WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME BUYING FAIRTRADE?
Many of us buy fair trade tea, coffee, chocolate or bananas. Maybe you have even gone as far as buying fairtrade gifts for birthdays or ethically made fashion. But what about your home? What do you know about how or where your furniture and home accessories are made? What were the working conditions of the people who made these great things you use every day? And were they paid a fair wage?
Sustainability with all of its aspects is a growing movement, both on the supplier and consumer. Of course there will always be a market for sell them cheap, stack them high furniture, but many of us would like good quality, real craftsmanship and originality. With rising house prices and how long these items will last you for, the cost of paying decent wages for our home ware and furniture really is very small in comparison and an investment worth making.
By buying pieces that are fairtrade, we are giving people in developing countries the chance to send their children to school. To work in decent conditions and keep their traditions and crafts alive. Of course all of those things are wonderful and important and the reason we should always buy ethically. But as a buyer we get something out of this too, unique pieces that we can be proud to use and display. For example this hanging storage unit, which was handmade, using thin strands of recycled paper.
This ancestral technique from Korea is one that the creators of the products wish to preserve at all cost. The craftsmen and women cut used paper into strips, then roll them between two of their dampened fingers to form a very strong thin cord.
Both men and women devote themselves to this craft, but only a few "Living Treasures" continue to use the pages from old books to manufacture these works of art. In South Korea recycling is always a priority. Today, fairtrade workshops produce the cords using plain, unbleached, recycled paper.
So let's invest in interesting pieces that have a story. Because it will benefit their makers as much as us buyers.