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When Did This Whole Fair Trade Thing Start?

June 28, 2010


Many of the products that we feature in our HHR assortments are considered Fair Trade products. It’s a term that is used increasingly more often as social responsibility takes a bigger stance in business. It hasn’t obviously been around for forever, so how did it all get started?

Most attribute the start in the United States shortly after World War II. Edna Ruth Bylor is credited with initiating the movement, traveling from the Mennonite community she volunteered in to Puerto Rico buying hand-sewn linens from women who were living in poverty. Over time, Bylor went from selling the hand made needle work from the back of her car to selling at an event in Switzerland to opening up a shop. This shop is something today known as 10,000 Villages.

Overseas at this time? OXFAM was started around the same time in Europe, helping to relieve hunger of individuals deemed refugees as a result of the war. This movement eventually spread and is now active in many countries throughout the world.

There is more information here about the detailed history of Fair Trade and even a good timeline of events in the world of Fair Trade progress.

What ways have Fair Trade products affected your buying decisions?

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 1, 2010 2:31 pm

    What an interesting approach to learning more about Fair Trade! Too often it seems as though the term “Fair Trade” is used without a real definition and/or understanding. This historical context really helps to put the whole movement and being a social conscious consumer in perspective.

    At Global Goods Partners, we certainly partake in Fair Trade to empower women in developping countries so that they may no longer be in poverty. At the same time, we hope to promote social justice with each and every product.

    Please visit our website for more information:
    Check out our blog:
    and Follow us on Twitter @GlobalGoods

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