Tag Archives: Burlington

Fair Trade in the Green Mountain State

17 Aug

Being based in Burlington, Vermont, we are lucky to have beautiful mountains and lakes and a stunning working landscape of farms all around us, to go along with wonderful towns and cities full of engaging people and businesses to interact with.

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church-stFair Trade is a part of Vermont. Along with ever increasing support for supporting our local economy, Vermonters also have a strong awareness of how Fair Trade connects us to the rest of the world and can make the world a better place through our purchasing choices. We show a willingness to be a part of Fair Trade through efforts like becoming a Fair Trade Town (Burlington and Brattleboro) or Fair Trade University (St. Michael’s College). Many outstanding companies that embrace Fair Trade make their home here as well, ranging from Dolma Fair Trade and Creative Women to Ben & Jerry’s and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

This week we were so proud to see that one of our Vermont companies, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, was just recognized as being the world’s largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee. For the third straight year!

GMCR

A huge congratulations to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters making a difference in the lives of coffee farmers around the world.

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Fair Trade: Empowering Women Around the World

27 Mar
These women formed Arte Comasagua, an artisan group that Hope for Women is proud to work wtih

These women formed Arte Comasagua, an artisan group in El Salvador that we are proud to work with.

Poverty and gender inequality are main factors which cause women worldwide to lack employment opportunities and to struggle to support themselves without the aid of men. Engaging in trade can be especially difficult because in many societies it is considered inappropriate for women to take part in this type of work. Fair Trade promotes gender equality through imparting equal wages and providing women with economic opportunities. It also encourages women to take on leadership positions and to fully participate in discussion and decision making about business practices.

Fair Trade gives women the chance to provide for themselves and their families, which strengthens their position in society and gives them the resources and skills needed to take control of their lives and futures. Below are examples from around the world of women who have been empowered by Fair Trade and were able to create a better life for themselves.

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Rwanda

Fair Trade USA featured a story on Hinga Kawa, a Women’s Association, which is part of the  Abakunda Kawa cooperative and is comprised of a group of women who joined together as a community to sell their coffee. Many of these women are widows or orphans due to the genocide in their country, so they hold many responsibilities at home as well as at work in the coffee fields. By forming Hinga Kawa, these women are able to take pride in selling coffee that they have grown and also have a supportive network of women who share their hardships. Although Fair Trade has not made these women rich, it has provided them with an income that will allow them to send their children to school and still be able to feed them.

Hinga Kawa Women's Association of coffee farmers in Rwanda

Hinga Kawa Women’s Association of coffee farmers in Rwanda

Brazil

The story of one woman, Donha Conceção, also featured by Fair Trade USA exemplifies the major, life changing impact that Fair Trade can have on struggling women worldwide.  When Donha Conceção was widowed with five children to care for, she was left with only the knowledge of coffee farming as means of survival.  After a period of extremely difficult times, she decided to join the Fair Trade Certified coffee cooperative, Coocafé, where she learned to farm more sustainably.  Through their aid she was able to increase the quality and price of her coffee.  The resulting success of her coffee business enabled her to provide for her family and send all of her children to school.  She became the first woman to be elected to Coocafé’s board.

India and Nepal

The World Fair Trade Organization conducted research on the role of women in the market and what benefits they receive from group membership and Fair Trade.  They looked the Artisans Association, ACP (Association for Craft Producers) and WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing), which are Fair Trade working projects for impoverished women in India and Nepal. The women involved were able to earn their own income in a society where women face many restrictions such as the inability to receive higher education and a lack of resources or employment options. They reported that the rare opportunity they were given allowed them to become skilled, capable craftswomen in a safe environment.  Also, the contribution they made to their household income changed their husband’s attitudes towards them, causing them to be treated with with more respect and to be given more authority.

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Photo: Carol Wills

In numerous other countries around the world women are benefiting from the increase in Fair Trade initiatives.  What could be better motivation to support Fair Trade than to know that your purchases are ethical and are contributing to the ability of women worldwide to take control of their lives.

Sources:

Barrow, Katie. 2010. Women, Coffee & Hope: Fair Trade is Blossoming in the Hills of Rwanda. Fair Trade USA.

FairtradeUSA. 2010. Grandmother, Coffee Farmer, Leader: Meet Donha Conceção.

Jones, Elaine. 2012. Women’s Economic Empowerment Through Fair Trade: Case Studies from India and Nepal. World Fair Trade Organization.

Photo: “Women Coffee farmers in Rwanda” from Fair Trade USA.

How to have a Fair Trade friendly Valentines Day!

6 Feb

Looking for an original way to show appreciation for your valentine this year? Commit to Fair Trade!

Here are some ideas on creative and socially responsible alternatives to the average Valentines Day gift:

1. Fair Trade Chocolate– Chocolate is an essential part of every Valentines Day, but this year consider options such as the Valentines products from Divine Chocolate, the only Fair Trade chocolate company which is 45% owned by the farmers. Company ownership gives the farmers a share of Divine’s profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry.  Another option, which comes in wide array of unique flavors is Alter Eco chocolate. They offer 10 different types of chocolate bars such as dark coconut toffee, dark quinoa, dark mint, and dark with crystallized orange peel. A third Fair Trade, organic option is Equal Exchange chocolate, which comes in a variety of forms and flavors, each as delicious as the next!

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2. Fair Trade Flowers Many people are not aware of the exploitation that occurs within the cut flower business in order to keep costs low.  Commit to buying Fair Trade flowers this Valentines Day in order to insure that you are not contributing to the mistreatment and abuse of workers.  One wonderful option is One World Flowers, an organization that sells all Fair Trade roses and has a large selection of Valentines Day bouquets.  One of the arrangements in particular, the Helping Haiti bouquet allows you to contribute to a cause while showing appreciation for your valentine because 10% of the purchase price is given as a donation to Samaritan’s Purse relief efforts in Haiti.  Another great option if there is a Whole Foods near you is to buy their Whole Trade Guaranteed or certified organic flower arrangements.  These floral products are grown according to strict criteria for ethical trade and earth-friendly farming.

Whole Foods Whole Trade Guaranteed Flower Selection

Whole Foods Whole Trade Guaranteed Flower Selection

One World Flowers Fair Trade Bouquet

One World Flowers Fair Trade Bouquet

3. Fair Trade Wine–  A bottle of wine is another essential component of most Valentines Day celebrations, so why not make it Fair Trade? There are now Fair trade wineries in Argentina, Chile and South Africa.  Here is a list of the the Top 10 Fair Trade Wines to help you make the best selection.

4. Fair Trade Jewelry & Accessories– At Hope For Women we are offering a Valentines Day special of 15% off select purple, red and pink products, which would make perfect gifts for your valentine! If you are looking to buy specifically gold jewelry for your special someone, check out Fair Trade and Fair Mined gold from the Fairtrade Foundation.

Tagua Twigs Cuff Bracelet - Fire -

Tagua Twigs Cuff Bracelet – Fire –

Fair Trade & Fair Mined Gold

Fair Trade & Fair Mined Gold

ReStyle Men's Wallet - Red -
ReStyle Men’s Wallet – Red –

Featured Retailer: Made on Earth

17 Nov

Made On Earth is a boutique legendary for its fair trade philosophy, commitment to social justice, gifts with purpose and clothing with flair. Located in the heart of historic downtown Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, “The Oldest Summer Resort in America,” Made on Earth provides an alternative experience to the conservative, status quo retail gift and clothing stores. 

Inspired by the owners’ personal interests in world travel, social action and spirituality, they travel the world purchasing products from small cottage industries while forming meaningful relationships with diverse people and cultures. We are proud that Made on Earth supports Hope For Women products by carrying our SimpliciTree Tagua jewelry, Peel Pals and Portraits of El Salvador pressed flower note cards.

By shopping at Made on Earth, you support their commitment to working with overseas communities to create a better future, and you are directly helping a small New England town help others around the world – very cool!

To learn more about this incredible business, take a peek at their webpage.

Like a Good Cup of Socially Responsible Coffee? So do we.

8 Nov

We’re proud here at Hope for Women to be headquartered in the same beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

GMCR was founded back in 1981, but just last month they made major headlines for being dubbed the world’s largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee in 2010 by Fair Trade USA. To put that in numbers, that’s over 26 million pounds of coffee- amazing!

Needless to say, GMCR has been doing much more than simply creating a delicious tasting coffee for the past 30 years. They have also been dedicated to engaging in socially responsible business practices, and it’s making a big difference-

“Our business success enables us to invest in a more just and sustainable future — whether through sales of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee, energy and waste reduction programs, awareness building campaigns, new product development, employee benefits, projects in supply-chain communities, volunteerism, grants, or product donations,” (greenmountaincoffee.com).

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is also committed to supporting Fair Trade farmers spanning all the way from Latin America to Africa through community development projects. Some of these projects include establishing new health clinics, building roads and creating scholarships.

GMCR has also chosen to work with Hope For Women by having us create a GMCR branded tagua key chain for them to use in their marketing and promotional materials. GMCR could have chosen any supplier for this, but made a conscious decision to choose a Fair Trade, eco-friendly product that comes from one of the major coffee producing countries they work in.

I urge everyone to take a moment and explore GMCR’s fun and interactive website and Facebook page, and while you’re at it, make sure to check out their many varieties of coffee that we have all come to love and yes, even depend on.