Thursday, March 17, 2011

Investigating Fair Trade through Global Exchange

Through my "Ethics, Methods, and Pragmatics of Global Practice Course," which I am taking this semester in preparation for my experience as a Nest Fellow, I have been conducting a number of "Methods Workshops" to practice skills and techniques that I may use this summer in Guatemala, such as taking fieldnotes, interviewing, conducting surveys, and visual documentation. For these workshops, I've visited Global Exchange, a Fair Trade store in downtown Berkeley, to explore the relationship between the store, its customers, and its employees, and to investigate the extent to which the customers and employees identify with and/or support the ideals and principles behind the Fair Trade movement that the store is founded upon.

Through these Methods Workshops, what struck me most about Global Exchange was how much effort the store makes to fulfill its mission statement - "building people-to-people ties" - by posting signs about posters about Fair Trade around the store, including informational tags on each product detailing where, how, why and by whom it was produced, and providing informational cards, flyers, and pamphlets about the store, the Fair Trade movement, and partner organizations for customers both to look at and take home with them. As you can see in the pictures below, to me, all of these initiatives demonstrate Global Exchange's dedication not just to providing access to Fair Trade goods but also to inform its clientele about the Fair Trade movement and the developing world, and to help connect consumers to the products they are purchasing and the producers who made them.

Posters on the front window present information about Global Exchange's support of World Fair Trade Day, held the second Saturday of May. In 2011, for the second year, Global Exchange will offer a "Fair Trade Coffee Break" to customers and passersby, by distributing Fair Trade coffee and chocolate as well as information about Fair Trade at tables outside of the store.

Before entering the store, customers are greeted by a
hand-written sign, explaining the store's mission statement
and its connection with Fair Trade.

Nearby (or attached to) each product is an informational tag, with details
such as how and why the product was made, where the product comes from,
and who the producers of the product are.

A stack of information cards accompanies many of the products sold at
Global Exchange, that customers can take home to share with their friends and family
or to remember important details about their favorite products.

1 comment:

  1. Great layout and interesting topic. I posted this on my favorites.