Fair Trade Jewellery

Blood diamonds have been a part of the jewellery industry for too long, and now FTJCo in Toronto is “North America’s original certified fairtrade fine jeweller”.

It’s great to see a jeweller that understands that fair trade and social justice can be a key part of their business. If you need new jewellery you should always try to buy from sources that are people and earth friendly.

Certified participants in the Condoto Community Council’s Oro Verde initiative, the source for our metals, receive a guaranteed minimum price, a social premium, and the opportunity to empower themselves through a stronger base for bargaining, better knowledge of market values, and the possibility of sourcing pre-financing from prospective buyers.

Fairtrade Fairmined certification provides an incentive for sustainable mining, keeping communities together.

The Condoto miners use no toxic chemicals such as cyanide or mercury, key causes of many challenges associated with industrial mining and prospecting activities.

Oro Verde’s environmentally friendly approach and the Fairtrade Fairmined certification place the responsibility for land stewardship in the hands of these miners, balancing it with tangible incentives and rewards for minimum-impact practices.

Check out the fair trade jewellery here.

Cadbury Goes Fair Trade

If you’ll excuse for a moment while I pander to corporate interests, I think it’s worth noting that Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bar will now be made from certified fair trade cocoa. This is great to hear, because this is a huge product from a huge company, and it’s another big step towards a world in which consumers have no excuse not to know about fair trade.

Cadbury and the Fairtrade Foundation today announced plans to achieve Fairtrade certification for Cadbury Dairy Milk, the nation’s top selling chocolate bar, by end of Summer 2009. This groundbreaking move will result in the tripling of sales of cocoa under Fairtrade terms for cocoa farmers in Ghana, both increasing Fairtrade cocoa sales for existing certified farming groups, as well as opening up new opportunities for thousands more farmers to benefit from the Fairtrade system.

The press release doesn’t indicate which countries the change will take effect in, but the UK and Canada are definitely included.

Read the press release on the Fairtrade Foundation website.

Mother’s Day Gifts That Make a Difference

Granted, Mother’s Day may be a “Hallmark Holiday” (or not), but that doesn’t mean that the holiday can’t be used fro good.

OneWorld US has launched a gift guide for Mother’s Day that let’s you purcahse gifts that can make the world a better place!

If you have any ideas on gifts for Mom that make the world better, leave a comment to let everyone know!

Consumers Should Consume Fair Trade Consumables

In the UK, people are being urged to buy more fair trade products to make the world better. Things are going well so far when looking at the numbers. As always there is room for improvement.

According to the latest data meanwhile, sales of Fairtrade tea increased by 50 percent in Britain last year, while coffee and banana sales each grew by 39 percent.

The variety of Fairtrade products surged also, with more than 2,500 retail and catering products now available from over 260 companies across Britain.

The amount of raw material used to make Fairtrade products rose by more than 60 percent in 2006 from the year before.

Thanks, Evan!

Banking for the Poor

Muhammad Yunus has a vision: to end world poverty. In order to work towards his dream, he founded a bank called Grameen Bank– bank for the poor. As stated on his website:

“Grameen Bank (GB) has reversed conventional banking practice by removing the need for collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. GB provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral.

At GB, credit is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the ground that they are poor and hence not bankable. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of “Grameen Bank” and its Managing Director, reasoned that if financial resources can be made available to the poor people on terms and conditions that are appropriate and reasonable, ‘these millions of small people with their millions of small pursuits can add up to create the biggest development wonder.’ ”

This bank now has almost 7 million borrowers…97 percent of whom are women. The poor always pay back and many of them now are no longer poor. There are ten indicators to assess poverty level and they are these:

A member is considered to have moved out of poverty if her family fulfills the following criteria:

The family lives in a house worth at least Tk. 25,000 (twenty five thousand) or a house with a tin roof, and each member of the family is able to sleep on bed instead of on the floor.

Family members drink pure water of tube-wells, boiled water or water purified by using alum, arsenic-free, purifying tablets or pitcher filters.

All children in the family over six years of age are all going to school or finished primary school.

Minimum weekly loan installment of the borrower is Tk. 200 or more.

Family uses sanitary latrine.

Family members have adequate clothing for every day use, warm clothing for winter, such as shawls, sweaters, blankets, etc, and mosquito-nets to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

Family has sources of additional income, such as vegetable garden, fruit-bearing trees, etc, so that they are able to fall back on these sources of income when they need additional money.

The borrower maintains an average annual balance of Tk. 5,000 in her savings accounts.

Family experiences no difficulty in having three square meals a day throughout the year, i. e. no member of the family goes hungry any time of the year.

Family can take care of the health. If any member of the family falls ill, family can afford to take all necessary steps to seek adequate healthcare.

Muhammad Yunus is currenly in preparations to leave for Oslo, Norway on December 8th, to receive the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for himself and the Grameen Bank “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below”

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