by Danielle Rippingale

How often do you stop and think about who made the goods you purchase? There is a heavy cost to the goods we buy that is not only paid for by the environment but also the people who grow, har­vest, and make our goods. Thankfully, certified fair trade provides an alternative with products that are made ethically, sustainably, and with dignity.

Fair trade is not just about paying a fair price for goods. It’s also a way of contributing to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, the world’s most marginalized producers and workers. High in social responsibility, this approach ensures fair remuneration that covers the full cost of production and contributes to the continual improvement of work­ing conditions and environmental sustainability by use of tradition­al methods of production. Despite what you might think, fair trade products do not sacrifice quality and are still affordable. Fair trade promotes the rights of workers and the elimination of child labor abuse, which is a global problem. Significant in develop­ing countries (e.g. India, which has an estimated 111 million child laborers), it is not limited to them. Next time you are shopping look for the fair trade label and be rewarded with responsibly-grown products that are healthy for you, for producers, and for the world we live in.

Shopping Here with a Conscience

In Japan, fair trade products are becoming increasingly available in the way of coffee, tea, chocolate, honey, sugar, bananas, spices, wine, and flowers. You vote every time you spend—so make it count by looking for the Fairtrade Japan certification label. For more information: (use Google translation if necessary).

People Tree is a pioneer brand of fair trade ecological products and fashion, and consistently proves that it is pos­sible to purchase affordable and beautiful products while at the same time respecting people and the planet.

People Tree founder Safia Minney responded to the strug­gle and poverty that cocoa and sugar farmers live with, despite the big profits their hard work generates for big chocolate brands, by introducing their own line of fair trade chocolate.

Working with Bolivian cocoa farmer co-operatives (which include 800 families], People Tree chocolates will Liberate you of any guilt associated with your sweet addiction just by knowing that it has given farmers’ children access to educa­tion, strengthened communities, is organically grown, and has been produced in an environmentally-friendly, family-run Swiss chocolate factory.

Available at People Tree’s Omotesando and Jiyugaoka stores, nationwide stockists, and online. Sink your teeth into all eight flavors! 50g, ¥290.

Sweatshop: A shop or factory in which employees work long hours at low wages under poor conditions.