Exploring Synergies between SDGs and Fair Trade

Free and Inclusive Trade, Sustainable Development and Practices, Social Solidarity Economy, and Gender Equality, do these words ring a bell? Yes, you must have read a great deal about them in everyday’s headlines. Everyone from a child to a world leader is discussing and debating about them. The world is shifting its focus on these issues and the pacts and resolutions second the statement. Whether it is UN SDGs or the Paris climate accord and so on, every pact is aimed to promote Sustainable Development. The Policy Makers, World Leaders, Diplomats, Academicians and Civil Society Members are thinking of new and innovative ways to drive the world populace towards the Sustainable society as a whole. Today countries like Russia and china are talking about free and inclusive trade practices in accord with Sustainable Development. But the million Dollar question is- Has this shift arrived at the correct time? Are these remedial steps enough? The time will be the best judge about it. A few visionary European leaders realized this problem in late 1800 and started a customer driven movement called Fair Trade. Fair Trade is a market led solution to poverty which aims to use trade, not aid, to improve livelihoods of disadvantaged farmers and artisans to promote sustainability. Fair Trade is a pro-poor movement with every guiding principle of it contributing towards the sustainable development.

SDG 1: No Poverty – 4 out of the 10 FT principles are contributing to this goal. The FTOs and practitioners believe in creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged and providing Capacity building. The FTOs not only create opportunities but also train the needy and disadvantaged from scratch and provide them with good working conditions and fair wages. The FTOs provide their employees and their families with all basic requirements like education and health care facilities at affordable prices etc. One such FT organization is Jaipur Rugs which started with two looms, 9 artisans and one extra ordinary vision and has grown to a network of 40,000 artisans spread across 5 states and with clientele from across 40 countries. Mr. Nand Kishore chaudhary also known as NKC has spearheaded this organization’s successful journey with a simple idea of responsible manufacturing which today has generated mass employment and has transformed many villages in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Jharkhand. Jaipur Rugs has not only given a platform to the economically disadvantaged people but also connected them to the global markets. It has brought these isolated villages on the global map and connected them to the digital world. Whether it was the villagers of Rajasthan or the tribals of Gujarat, everyone was given more than just employment. They were given dignity and purpose to live a prosperous and honourable life. Jaipur Rugs currently touches 10,000+ lives every day, which is a great contribution to the SDG 1: No poverty. This is just one organization. There are many more in this network which have potential to make social solidarity economy a successful reality. Next month check out this space for yet another organization,s story which has transformed thousands of lives.

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