Drexel University's Women in Business group at Le Bow School of Business in collaboration with the Fair Trade Philadelphia group hosted an event, "Fair Her" on November 6th at Drexel University to generate awareness about fair trade practices among the Drexel community. The event comprised of a fashion show, an introduction to Fair Trade Philadelphia, followed by a panel discussion and a networking reception. Ten Thousand Villages, Mata Traders, Pangea Fair Trade, Grace's Guatemala Goodies and Namaste NYC were some of the brands that were showcased at the event. Ten Thousand Villages is a global network of stores that sells fair trade products; Mata Traders works with women artisans in India and Nepal to create clothing; Pangea Fair Trade sells notebooks and other gift items from fair trade brands; Grace's Guatemala Goodies markets products from Guatemala; while Namaste NYC works with disabled women in India to create clothing and scarves. All the businesses are based out of Pennsylvania. The enthusiastic student group at the university imported fair trade cookies from Reality Cookies company in Canada for this event to make it 100% fair trade. Equal Exchange sponsored hot chocolate and for the guests.
Billy Hanafae, a volunteer at the Fair Trade Philadelphia group focused on the importance of fair trade to foster local community activities. The group facilitates fair trade commerce, advocates fair trade principles and educates the community through their programs and initiatives. Betel Yamane, a student at Drexel University and an active volunteer at the Fair Trade Philadelphia group moderated the panel which consisted of, Ms. Rebecca from Ten Thousand Villages, Ms. Octavia Sun from University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Rachel Spence from Fair Trade Federation and Ms. Frankie from Equal Exchange. Ms. Kiu hosted the fashion show which showcased local fair trade products.
Ms. Rebecca mentioned that 70% of the artisans who create products are women and shared the story of Rosa, an artisan from Peru who was able to market her products through Ten Thousand Villages. Ms. Spence emphasized that the fair trade community likes to support each other and works on the principles of "Co-opetiton: Cooperative + competition" , which focus on working with cooperatives and still competing with each other in a collaborative supportive manner. Ms. Sun and Ms. Frankie mentioned that they were inspired by Ten Thousand Villages to work in the ethical fair trade industry.
The fair trade community is supported by various organization that work towards creating an awareness among consumers. Fair Trade Campaigns, Fair World Projects, World Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade Federation are a few of the groups that work in this area. Fair trade products are normally priced above the market rates, because they are created by providing a fair wage to the artisan which are as per the living wage standards, as compared to sweat shop wages. If consumers are more aware of fair trade practices, they can help by supporting fair trade brands and advocate for ethical products.
You can learn more about: Fair Trade Principles, Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade Philadelphia, Pangea Fair Trade, Le Bow School of Business, Mata Traders, Namaste NYC, Ten Thousand Villages, Equal Exchange.
THANK YOU everyone who came out to support, promote and learn about fair trade! Here are some pictures from the event.