Fair Trade is a Revolution

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's

“A bond with customers based on shared values is the strongest bond you’ll ever make,” stressed Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s and currently working with Stamp Stampede, a venture dedicated to getting the money out of politics.

Sitting in the room with over 280 other fair traders at the Fair Trade Federation Conference in Burlington, Vermont last week, I almost stood up and shouted “AMEN.”

Renee Bowers, Fair Trade Federation Executive Director, opened that morning sessions reminding us that “as fair traders, we work to give voice” to those who otherwise would not have as loud of a voice in the world.

But we don’t do it alone.

And in this week where we celebrate World Fair Trade Day, I want to say thank you to our customers who are using their economic dollar to vote for the change they wish to see in the world.

I want to thank you for being equally passionate about how the beauty of fairly traded hand knotted rugs can transform the artisan’s life who crafted it, not only the appearance of your living room.

I want to thank you for listening as we tell of people we know well, Pakistani artisans like Arshad, Parveen and Razia, and listening for how you can enter into their lives to both become their friends from afar and help level uneven global trade arrangements.

I want to thank you for telling your friends about why you chose a Bunyaad rug, about why you chose a piece that represents justice and equality for all.

Fair trade is a trade revolution. It’s people putting people before profits and justice over greed.

All of us here at Bunyaad reflect upon the many friends we have made across North America, at year-round fair trade rug stores and Bunyaad rug events, through the common bond of our passion for fair trade. We value these friendships both on a personal level and on a larger “change-the-world” level.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples,” Mother Theresa.

Know that we value the bond we have with you who share our belief in peace, justice and economic equality for all. We are so thankful we see not ripples but instead waves of change.

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