Choosing to focus on fair trade and support local business is s a great way to be an ethical shopper! Here are 3 ideas to help.

woman sorting cocoa beans

Do you ever think about how far your coffee has travelled? Who grew the bananas you put in that banana bread? If you’ve sipped Kicking Horse coffee, savoured Camino chocolate, or shopped Me 2 We, you’re engaged with Canadian companies that strive for a more equitable world.

Many small businesses rely on international suppliers for essential ingredients that don’t grow here in Canada. In the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve seen firsthand how we spend impacts on small businesses and the global economy.

Thinking globally and acting locally has never felt more important to me, and supporting local businesses that sell Fair Trade is an impactful way to make a difference.

1. Find Socially Responsible Businesses, Locally

Choosing to shop local is a direct support to your community. However, although business is local, it is not necessarily ethical.

Watch for businesses that walk the talk, like Bridgehead Coffee in Ottawa which is donating coffee to COVID-19 frontline healthcare workers AND sells fairtrade certified coffee, tea, sugar and chocolate.

two people picking fruit

By connecting with a local business that is community-minded and supports Fair Trade, you’re choosing a more equitable path. Fair Trade Canada sums it up well: “Today’s global market enables -often encourages- compromise at the expense of farmers, workers and fishermen. People stand with us to demand higher standards for everyone.”

RELATED POST: 10 Ways To Support The Small Eco Businesses You Love Right Now

2. Learn & Share About Fair Trade

May is Fair Trade Month, so a great time to learn about the benefits of worldwide Fair Trade. Did you know that fair trade practices not only help workers and their communities but also mitigate climate change? Environmentally friendly practices that are involved with Fair Trade Certification include reforestation projects, wildlife conservation, using green energy fuels, and the efficient use of water. You can find out more through this video, or the Fairtrade Canada website.

a am sorting cocoa beans

Follow @fairtradecanada and share what you learn with the hashtag #4people4planet!

3. Buy Fair Trade

The fair trade label remains accessible both in small businesses and in many aisles of the supermarket. I suggest starting with something you consume regularly or a lot of: for example, coffee! 48% of all Fair Trade farmers produce coffee, but goods including wine, cotton, juice, nuts, seeds, and cocoa are also sold as Fair Trade.

• Click here for a guide to fair trade businesses in Canada
• Watch for the Fair Trade Canada logo wherever you shop
• Create a community: Invite a friend, neighbour or coworker to add to your online or pick-up order
• Make it social: Invite friends to a virtual ‘coffee break’ where everyone brews their own Fairtrade coffee at home!

Stronger Together
Buying fair trade makes a significant difference in the working and living conditions for producers in the Global South, and these are people who supply us with essential ingredients and do so in a way that mitigates climate change.

Let’s all spend with a better world in mind- both at home and around the globe.


3 Ways To Focus On Fair Trade And Support Local Business


Candice Batista

Candice Batista is an award winning Environmental Journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets, where she has used her background in environmental studies and media & communications to produce and report on various environmental and climate issues for primarily television and digital audiences including Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, The Weather Network, CityTV, Rogers Television, The Pet Network, iChannel, and CTV, where she is currently the National Eco Expert for the stations number 1 daytime talk show, The Marilyn Denis Show.
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