I’ve been a little snowed under…sorry for the wait! Last weekend we launched the Emma Watson People Tree Fair Trade fashion collaboration in Tokyo at the British Embassy.
30 or more journalists joined the press conference with us and four university Fair Trade groups to launch the Emma Watson People Tree collaboration and talk about awareness raising events around Japan to promote Fair Trade and sustainable fashion.
“Reasonably priced and dead cute and wearable and what you need to support the argument that Fairtrade fashion is a real alternative to fast fashion”.
Then we broke for a cup of Fair Trade and organic tea and cup cakes, before a heavy debate in the First Secretary’s home about the obstacles that need to be faced to mainstream Fair Trade in Japan and make it as wide spread as the UK.
The Ambassador David Warren joined us, with key opinion leaders, media movers and shakers, academics and government people. Everyone in the room wanted to see Fair Trade and a new economic model succeed – “the present financial and environmental crisis and increasing gaps between rich and poor is indeed the pursuit of profit at whatever the cost and shortermism” said Mr Sueyoshi UNEP Ambassador and Business TV presenter.
Despite being a Developed Country Japan has a very low awareness of Fair Trade and therefore a very small Fair Trade market compared to other developed countries. On March 1st People Tree organised a meeting with key people from Industry, Academia, Media and Government came together at the British Embassy to discuss ways to build a strong movement of Fair Trade.
Every business should be aware that they are responsible for human rights and environment in the production of their products and operations:
- Acknowledgement of the best practice of conventional and social business to promote better business practice learning’s and greater transparency and accountability.
- Promote Fair Trade products and use the principles of Fair Trade, not only as CSR, but throughout their own procurement/sourcing of products.
- Importers and retailers should sell Fair Trade products.
- Manufacturers should build a supply chain which reflects Fair Trade Standards and work with government to share ideas for best practice.
- Use Fair Trade products for equipment, drinks or uniforms for internal use.
- Educate all stakeholders such as employees, trading partners and customers about Fair Trade – including visits of buyers to the field to learn about how to change their operations and terms of trade to support producers, environmental protection and reduce the risk of exploitation.
- Stop promoting the consumption of cheap, disposable products and give more information about negative effects on the environment and people in developing countries.
- Promote how Fair Trade and social business promotes poverty alleviation and sustainability.
- Acknowledgement of best practice amongst conventional businesses and social business as has become common place in Europe and the US – Awards, special media coverage, etc.
- Share the vision that alleviating poverty and environmental destruction is our responsibility and how it contributes to our national interests. Government should fund, strengthen and promote Fair Trade amongst business end civil society.
- Grants should be modified to better match requirements for capacity building of producer groups in developing countries.
- Change policy from supporting mass-production, mass-consumption type of businesses to supporting social businesses including Fair Trade.
- Support promoting Fair Trade products as one of the environmental policies.
- Education policy – including awareness raising and education on Fair Trade, CSR, poverty issues and consumers responsibility. Through schools, universities and support of events run by civil society i.e. NGOs, FTOS, Fair Trade shops and student networks as in other Developed Countries.
- Use Fair Trade products for equipment, drinks or uniforms, etc.
- Support networks – i.e. promoting Fair Trade networks and networks between business, civil society to form new industry learning’s and standards – so that the Millennium Development Goals are something that is worked towards not just ‘aspired’ too.