Yes, that’s right, we can make you feel good. ‘Um, how..?’ I hear you mumble. Well listen up.
Be honest: How often do you really think about the provenance of the purchases you make? Well, you might stop and briefly wonder which country your clothes came from, whether your coffee cup is sustainably sourced, if your car could be more eco-friendly, perhaps even count the air miles your bananas have travelled and you might feel a teensy bit better about yourself for thinking these Big and Good Thoughts. But how can you get a fix of those big feels, when you KNOW your actions have helped make the world a better place? Two words: Ethical Trading.
We all know the basics. Ethical trading means better prices for goods, better working conditions for suppliers and fair trading terms for workers and farmers. Fairly traded products in the market support communities and farmers for generations to come. Sustainable development of trade means more money into disadvantaged people’s pockets. Tick, tick, tick. All good there. But what benefits are there to you, the buyer, when you buy ethically?
When you purchase something handmade, unique and truly beautiful made by someone you know has been paid a fair wage and in good working conditions – well, what is there not to feel lovely about? You’ve connected directly with the artisans and farmers who produce the goods we need, which will undoubtedly be better quality than mass produced equivalents, and bonus human points to you for helping a real individual make a real difference to their families and communities. In West Africa, where Lola & Mawu source most of our products from, the ultimate goal is to give your children a better start in life – families can afford to send their sons and daughters to school rather than work in the fields or factories. Education is, as Braveheart would say, ‘Freeeedom!’ (Note, the real Braveheart probably never said this and was almost certainly not an American with a dodgy Scottish accent, but you get the point.)
Right now, you’re more likely to see ethically traded goods in smaller, independent retailers, but more demand from consumers means a change from the bottom up – big businesses need to keep you happy, and if you want ethical merchandise, then they will provide it, and the more consumers who care about where their goods come from the more normal it becomes. Another big feel good right there.
Ethical trading benefits us all, and little old you can genuinely make a difference, just by being more aware of where your purchases come from and choosing to buy with your heart as well as that big brain of yours.
You have the power! To paraphrase the great James Brown, ‘I feel gooood, I knew that I would…’