by Ian Brown, Fairtrade Canada. Image shows coffee farmers in a plant nursery in Mexico. © CLAC
Today is the United Nations World Day of Social Justice, with a theme this year of “Closing the Inequalities Gap to Achieve Social Justice”.
Fairtrade works hard to reduce inequalities in many areas, including:
- The power disproportions which are part of international trade, which can leave small farmers and agricultural workers in the Global South unable to earn a sustainable income.
- Gender imbalances on farms and in workplaces, which can marginalize women.
- The impacts of climate change, which can unfairly affect those in countries with the lowest emissions, making crop growing and harvesting unreliable.
- The use of child and forced labour in supply chains, which harms many communities.
We know there is much work left to be done to fully achieve social justice, and we are inspired by the work our fair trade community does in other parts of their lives. Here is a look at what social justice means to some of our members.
"For me, social justice is an ever-evolving and living thing. It’s about constantly being open to learning about how I can be a better ally. And it’s not something that stops when I leave work; this work follows me in everything I do and informs the choices I make every day." - Gabriela Warrior Renaud, Fairtrade Canada’s Content Manager
"Social justice to me, means that each of us, no matter where we live in the world, has equal access to the basic needs and wants of life; health care, education, healthy food, clothing, decent work and somewhere to call home. Achieving this for everyone on earth, done in balance with our natural world, needs to be the world that each of us strives to create and support, through everything that we do, as we’ll only achieve such lofty goals together." - Sean McHugh, Executive Director, Canadian Fair Trade Network
"As living beings, humans and all other animal species cohabit this planet together with a shared desire to live in peace and happiness. For me, social justice is about working towards a world where prosperity and sustainability is the norm, and where we ensure that all beings enjoy the basic luxuries of being happy, healthy, loved, and free." - Rob Desson, Account Manager at Fairtrade Canada
"Social justice means to me, fighting for everyone’s rights by means of groups of people coming together to fight alongside to push and persuade governments or businesses to treat others how they would like to be treated. Social justice can be as simple as picking and choosing which products and services you support to helping persuade elected officials to change policies." - Emanuel Lukawiecki, Fair Trade Advocate
"As a new citizen of Canada, it is clear to me that fairness and equal opportunity are concepts that Canadians fully embrace. World day of Social Justice is an opportunity to reflect on these two principals, and ensure that as global citizens we also make purchase decisions that reflect fairness and equal opportunity for those who grow the commodities we consume including our coffee, tea, chocolate and bananas." - John Marron, Fairtrade Canada’s Director of Commercial Relations