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Another gift giving season is upon us and it’s time to decide on a shopping strategy. In one ear you’re encouraged to shop locally, in the other ear you hear about the benefits of choosing Fair Trade gifts. So now it’s time to decide…buy local or Fair Trade?

It’s important to note that choosing Fair Trade products can actually help your local merchants survive in this sluggish economy. Prices for cheap imports made in sweatshop factories outside of the US are usually so low that local merchants have difficulty competing on price. So during a time when consumers are looking to cut costs wherever possible, cheap knock offs made in sweatshops often outsell locally made products, even though the quality is drastically lower.

Back to the question at hand…which strategy is best, and is one better than the other? To answer a question with a question, who says you have to choose? The Buy Local and Fair Trade movements both have their benefits and share similar values.
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Posted on: December 1, 2008

Filed under: Fair Trade News & Views

2 Responses to “FAIR TRADE VS. BUY LOCAL DEBATE: An Ethical Shopper’s Dilemma”

  • Scott James

    Totally agree, Tex. We do not have to choose. I’m a raving fan of Go Local, but at the same time I run a certified Fair Trade sports ball company. I don’t find those to be mutually exclusive since there are no domestic producers of soccer balls, footballs, etc (and there have not been any for decades).

    Every time we have a new retailer in North America sign up to carry our eco-certified Fair Trade product line, it makes me smile because that is one more community that can get our products locally, supporting a locally-owned business.

    So we can Go Local and support Fair Trade with our citizen voices and consumer dollars at the same time!

  • Chad

    Thank you for this article. I sell fair trade items from Thai village cooperatives. I’ve seen people choose their local stores selling goods from China in the name of buying local. While ‘imports’ are viewed as not being local. I have to remind people that ‘I am a local’. ‘A local importer selling fair trade items that support indigenous people in S.E. Asia’.
    So we can Go Local and support Fair Trade with our citizen voices and consumer dollars at the same time!

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