It’s no secret that I’m practical to a fault. When other kids were dreaming of sports cars, I was carefully weighing the durability, comfort and resale value of sedans. In my house, it’s well known that every appliance must serve multiple purposes or be used almost daily for me to keep it around. Even kids are expected to contribute something (usually chores) when they reach a certain age. Pets, yes, you lay the eggs for breakfast or you become the dinner. (Sorry)
So when it comes to non-essentials like jewelry, decor, or even coffee mugs, well, I want to know what you’re going to contribute to the world. I want multi-function! I want superpowers!
That’s why when I found this little beauty I couldn’t stop thinking about her for months. She (we’ll call her Iris) isn’t just good-looking. She doesn’t merely hold coffee extraordinarily well. She doesn’t just fit so comfortably in my hand, but Iris is changing the world.
Let me introduce you to my new friend. Iris is a hand-crafted, hand-painted Tunisian coffee mug. She is fighting poverty by employing artisans in this tiny North African country, ensuring fair wages are paid to her makers. She isn’t Fair Trade certified just yet, but she is ethically made and undergoing the certification process currently.
I received her in a box subscription I purchased from Globein, where I’ve also received stainless steel tumblers, gorgeous scarves, salad grabbers, and so much more!
How is Fair Trade Changing the World?
In order to understand this, you have to take a look at real life for 90% of the world’s people, who earn less than $2/day typically. It’s painful to see, so most people don’t look. Still, I hope you do.
Many of these people in extreme poverty earn low wages because of big business taking gluttonous profits such as from that $5+ coffee you buy on your way to church, yes, but they are kept in poverty also because we demand $.99 coffee mugs, which means somewhere someone is suffering to make them.Someone is paying the price for the products we enjoy and consume. even if it's not us. Click To Tweet
Maybe they’re suffering only from the poverty that comes from poor wages, but most likely they’re also suffering from extraordinarily long hours, extremely poor working conditions and the excessive toxic load from producing the products we buy so inexpensively.
Someone is paying the price for the products we enjoy and consume. even if it’s not us.
Fair Trade products, on the other hand, must meet 10 specific and challenging criteria and undergo a lengthy and often expensive certification process.
Criteria for certification includes factors like fair wages, safe working conditions, environmental sustainability, transparency and accountability, no child labor and no forced labor, non-discrimination policies and capacity building, among other things. And until they are fully certified, they are referred to as ethically produced.
Why Should We Support Fair Trade and Ethically Made?
The Fair Trade standards are the things we’d expect and demand for ourselves because they’re human values. It’s how we live here in the States and most of the Western World, yet, we rarely demand those things for others. Maybe that’s because we don’t really know, but I hope, Iris hopes, it’s not because we don’t want to know.
We have to see it. We have to make ourselves look poverty right in the face, to look her in the eyes and see the devastating consequences of our “buy it cheap” mentality.
And whenever we start to see it and begin to care, when we learn to love the poor in a way that is active, we can choose to shop Fair Trade and ethically made. It’s then that our dollars start to cast a vote for a better world.
And that’s why I couldn’t stop thinking about this curvy little Tunisian. She is so much more than a mug. She is a cup ‘o hope. And after all, my delicious Fair Trade coffee (I call him Joe… just kidding) deserves better than a cheap dollar store mug. Doesn’t he?
*this post contains an affiliate link which helps support the blog, without it costing you. This link may also offer you a savings coupon code.