If you haven’t found out already (spoiler alert!), it’s finally FAIR TRADE WEEK: the most wonderful time of the year at Duquesne! Amidst the regular crowd in the Union Atrium there are a plethora tables filled with vibrantly colored items ranging from bags and scarves to jewelry and artisans. It’s almost as if you had stumbled into Santa’s workshop, only all of the items you see here are entirely fair trade. Almost like Santa’s workshop, you can tell there is a strong sense of camaraderie between all the different vendors; each one committed to the cause of spreading fair trade products. Each person is genuinely interested in the other’s items and the stories behind them. The excitement and adoration behind each uniquely beautiful product is infectious. So if you get caught up in the maze that is the 2nd floor of the Union today and something happens to catch your eye, don’t be afraid to ask. Anyone will be more than happy to explain the story behind the paisley printed scarf or the brilliantly red candle set.
Interested in participating in Fair Trade Week events at Duquesne????
Check out all of the events for the week here: http://www.duq.edu/campus-ministry/_pdf/fair-trade.pdf
You DON’T WANT TO MISS the FREE coffee and chocolate tastings, local vendors featuring Fair Trade handicrafts and goods, fashion show, fair food reception, or presentation on teh Fair Trade Coffee industry!
Did I mention that all of these events are FREE?????!!!
*All events at sponsored by Spiritan Campus Ministry in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and on-campus and community partners
A Discussion with Dr. John Mawhinney, Supply Chain Management Professor at Duquesne University
The possibility of sustainability with Fair Trade is highly debated; do farmers in alarmingly poor and oppressed areas have a viable ability to compete in the larger, global economy, and are these impoverished workers able to overcome the lack of opportunity of their economic misfortune and maintain a status in the market without falling below the line of competition?
Professor Mawhinney offered that achieving and maintaining a competitive status in the global market has a dependence on infrastructure, as well as some of the following thoughts: current Fair Trade organizations help to create support and opportunity for farmers and workers in developing countries that have otherwise not existed for them, such as assisting the workers with gaining credit to grow their business to educating them on how to account for their revenues and expenses (FairTradeUSA.com). However, though the help provided by these organizations actually create a supporting framework for these workers to break into the market, it is not the only support necessary to sustain development. One of the impediments of sustainable development in these areas is that their infrastructure may disagree with enlargement and competitiveness. In order have a hand in the market where large companies benefit from economies of scale, expansion and increased production may be necessary for these smaller workers to sell their products at competitive prices, which causes questions of Fair Trade’s encouragement to maintain small, family owned farms and if those farms can be competitive. Even with a consumer willingness to pay a higher price for Fair Trade goods, infrastructure changes may be necessary (among other improvements) to enable Fair Trade farmers to sell their goods at reasonable prices while covering their costs and making a livable wage. Since many of these areas have such limited infrastructure, such as little to no advanced transportation options, lack of ports and distribution facilities, sustainability is heavily challenged without global transport company participation. Additionally, consideration of Fair Trade’s structure and the existing infrastructure of these developing countries economic and transportation arrangements could reinforce stronger sustainable possibilities for Fair Trade workers.
Join us for an evening of music, poetry and Fair Trade Coffee.
Bring yourself, Bring a Friend!
“Come Hear our Stories”
Fair Trade Coffee House Open Mic
Starbucks, Student Union
If you are interested in participating in the open mic, Contact Kate Lecci at firstname.lastname@example.org
Event sponsored by Spiritan Campus Ministry in collaboration with Duquesne Students for Fair Trade and on-campus Partners
Me? Well, I’m just a regular ol’ cup a joe. You know, the good stuff. That aromatic, steamy miracle that gets you through your day. I’m always there for you. There when you maybe stayed up all night cramming for some exam, or maybe just refused to go to bed despite the fact that you had an 8 a.m. class. So why am I any different from that coffee you had this morning? I am different for one very important reason. I’m Fair Trade. I was picked by one of 32 women in the Cooperative Multisectoral Mujeres del Norte, an all-female cooperative that is working to create better conditions in Nicaragua. These women are for once able to send their children to school, to buy clothes, and to have a taste of what hard work and equality can foster. All thanks to you. Think you aren’t making any kind of a difference? Think again. Learn more at http://crs.org/nicaragua/women-coffee-coop/.
According to FairTradeUSA.org, Fair Trade is a way of helping workers in developing companies contribute to their communities by using the free market to actively participate in business in a sustainable way. A recurring theme with research in Fair Trade is that it is not charity; but rather, according to Peter Hulm’s interview entitled ‘Fair Trade as a Business Model’ with Paola Ghillani (a former head of a Swiss Fair Trade organization), Fair Trade should be viewed as just that: a business model.
Because the nature of Fair Trade, its successes are celebrated when it is viewed as a business strategy rather than a charitable choice. In order for sustainable development, Fair Trade must be maintained as a business decision, and not an occasionally supported as an altruistic contribution. In fact, Fair Trade, according to the Hulm article, is about paying a fair price for products that will cover production and labor in a way that can sustain production and maintain the workers or farmers who are offering the product.
Because of this, business ought to educate on Fair Trade initiatives and strategies; after all, sustainability is an invaluable part of business, and the sustainability possibilities of Fair Trade should be considered so business is knowledgeable about the diverse possibilities of Fair Trade.
Hulm, Peter. (2006). ‘Fair Trade as a Business Model.’ ProQuest.
‘What is Fair Trade?’ FairTradeUSA.org. 2010.