It’s the day of hugs, kisses, and love, so let me say “Happy Valentine’s Day.” On this day you should spend time with your special someone, your best friend or take a time out just for yourself. We all love to receive and give gifts on Valentine’s Day but we have to remember to not be a blind consumer. It is estimated that Colombia will export around 500 million flowers for Valentine’s Day this year, and although this creates a large amount of jobs for the locals, it can come at a high cost. So many of the flowers that are bought each Valentine’s Day were picked by women workers who are underpaid, exposed to harsh chemicals, and are made to work extremely long hours. It is great that the Flower industry creates jobs for many Colombians but we should make sure these workers are treated the way we would want our loved ones to be treated. Flowers are still a wonderful gift but please support Fair Trade companies like www.oneworldflowers.org. If more people showed support for Fair Trade flower companies, others will follow suit.
We can’t forget about everyone’s love for chocolate on Valentine’s Day but this year makes sure you purchase Fair Trade Chocolate as well. Would you want to buy a bar of chocolate for your loved one if you knew an abused child was forced to collect cocoa seeds? From www.oxfam.org.vt.edu I found out that 40% of the worlds cocoa supply comes from West Africa where children’s rights are being violated; “U.S Department of State estimates that 109,000 children are working in an abusive labor environment with as many as 10,000 suffering as victims of human trafficking or enslavement.”Although there have been steps by the government to enforce rules and regulations on this problem, it has persisted. The way you can help stop these horrendous crimes is by buying Fair Trade! You will not only be supporting a company that is looking out for their employees, you will also be sending a message that you will not stand for child abuse, low working wages, and an unhealthy working environment. There are so many different ways you can show someone you love them and show workers around the world you love and respect them as well.
If you would like to find out what companies sell Fair Trade chocolate go to www.fairtradeusa.org. You can also tell if you’re buying Fair Trade by looking for the Fair Trade logo, shown to the right. If you aren’t looking for a sweet treat to say “I love you,” it is always great to just send a special message to someone! Hope For Women‘s Portraits of El Salvador cards and Pressed Flower Note cards are Fair Trade products that are all handmade by women artisans, making each one unique.
When you buy Fair Trade you are showing love, which is exactly what Valentine’s Day is all about.
Written by Mary Mathias