Tuesday, September 25th, marks the 3rd anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals, set forth by the U.N. There are 17 goals that address the global challenges we face today, including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. If we are to survive and have a thriving population and planet, we need to meet these goals.
There’s a distinct limit to the economic footprint that our planet is capable of supporting. Right now we are stretching this limit beyond it’s capacity. The global economy is at an all-time high, yet many people still can’t meet their basic human needs. This is not sustainable. In fact 800 million people live in poverty around the world. We are not making progress fast enough to meet the goals.
Perhaps the most critical of all the goals is # 10: Reducing Inequalities. We must shift value to all parts of the trade chain instead of only to the top so that we can start to close the gaps in our society. We can’t achieve zero poverty if we do not tackle inequality. We can’t feed our people if the value and resources of economic activity go increasingly to the richest. We can’t fund education and health without a more equal distribution of resources.
Tackling inequality is key to reaching all 17 sustainable development goals. Right now, however, inequality is growing, driven by a system of business, finance, and trade that rewards wealth, not work. If business is increasingly obsessed with growing returns to shareholders, we will continue to have higher inequality. We must promote an alternative. Instead of a business world obsessed with maximum profits for shareholders, we could have a world that promotes people and the planet over profits.
The Fair Trade movement is uniquely poised as a proven method of business that can be viable for the company, the workers, and the planet.
Fair Trade organizations have pioneered social enterprise and are part of a larger justice movement that parallels the rise of cooperatives, B-Corps, and employee-ownership models that show we can share value and power differently.
Fair Trade Winds + Momentum has signed onto a new Global Fair Trade Charter along with the World Fair Trade Organization, Fair Trade International, & the Fair Trade Federation. As fair traders, we believe justice, equity, and sustainable development should be at the heart of trade structures. If all business incorporated and abided by the principles in the graphic below, we would be well on our way to surpassing the sustainable development goals and creating a global community that we all can be proud to call home.
This new charter marks an important step in the Fair Trade movement and provides a guide and inspiration for anyone who wishes to see a better, fairer world to follow suit.
As an individual or a business, you can express your support for this new vision of the world by signing on to the charter. Join us in creating a more fair world!