum

Uses high quality ingredients

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Gifts and Décor

How wonderful would it be if when we handed a gift to a loved one it would also bless a stranger in need? In my opinion giving a fair trade gift is doing just that, hitting two birds with one love bomb. A lot of what we already talked about could make great gifts, but here are some more conventional ideas to add to the list. We will look at floral companies, toys for kids, apparel and home goods. In a lot of larger cities there is usually a fair trade shop with all kinds of amazing products. I know where I’m from Plowshare gifts is a great little fair trade shop and I’ve often stopped in there to find a gift.

 

From any occasion like Mothers Day to a friend loosing a loved one flowers send a powerful message of love. Did you know there are actually companies that are florists and fair trade?

  • Bloomquest LLC
  • Equator Fair Trade Association
  • Fall River Florist Supply Company
  • Flowerlink
  • Francis Buddle International Inc
  • InBloom Group LLC
  • One World Flowers Incorporated
  • USA Bouquet

 

If you are in need of a gift for a child there is an amazing company called Senda Athletics that has a vision of “To make premium quality soccer products that respect the people who make them and the environment, and promote soccer as a tool to improve lives.”

 

For other amazing fair trade companies that have great resources for the perfect gift whether it’s a blanket or a pair of bookends check out these companies to see what suits you.

-Boil and Branch

-Good and Fair Clothing

-HAE now

PACT Apparel

-Portico Brand Group

-PrAna

-West Elm

Ten Thousand Villages

 

Next week will look at wines and other adult beverages that are certainly fair trade and organic

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Shoes

Today we will be looking at fair-trade shoes! I had so much fun with this one, rightfully so because I am the girl who already has 50+ pairs and is always on the lookout for more. What’s important in a shoe for me is style, functionality, detail and cost efficiency.

 

So we have seen that a lot of the products that are fair-trade certified or organic are typically a bit more pricey, but I’d like to remind you of the value! More often than not the quality of fair-trade, organic is much higher and in the long run will last and last. So for a bit of a higher price we are bettering people that produce the product, the environment and ourselves!

 

The first thing that came to mind with fair-trade shoes was TOMS- one for one shoes. But they do not advertise any sort of fair-trade or sustainability within their shoe making process. They tend to focus on giving of the shoes to those in need which has been debated to be helpful, so check it out. With this, I hope this blog has helped train your brain to look for that fair-trade label and to do your research before you purchase.

 

We will be looking at 3 predominant fair-trade shoe companies in this post

 

Oliberte

This company is very open about their vision and process of shoe making from start to finish. They are fair-trade certified and based out of Sub-Saharan Africa. Some reasons to invest in shoes from this company:

1)    Their products are high quality and will last

2)    Super cute styles

3)    ALL their materials are locally and sustainably sourced

4)    They have a vision of work over charity to overcome poverty

5)    Transparent about company procedures

6)    Varies in styles

 

SoleRebels

They are also fair-trade certified and consider themselves as “green by heritage” which means they look to traditions of Ethiopia which were always focused on sustainability, recycling, not wasting and over all green methods. This company was fascinating to me because

1)    The owners are Ethiopian and of heritage from other African countries

2)    Near to zero waste as a company

3)    Uses small, local, organic farmers for cotton and leather from range free cattle

4)    High-quality

5)    Has styles for men, women and children

6)    Has a variety of styles

 

Ethletic

This company was not as outright about it’s processes, but they still claim to be FairTrade certified.

1)    They have mainly sneakers

2)    Vegan products

3)    Use sustainable resources

4)    Reasonable prices

 

SO there you have it, fair-trade shoes! Next week will look at Gifts and Décor!

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Coffee

Coffee

 

Everyone knows what coffee is and can attest to its glory. For many (myself  included) a steaming cup of coffee is the best part of their morning, in fact roughly 60% of Americans claim they need their morning cup of coffee in order to wake up. And the United States spends roughly 18 billion on coffee each year. With is being such a widely used, known and loved product it can cause much devastation if not properly handled or regulated. But on the flip side, it can be bring slaves and mistreated workers out of oppression.

 

Some of the things you’re going to want to look for on a coffee label:

  • Certified organic
  • Fair-Trade
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified

 

 

 

 

35 North Coffee Company

A & E Custom Coffee Roastery

A Happy Life

Abednego Coffee Roasters

Acadian Coffee Roasters LLC

Adbibo Coffee

Addison Coffee Roasters

Adirondack Coffee

Adventure Coffee Roasting

Agapao Coffee & Tea

Agua Dulce Coffee & Tea & Frenchtown Roasters

Ahold USA

Al’s Coffee

Alakef Coffee Roasters Incorporated

Aldi Inc

Allegro Coffee Company

Alltech Incorporated

Altitude Foods LLC

Alvin’s of San Francisco

America’s Best Coffee Roasting Company

America’s Choice

Anchorhead Coffee Company

Ann Marie’s Fine Coffee & Tea LLC

Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company

Arabica Coffee Roasters (Beijing) Company LTD

Arbuckle Coffee Roasters

Archer Farms

ARCO coffee company

Armeno Coffee Roasters LTD

Asplund Coffee LLC

Autocrat LLC

Badger Brothers Coffee LLC

Badger Company

Bagels & More

Baptism River Inn Bed & Breakfast

Barissimo

Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Company

Barrie House Coffee Company

Bartel’s Route 66

Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters

BEAN HEAD

Beanetics Coffee Roasters

BeanFruit Coffee Company

Beans & Brews

Beanstock Coffee Roasters

Bear Mountain Coffee Roasters Incorporated

Beaumont Coffee

Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters

Ben’s Beans

Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters

Berry Hotel

Big Bend Coffee Roasters

Big Water Coffee Roasters

Big Y

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Black River Roasters

Blanchard’s Coffee Company

Blind Dog Coffee

Blue Flower Farm

Blunt Bros Coffee

Boca Java

Bold Bean Coffee Roasters LLC

Bonfire Coffee

Boom Bros Coffee

Boston Common Coffee Company

Boulder Organic Coffee

Brazuka Coffee Roaster LLC

Breve Coffee Roasting Company

Bridgeport Coffee Company

Brown Sugar Coffee Roastery

Buena Vida Coffee

Buena Vista Roastery & Bongo Billys Coffees

Bully Blends Coffee & Tea Shop Incorporated

Burgie’s Coffee & Tea Company

Burlap & Bean

 

 

So this is just a few of the many fair-trade coffee brands on the market, which is really good news because it shows companies that are putting their workers on a higher standard and there are many for us to choose from.

 

There are actually many accessible or well known fair-trade, organic and or rainforest alliance certified coffee brands, you may be pleasantly surprised-

 

Anodyne

Archer Farms

Badger Company

Colectivo

Dunkin’ Donuts Inc. (Espresso beans only)

Dunn Bro’s Coffee

Starbucks

Stone Creek

TOMS (yes, same company as the shoes)

Trader Joe’s

Whole Foods

 

 

So curl up with a steamy cup of fair trade coffee and know that mug by mug, you are making a difference.

 

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Body Products

 

Remember when we talked about the correlation between Fair Trade products and organic products? They are very closely related, and when something is Fair Trade, it is more likely than not, organic.

 

We know that organic means as close to natural as possible.

This means no use of:

  • Pesticide
  • Fungicide
  • Synthetic poisons 

 

In my opinion eating organic is better for our bodies because there is nothing unnatural being put into our bodies, only the goodness of the actual food! And it is not only important for us to not only putting good products

in our bodies, but also on our bodies- or body products. So today we will be looking at Fair Trade and organic body products. A win for our bodies, a win for the companies that are good to employees, and a win for those getting freed from slavery because our use of these good products. Win win win!

bodyproducts

 

 

-Akoma International LTD

         *Akoma emphasizes tackling poverty and injustice through trade        primarily in Ghana

  • Shea butter
  • Black soap
  • Naturally flavored lip balms

 

 

 

Aura Cacia

  • Has established as sustainable sourcing program with new ethical-sourcing partnerships
  • Mostly known for their top-quality essential oils

 

-Badger Company (pictured above)

         *Badger is an American company

         *Certified Organic products

  • Sunscreens & bug sprays
  • Muscle relieve rubs
  • Sleep remedies

 

Blends for Life Organics

         *Fair Trade Certified

         *known for their shea butter but also have varieties of:

  • Joint and muscle rubs
  • Body polish

 

Eco Lips INC

         *If you couldn’t tell from their name, they are best known for their             lip products!

         * Natural and Organic petroleum-based lip products

  • Sunscreen balm & face cream
  • Tinted balm
  • Vegan lip balm
  • “cause” balms- buy to support a cause of your choice
  • co-branded balm (remember Dagoba chocolate, that’s one co brand!)

 

For next week, get ready to learn about fair- trade, slave free coffee!

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Food

 

Obviously food is very important to us- we eat and eat and eat all day, so it’s easily one of the biggest ways we spend our money and for that matter. So if you’re looking at it that way there is potential to make a huge impact on our slave footprint- good or bad. As usual we will focus on the good. So how do we do that?

 

 

Buy LOCAL

One of the most effective ways of ensuring the food in your pantry was not made or produced by slaves is to avoid the big companies and buy local. I could talk about buying local food all day, because there is so much good done when we make a decision to buy local.

  • Support the locals
  • Often cheap
  • Often organic
  • Uses less packaging (eco-friendly)
  • Builds community
  • Natural- eating seasonal foods

 

 

How?

SO many communities have farmers markets available in the spring through fall, and some year round. This can be one of the most efficient ways to shop locally, and it can be so fun! This way people can have the opportunity to ask the farmer questions about the food or any part of the process. There is also a program where one can get a delivery of produce from the surrounding area the delivery is called a CSA box. Woodman’s and some other grocery stores stock local produce when in season. But there are other options too- we can also buy foods that are guaranteed fair trade products. There are many products that are committed to being slave free and can be purchased at your local grocery store or online, here are just a few.

 

  • Cisse

-Mostly baking mixes

-Brownie Mix

-Cookie Mix

-Hot Cocoa

-Cake Mix

  • Kedem Food Products

-Anything from wine to Gnocci!

  • Pacific Natural Food

-Protein powder

-Broths and more!

  • Larabar

-Natural protein bars

  • The Spirited Sparrow Beverage Company

-Sodas and other quality beverages

  • Whole Foods Market

-Amazing grocery stores that have it all!

 

*Next week we will be looking at body products like soaps, lotions, oils and more!

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Chocolate

 

 

 

 

YUM- if you’re like me just the word makes salivate!

 

Yup, that’s right, today is the best because we are talking chocolate and this post will tell you everything you need to know about chocolate

 

We will be looking at:

  • How its made
  • Slavery victims in the industry
  • Brands of fair-trade & organic chocolate

 

How Chocolate is Made:

 

Cocoa beans grow on tropical plants called Cacao Trees and guess what Cacao means in Greek? Food of the Gods, I couldn’t agree more. Really. So these are the steps of how the cocoa beans are made into creamy chocolate:

 

1)  Beans are surrounded by a fruit that animals eat, and unknowingly spread the beans or seeds to make more Cacao trees

2)  Beans are harvested by hand

3)  Shipped to factories

4)  Sifted

5)  Sorted

6)  Roasted

7)  Cracked out of shell

8)  Crushed

9)  Separated of cocoa butter if turned into powder, or added if made a chocolate bar

10)       Milk & sugar are added

11)       Refined

12)       Melted

13)       Shaped

14)       Packaged

 

Now that you have a bit more of an understanding of how it’s made we will look at corruption within the cocoa industry

 

Slave Victims:

 

-70% of the worlds chocolate come from the tropics of Western Africa, and if you do anything more than 2 minutes of research you will quickly learn that child slavery in the cocoa industry is HUGE. There are more than 15,000 child cocoa slaves in Africa alone..

 

-The US spends 13 billion dollars on cocoa imports per year. And  40% of that 13 billion is slave labored

 

-Did you know buying fair-trade products usually means organic and vice versa, they generally go hand-in-hand- just a little tip to help you find slave free chocolate when you are looking, but to help you out here are some brands that support & pay their workers

 

Fair-Trade & Organic Chocolate Brands

 

  • Dang
  • Green and Black’s
  • Dagoba
  • Divine
  • Equal Exchange
  • Sweet Earth Organic
  • Shaman Chocolates
  • Smith Organic
  • Endangered Species Chocolate
  • Theo Chocolate
  • Newman’s Own
  • Cocoa Vino

 

Next week we will look at food brands that are slave free- and as we learned today, they will mostly be organic too!

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Clothing

To speak candidly-
I of course was excited to do this blog, because I am passionate about the topic of modern day slavery. But honestly I am learning here too, as I’ve researched I’ve found much difficulty in finding trustworthy companies, that are worth promoting. Most of the literature in this area (like I’ve mentioned before) tends to focus on the corruption within the company vs. companies that care for their workers.

So, as promised I will be posting companies that are seen to be doing better than the vast majority, ones that would be helping modern day slaves instead of bringing them harm.

Clothes are this week’s focus!

Pants to Poverty
Pants to Poverty is a company that uses organic, fair trade cotton as it’s base for the product, and what do they sell? Underwear! Their products were a bit out of my price range.
Today’s cotton industry:
• 100 million rural households are involved in the overall production of cotton
• 70 countries around the world farm for cotton

About the company:
• They fund the farmers salaries
• Give educational materials to the local school
• Workers are guaranteed to make a wage in all stages of production, even if the world price fluctuates

 

Patagonia
Patagonia strives to give their employees compensation for their work. I like the clothes this company makes, super durable, cozy and outdoorsy.

About the company:
• Part of the Fair Trade Association (FTA) -They are subject to random audits and examinations
• Focus on sustainability
• Pride themselves in transparency
-Post factory list on website
-Footprint Chronicals traces their social and environmental impacts of products and processes
-They publish their Code of Conduct

 

asos- The Green Room
This is a beautiful fashion company that has a fair trade line called The Green Room, I like this company because it’s different. Most fair trade lines would not (at least in my book) be considered fashion or ‘cute’ but this line was! I would totally get a party dress or school outfit from this company. Check it out!
• Fair Trade
• Green Room features different companies
• Hand woven
• Organic

 

Next week our focus will be: CHOCOLATE

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Week One- Introduction

Hello! My name is Christie, I’m a super senior (just about to graduate!) at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, and I working on my degree in Environmental Science, with an emphasis in Resource Management. Just a bit about me- I would … Continue reading

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