Yesterday, The Independent reported that takeaway coffee giant, Starbucks, was to begin sourcing 100 percent of its coffee fair-trade. In the past, this might have seemed a very bold move for such a large company (especially during a recession), however their move can be seen to highlight the increasing popularity of fair trade goods and the gradual social acceptance that buying fair trade benefits everyone. Christmas is fast approaching and the time for trying to come up with suitable gift ideas is already upon us. So beyond coffee and bananas, what are the best fair trade gifts currently on offer?
5. Stationery. I think it was Freud that said, ‘Deep inside us all there is a portion of our heart devoted to stationery’. Actually, he didn’t. But who can dispute the rush felt when receiving a new notebook, set of pencils, or an eraser in the shape of a stegosaurus. Thankfully, fair trade stationery has wound its way onto the market shelves, and the range of cards, notebooks, and address books is of a quality that truly beats the chain stores.
4. Toys. Giving at Christmas is what the season is all about, and when a child receives a gift they really love, their display of joy and subsequent hyperactivity is something to behold. Today, there is a wide range of fair trade kids stuff available, including traditional wooden toys, children’s instruments, as well as brightly painted money boxes, puzzles and mobiles.
3. Accessories. I admit that this is quite a vague area of gifts, ‘How about I get you an accessory for Christmas?’ But there has also been an upsurge in bits and bobs in the fair trade sector. These range from eco-friendly recycled bags made from newspaper to more durable seeming carriers made from hemp and silk. Batik and sequin purses are also proving very popular this season.
2. Homeware. Homeware is perhaps the most intriguing area of fair trade products. From cutlery carved from coconut wood and plates made from cinnamon sticks set in wood, there are many ingenious designs available for people looking for a slightly more original gift this Christmas.
1. Jewellery. The high street has been looking to the east for jewellery designs for some time now. Today you can get authentic fair trade Indian earrings in a host of traditional colours such as turquoise, onyx, and black – as well as original teardrop, lantern and coral designs. There is also a significant diversity in types of jewellery and this certainly seems to be one of the fastest growing areas of fair trade production. Alongside earrings, there are also pendants, bracelets and necklaces available in abundance.