There’s nothing like a posse of people passionate about their cause. Not many of us go to work each day committed to what we do for a living. Tonight I enjoyed cheese and wine as a guest of the executive committee of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ). I was invigorated and refreshed to be surrounded by business people passionate about their day job.
Fair Trade is all about business – ethical business. Fair Trade ensures that suppliers are treated well and fairly paid for the products and services they provide. It is business – not charity, and this is what really appeals to me. By focusing on ethical business you have a model that helps move people out of poverty, that is self sustaining and empowering. I have been a member of FTAANZ for some time, and have spoken with many people who sell Fair Trade products. I have a keen interest in the work that the FTAANZ do and was interested in learning more, so when I received the invitation to come and meet the executive committee over wine and cheese I thought; why not?
What I met was a warm welcome, hosted by the gorgeous Better World Arts store in Bronte. Surrounded by the beautiful colours and designs of the Better World Arts pieces, it was great to meet in person the team that is working together to bring Fair Trade products to the Australian market, collaborating whilst working side by side in friendly competition.
|My cushion cover from Better World Arts|
Fair Trade business people stand out in their willingness to work together for their common cause. Cheryl Kernot, Chair of FTAANZ, spoke about her pleasure working with a team so committed to the Fair Trade movement. Certainly I felt this commitment from the executive team there this evening including Robert Roberts of Fair Go Trading based out of Perth, and Shannon Sheedy of The Dharma Door, whose products I absolutely love.
|Baskets from The Dharma Door|
It was great to connect with people who had come from some distance to be there, Karen Mapusa had flown in from Samoa where she works for Women in Business Development. We had some interesting conversations about elephant dung with John Anderson from Import Ants. Rosemary Frank from Afri Beads inspired me with her story of how she started her business part time, and is now a thriving full time business.
It’s amazing how far a bit of passion can take you. We may not all be about to give up our day job, but maybe, just maybe, if we consider Fair Trade options whilst out there shopping, we can let a little of their passion seep in.