Fair Trade, Unfairly Invested

Loras is a Fair Trade college. Fair Trade involves fair prices and treatment for workers in developing countries. It works to fight poor working conditions for those who do not see the benefits of their hard work in producing goods. To be Fair Trade certified means that products are claimed to meet certain labor, environmental and developmental standards. Fair Trade promotes things like fair and safe working conditions, access to better markets, purchasing at minimum price and gender equality.

Those involved in Fair Trade practice sustainability — working for the improvement of the quality of human life that an environment can handle — and conscious consumerism, the sharing of present resources and limiting the purchase of new resources. It also takes into consideration the hidden costs behind each product. Some products that are certified as Fair Trade include: bananas, cocoa beans, rice, juice, spices and nuts.

In 2009 Loras College officially invested in becoming a certified Fair Trade college, which means it promised to offer products and education regarding Fair Trade. Within the next few years, events, products and steps to better the lives of producers around the world were taken. Purchasing a coffee through Fair Trade allows the producers to see more profit than the importers. A more direct exchange between producer and consumer creates a bridge to equality that is well deserved.

Often, the hard work behind farming and the production of clothing is overlooked, which causes blind spots that darken the understanding of the injustices facing farmers and producers. Every human being is born with rights, but not every person receives the benefits. It is the job of the consumer to ensure that where the importer falls short, every decision made by the purchaser supports a cause, whether it be good or bad. In recognizing unfair conditions placed on a victimized group (in this case the producers), steps can be made towards bettering their lives. Not everyone has a voice. Consumers have the ability to speak for those who are not heard. Through purchasing, buyers are given the opportunity to state which cause they believed in.

Students have been awaiting the opening of Einstein’s Bros. Bagels for quite some time. The excitement behind a new place to land between classes has caused the truth to hide behind the closed doors. The coffee and bagel shop does not sell Fair Trade certified products. Although it is not always possible to have a fully Fair Trade restaurant, it is an option for the store to offer some Fair Trade certified products, and this was promised in 2009 when Loras’ Fair Trade certification was signed. It is questionable whether the establishment will decide to provide some Fair Trade certified products. Loras, a Fair Trade certified college, has invested in the unknown.

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