The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published some interesting statistics pertaining to the fair trade global movement.
The fair trade movement comprises over 2.5 million producers and workers from 70 countries, over 500 specialized importers, 4,000 world shops and more than 100,000 volunteers – figures that are growing, according to Mr. Corbalán.
Global sales of fair trade certified goods climbed 15% in 2018 to reach €9.8 billion ($10.9 billion), according to Fairtrade International’s annual report 2018-2019. The profits put an additional €177 million ($196 million) in the pockets of 1.7 million farmers and workers.
Mr. Corbalán cited work done with governments to ensure equitable distribution of benefits in value chains in countries such as Kenya, where efforts to promote living wages for flower workers are bearing fruit.
The fair trade movement has also helped improve incomes of cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, the working conditions of Haitian migrant workers in banana plantations in the Dominican Republic and tackled child labour in the sugar sector in Belize.
I will forever be grateful that I was introduced to the utility and beauty of hand crafted products early in life - from the symbolic motifs sewn into the coarse linen fabric of Croatian traditional wear to the colorful Kilim carpets that decorated the parquet floors in my grandmother's living room.
I treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," the smell of the flower stalls in the open air market where my grandmother bought produce early every morning for the day’s meals and the summers spent at my great grandmother's where the village wags would come to gossip over thick, black Turkish coffee in her cool stone kitchen.
Someone noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world - one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.