Means&Matters
Stories of Money and sustainability

Fair Trade: Business Has to Be About People and Planet as Well as Profit

BY Nathan Beers Writer Bank of the West

Aug 24th 2020

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For Mary Hedahl, helping lead Fair Trade USA is the culmination of 20 years of fighting for human rights and social justice.

She believes protecting the planet includes fair pay for farmers, fishermen, and factory workers for products grown or made according to fair trade standards for social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

“I think it’s really important for businesses to know how their money is being invested.” The Fair Trade Certified label can be found on a wide range of products, from coffee, to fruits and vegetables, to seafood, to apparel, and even furniture.

Since starting in 1998, according to Fair Trade USA, the organization's impact includes:

 

950k+ Over 950,000 farmers and workers in 45 countries have benefited from Fair Trade certification
80k+ Over 80,000 factory workers have gained better, safer working conditions
$610m $610 million has been earned by farmers and workers

“Business has to be about people and planet as well as profit,” says Hedahl, who prior to Fair Trade USA held leadership positions with the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As a mission-driven organization, Fair Trade USA partners with companies who share its values.

“I think it’s really important for businesses to know how their money is being invested.”

“I think it’s really important for businesses to know how their money is being invested because we all have a vested interest in making sure that it isn’t supporting environmental damage,” says Hedahl.

Learn more about sustainable banking.

Learn more about Bank of the West’s actions on sustainability and diversity here.

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