The 2021 holiday season is now underway and Americans are rushing to get their hands on the hottest gifts of the year. Despite persistent pandemic-related supply chain problems, the National Retail Federation forecasts that the US will spend up to $859 billion on Christmas sales between now and December.
We all love to get and give gifts, but in our holiday-fueled excitement, we may forget to ask ourselves where these presents come from. If we track the cash flow to discover who is making our Christmas gifts, we’ll, unfortunately, find it isn’t cheerful elves in Santa’s shop. The harsh reality is that to meet the high demands of increased shopping during the holidays, already-exploited workers will suffer further to bring Christmas to the masses.
This is why choosing Fair Trade gifts is important. Not only can you give someone a gift with ethical origins, but you can also make a difference in the lives of the people making your gifts. Instead of just focusing on merrymaking at home, we can extend that thought to the whole world.
The Less Merry Side of the Holidays
Many gifts, especially those from overseas, are made in sweatshops and factories where workers are exploited and underpaid. Laborers are often exposed to toxic chemicals and dangerous work environments. Additionally, many are expected to work overtime without extra pay while already making extremely low earnings as employers press for maximum production.
Most gifts are made with profit in mind, instead of the well-being of the Earth. Mass-produced food products depend on the destruction of habitats for farmland and can permanently alter the environments they are produced in. Fast fashion thrives through the creation of non-biodegradable synthetic fibers. Garments are made quickly and may fall apart by next season, while the fabrics themselves will remain as waste for hundreds of years. The holidays are already hard on the Earth, and supporting companies who harm it year-round gives them the power to continue their destructive operations.
Give the Gift of Fair Trade for a Merrier Future for All
Fair Trade standards ensure that workers are being paid fair living wages, work in a safe environment, and have access to processes that improve their livelihoods. These are ideals that should be upheld year-round, but the holidays give us an even more powerful opportunity to “vote” with our dollars for the rights of those that need our help the most.
Choose Gifts that Support Global Workers’ Rights
If you take a closer look at popular Christmas gift go-to’s, like apparel, electronics, and food products like chocolate or coffee, you’ll notice a sad trend. Many major producers of these goods are notorious for the exploitation of employees which only gets worse as demand increases. In 2018, the United Nations International Labour Organization found that some of the year’s most popular toys could have been produced by workers making less than $1 a day.
Choosing gifts that come from Fair Trade brands helps ensure that the workers who produced them are paid a fair living wage, are not facing dangerous working conditions, and are working consensually. It’s now possible to find all kinds of products created according to Fair Trade standards; from tea to clothing to your child’s new favorite teddy bear.
Giving a Fair Trade gift means you are helping someone in the world provide for their own family and work towards a better future. It also is an opportunity to share great ethically-sourced products with your friends and families and promote the idea of gift-giving with a purpose.
Help Reduce the Environmental Impact of the Holidays
When it comes to the holidays, the toll on the environment is vast. Because of the increased consumption of food and alcohol; wrapper, plastic, and food waste all increase drastically. Fossil fuel use skyrockets, along with electricity consumption. It may be a wonderful time of year for families, but Earth pays the price.
While it can be challenging to keep up with eco-friendly habits during the holidays, making small changes can make a difference in your overall environmental footprint during this time. Companies that choose to meet Fair Trade standards prove that they care about people and the planet. To be certified Fair Trade, farms and suppliers must adhere to strict environmental guidelines that ensure an area is only enhanced by its use instead of harmed in the process. Innovative Fair Trade brands in traditionally harmful industries such as textiles or coffee have found ways to create fantastic products without poisoning the Earth in the process.
Bears for Humanity’s Commitment
Bears for Humanity believes in making lovable toys that help people and protect the planet. Bears for Humanity is Fair Trade Certified and committed to creating stuffed animals that are made by people who are paid fair wages and work in a safe, comfortable environment. We also strive to minimize our environmental footprint by utilizing natural fibers and herbal dyes to make all of our special plushies.
Choosing to gift, celebrate and decorate with Fair Trade goods means placing importance back on what matters - making the world a better place for all and protecting our home planet in the process. If you would like to keep a clear Christmas conscience and create less environmental mess this year, you can make a difference by choosing Fair Trade for your holiday gifts and goodies.