in celebration of World Fair Trade Day.
Many of us have known for a long time that there is something devastatingly wrong with how trade works. A global pandemic and international crisis did not just happen – it’s a direct result of an unjust global economy that continues to put profits over people, creating false scarcity for countries in the Global South.
Our trade policies and practices are inequitably designed to benefit the most wealthy and powerful. Global trade exists to advance a small handful of companies and retailers who hold the power, and are free to set the terms of international trade, while small scale makers and artisans are left vulnerable to exploitation. Producers all over the world have fallen deeper and deeper into an endless cycle of poverty while large corporations report record breaking profits. This way of doing business is unacceptable and inhumane. It’s why we, at LAUDE the Label, believe in practicing fair trade principles in every aspect of our model.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the artisan sector worldwide and has further exposed the injustice of our global economy. Most of our artisans live in already underserved communities with little access to social support resources that ensure health and safety. The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political, and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic. Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for vulnerable producer communities.
When the pandemic arrived, global trade went from bad to worse. Markets closed, shipping and international logistics stopped, and orders from large retailers were canceled, leaving behind producers and artisans to suffer the most. The pandemic has demonstrated that the destruction of nature, deforestation and the climate and health crisis are all interrelated and share the exploitation of people and planet as a common root cause.
The pandemic has demonstrated that the destruction of nature, deforestation and the climate and health crisis are all interrelated and share the exploitation of people and planet as a common root cause.
As we move forward to “build back fairer,” I can’t help but think of the words of Sonya Renee Taylor —
“We will not go back to normal.
Normal never was.
Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed,
inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection,
confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack.
We should not long to return, my friends. We are being
given the opportunity to stitch a new garment.
One that fits all of humanity and nature.”