“Every business transaction is a challenge to see that both parties come out fairly.”
– Adam Smith, 1759
We can make a difference by taking our sense of taste and social responsibility to the office each morning.
Small businesses have substantial influence in their community, and when they adopt practices like supporting Fair Trade that advance the quality of life for their patrons, communities, and the environment, it makes a huge difference.
Here are a few suggestions for adding Fair Trade in your workplace, starting around the coffee station:
- Ensure that your office coffee machine is brewing Fair Trade coffee. Also, encourage your employer to supply Fair Trade cocoa and tea, as well as Fair Trade chocolates as a snack during meetings or as an employee reward.
- Post signs in the office break room or kitchen, preferably above the coffee maker, letting your coworkers know that the beverages they are drinking are supporting small-scale farmers.
- Many organizations working on Fair Trade provide fact sheets and resources on their website. You can order informational materials or download them from organizations such as the Fair Trade Resource Network or Transfair USA. Several offer material you can print out and give to coworkers (maybe with a piece of Fair Trade chocolate as an incentive).
- Use your company newsletter or blog to promote Fair Trade.
- Ask for corporate donations to Fair Trade organizations.
- Ask the businesses you support during the workweek to sell Fair Trade products. Don’t be intimidated; business owners really do value consumer feedback.
- Let your local merchants know you value the Fair Trade items they sell, and ask them to stock any you’d like to purchase.
- Encourage your business to advocate for making your town a “Fair Trade Town” — a community that makes a commitment to supporting Fair Trade. Lead the way!
- Exchange Fair Trade gifts with coworkers during the holidays.
- Give the gift of Fair Trade to clients: Global Exchange, for example, has a Corporate Gift Program allowing you to buy socially conscious Fair Trade gifts.
The Fair Trade Certified™ label helps your office make better choices, with the assurance that the merchandise purchased is socially and environmentally conscious. As we become more aware of opportunities to use our influence in the marketplace, Fair Trade provides a path for both individuals and businesses to vote with their dollars and become a real force for good.