Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Fair Trade Three-Point Shot (or is it a Touchdown or a GOOOL?)

There are plenty of opportunities to acquire certain types of fair-trade gifts for the holidays, including arts and crafts, jewelry, coffee and chocolate and some types of clothing and footwear.  (Heck, I found a totally awesome and comprehensive listing of fair-trade merchants in the back of my fair trade calendar.  More on that later)

But what if you decided to follow the advice of health experts to promote an active lifestyle for the children and adults in your life.  So the wheels start turning and you think you might want to buy a baskeball or a soccer ball (fútbol) or a football for your loved one. 

Our tendency would be to go to the local box store or sports-equipment retailer to purchase a ball so we can shoot hoops or play a game of touch football or a soccer match with our buddies at the park.  Kickball anyone?

Still, the socially conscious part of you starts to think that fair trade, labor rights and the environment should also factor into your decision.

Can your purchases involve both sports equipment and fair trade?  For Seattle-based Fair Trade Sports, the answer is Absolutely!  

Fair Trade and Eco-Friendly
The company offers balls and apparel that is fair trade/sweatshop-free and produced in an environmentally friendly manner.  And if you're a coach and need a lot of balls, you can also purchase these items in bulk.

Here's a description from their Web site.
Fair Trade Sports, Inc is the first sports equipment company in the US to launch a full line of Eco-Certified Fair Trade sports balls, ensuring Fair Trade Certified wages and healthy working conditions for our adult workers. Be sure to also check out our sweatshop-free apparel.

We are committed to donate all profits after taxes to children’s charities, both domestic and international. Sound familiar? It’s a similar idea to the one behind the Newman’s Own brand you see in the grocery store.
And Scott James, a staff member at Fair Trade Sports, adds:
Our products are hand-stitched by adults in Pakistan, with the eco-certified rubber coming from India and Sri Lanka.
Check out this list of certifications.. Among these is Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA) and IMAC (which certifies that products are not made with child labor). 
And you might be interested in knowing that the list of certifiers includes  the international soccer federation FIFA.  (Wouldn't it be great if products from the company were used in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?)  
The company is so committed to fair trade that it offers the opportunity for dialogue via  its blog.

Reasonable Prices
Sometimes products that are fair trade are a little more expensive than similar goods found in retail stores.  This is understandable because we do want make sure that the producers get their just payment, and the company needs to make some profit to stay in business.

But you will be surprised by the products offered by Fair Trade Sports.  The items they offer are not expensive at all and are at least comparable to the costs of similar non-fair-trade items found in stores. Check out their retail and the wholesale price lists.

This seems like a great alternative during the Christmas shopping season!

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