Simple Shortcuts to Making Everyday Life more Fair Trade Friendly by Jill Kirwan

The prospect of buying Fair Trade can seem overwhelming at first, especially for those of us who are living on a budget. However it is possible to make a difference by starting small and working your way towards becoming a completely ethical consumer. By making gradual changes to your shopping habits, you will become more aware of the availability of fair trade produce in your area.

If you want to make the switch right now, start off by making these five simple changes towards becoming more fair trade friendly.


Make your Caffeine Fix more Conscientious

Whether your morning vice is tea, coffee or a hot chocolate, start your day right with a cup of your favourite Fair Trade brand. Practically all grocery stores stock at least one brand of Fair Trade tea, coffee and hot chocolate – Allegro, Kicking Horse, and Camino are just some of the high quality brands that are easy to find at many Vancouver groceries. For a more detailed list visit here.


True Blue Treats

Many of us hanker for something sweet to get us through the day, or grab something convenient on the way home to keep us going until dinner. Next time you want to satisfy your sweet tooth or have a little snack, challenge yourself to making sure what you purchase is Fair Trade certified. Not only will it make you think twice about what you are putting into your body, you will enjoy a treat even more knowing that it has been produced sustainably by workers who receive a fair price for their job. Look out for brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Level Ground, and Green and Black’s, which have all gained popularity in recent years, and should be available in many convenience stores. For more ubiquitous brands Nestle Kit-Kat and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bars are now made with Fair Trade cocoa. Just look out for the logo!


Be Fair Aware!

Even if you don’t buy 100% fair trade, you can still help to increase awareness of the important work that Fair Trade does. For instance, you can engage your colleagues in a conversation about it over a cup of Fair Trade coffee. If you feel comfortable in doing so, you can also suggest that your workplace, school, church or any community group you belong to serves only Fair Trade coffee and tea. There are even programs available to help you spread the word! Being exposed to Fair Trade products can help raise interest and awareness among the people in your life.


Take a Stand at Lunch Time

When you visit cafes and restaurants, pay attention to any Fair Trade options on the menu. If you do not see a Fair Trade option, inquire with a server or leave feedback. If businesses are aware of what their customers want, they are more likely to make the switch to Fair Trade produce.


Educate Yourself

If you like the idea of Fair Trade but you feel as though you don’t know much about it, take a few hours some weekend to familiarise yourself with the concept of Fair Trade and how it works. This will help you engage with others on the topic and raise awareness in your own way. Vancouver Public Library offers a wealth of publications on the topic of Fair Trade, and numerous resources are just a Google search away. You can start on the Fairtrade Canada website!