Full text of fair trade advocate Benjamin Conard’s talk titled “Fair Trade: A Just World Starts with You” at TEDxSUNYGeneseo conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Benjamin Conard – Executive Communications Manager, Fair Trade USA
I want you all to take a moment and think about the things that you consume every single day.
Now, raise your hand and keep it raised if you’ve had one of the following today: a cup of coffee, keep them up, a cup of tea, a banana, something with sugar in it, or if you’re wearing cotton. Got y’all.
All right, you can put your hands down.
Now, I want you to raise your hand again, if and only if, you know exactly where or what country your coffee, tea, sugar, banana, or cotton came from. All right, we got one.
So, I think it’s fair to say that we’re all pretty active participants in the global economy because products, like those that I mentioned, are coming from thousands of miles away all around the world.
But I think it’s also fair to say that we’re pretty disconnected from the products we buy every day. And this wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the following weren’t true:
2 billion people in the world live on less than $2 a day, two-thirds of the world’s cocoa come from West African farmers that make less than 50 cents a day, 1.8 million children work on cocoa plantations along the Ivory Coast; they likely have never even tasted chocolate.
Labor laws in the developing world are either weak or not enforced; and that’s really what are driving these issues.