Do you know you can also be an Agent For Change by buying Fair Trade products. Fair Trade promotes Sustainable Consumption which provides dignified lives and protects the planet.
Here we are sharing the views from few of our volunteers having different educational and professional backgrounds, have to say about Fair Trade in India and what they think about the consumption of Fair Trade Products.
Buy Fair Trade Products, Be an Agent for Change
Mr. Neil Bryan
Retd. Naval Officer and Fair Trade volunteer with The Ants Craft Trust, Bangalore
I started working as a volunteer with The Ants Craft Trust in 2010 initially teaching English and Customer Relations to the staff. As time progressed I assisted in various areas as needed such as HR, Marketing and helping manage the Café at The Ants. During my volunteer work at The Ants I have been an active advocate for Fair Trade through participating in educating the younger Indian generation during the ‘Fair Trade Awareness Program’. I did this through team presentations to students at colleges and tertiary campuses. My advocacy continues during my visits back to Australia where I spread the word about the work that The Ants and other Fair Trade organisations are doing to make a difference to the lives of the under privileged. At the Ants shop in Bangalore, I interact with the customers answering their questions on our Fair Trade products and how by buying Fair Trade products they are contributing to a great cause.
My favourite Fair Trade products are clothing and home accessories these I normally purchase at The Ants Store. Other Fair Trade products I have purchased are honey from Last Forest and women’s’ clothing from Aagor Dagra Afad, Assam. I have also built up a good working relationship with fellow Indian Fair Traders mainly through attending workshops where the networking has been helpful in our communications.
I see a bright future ahead for the Fair Trade movement both globally and in the domestic Indian market. Buyers in the West are very aware about Fair Trade and a majority will actively seek out a Fair Trade shop they are aware of in their area. Indian consumers are now getting more affluent and also want to participate in ‘feel good’ causes. This will take a little longer due to the sheer population numbers who are still under the poverty line. In my opinion the best way to reach out to our consumers is through a concentrated education program pitched at the different levels of potential customers. That is, we would pitch a presentation to a younger audience different to say faces to face with an older customer in the store. We also need to build up a data base on all the demographics of our customers such as age, area, employment and awareness of Fair Trade.
Bagisha Suman, PhD Scholar, JNU
“Getting the opportunity to do a PhD in Fair Trade is proving to be very insightful yet challenging. Challenging because in India, it’s yet to make a strong mark on the masses and insightful because this ‘silent movement’ can prove to be the solution to achieve a brighter and better India. Anyway I am yet to prove my hypothesis, but this I can truly share, that Fair Trade is a movement led by passionate people from different walks of life working for the last man in the row. Making India grow from its roots. My experience with Fair Trade has been an amazing journey. Being associated with FTF-I and interacting with various Fair Trade producers, farmers and social entrepreneurs, the learning has been wide and varied.
I am glad that I got the opportunity to explore the Fair Trade sector with help from FTF-I. I hope through my thesis I would be able to contribute something new to the movement.”
Mr. Vittorio Leproux, Project Manager, Fair Trade and International Development Expert
“(…) Fair Trade organizations have to be able to keep their role of pioneers of an alternative economy while opening road to lack newcomers. In India, I said before, I trust great possibilities could be explored but it will be important to find or strengthen alliances within Indian Civil Society (ex. with Organic Movement) to have a louder voice. I believe FTF-I can reach better to the consumers by connecting it with a Fair lifestyle and with what’s happening around the globe. This, together with improvement in distribution, communication, guarantee and alliance, is a key factor.”
“Getting to involve with Fair Trade in a deep level showed me a new side of India that I was not familiar with. It is really encouraging and admirable to see how many social enterprises, NGO’s and companies are working towards providing better livelihoods at the grassroots level and, at the same time, creating high quality products that compete in the conventional market. It’s upon us to help this concept spread and grow, generating impact at different levels, from mindsets to livelihoods.”
Mr Arghya Ghosh, Professional Designer from Kolkata, Fair Trade Consumer
I am a Fair Trade consumer who has been buying Fair Trade products for the last 23 years from Sasha shop, Kolkata. Their careful selection of products that supports small producers ( sometime vulnerable) from across India, their story of various practices including crafts, the region and origins and the spacious display with a friendly, helpful and informed shop assistants are rare in Kolkata.
The Rasa spices are my favourite products from Sasha. This wonderful initiative of Sasha has paid tribute to the flavour of the local region and has very successfully blended to fit the taste buds of the global audience. I will always go back to Sasha for stocking my Rasa spices that I often use for gifting.
“I try to spread the message of Fair Trade in my community by encouraging community members to purchase products and gifts that are Fairly Traded. I have received encouraging responses in my community. I have suggested and have escorted members from my community, which includes friends, relatives and neighbours to the Sasha shop. Since their first visit, they have become regular to the shop.
I think Sasha shop can promote the concept of Fair Trade better in the domestic market by telling stories that help consumers to connect and are more relevant in daily lives.
I wish to be more pro active in using Fairly Traded products. I would also like to encourage people around me to do the same and I will aspire to achieve this by informing people about the benefit of it. I would like to see how effective Fair Trade can be made popular as a mass movement.”