Posts with Category Engaged Consumer

Where are your socks made?

I was contacted by a sock company that sells groovy socks.  The socks were colorful and bold. They made a statement, and for every pair that they sold they gave money to a charity, which supports entrepreneurs.

Here’s what they wrote:

Kelsey, Love your mission. You are an inspiration. I have some rad socks for you. I’m the co-founder of XXX – a sustainable social enterprise that makes socks that (insert cause here).

So I picked out my favorite pair and sent them my address because, “hey! Free socks!”  But I ended my response with a simple question that has gotten me in a lot of trouble…

“Where are they made?”

That was two months ago.  I never received a response or socks.  Maybe they could’ve just forgotten to reply or send…

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#BeFair: Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Since I’m eating Fair Trade chocolate today for lunch and nothing else, I have a question for you:

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Leave your answer to be entered to win this bag of Fair Trade goods. After you leave a comment take the BeFair Survey.

Happy last day of Fair Trade month and Happy Halloween!

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#BeFair: Fair Trade vs. Fairtrade

Did you know there were two fair trade organizations? Answer with a YES or NO in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a Fair Trade gift bag.

Huh? There are two fair trade certifications?

Yes, there are. As of 2011 Fair Trade USA, formerly known as Transfair, and Fairtrade International parted ways.

Who has a bigger and better impact? Fair Trade wonks can argue about this all day. From my view, their goal is the same: improve the lives of farmers. They both set minimum prices for farmers and pay social premiums back to farmers. These two points set them above all other certifications in my opinion.

The trick with any certification is that the stricter the environmental and social standards, the fewer farmers and laborers who benefit from the standards….

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#BeFair: Is McDonald’s coffee more ethical than Starbucks?

Have you heard of the Fair Trade, C.A.F.E. Practices, Utz, or Rainforest Alliance certifications? Leave a comment listing the certs that you’ve heard of and you’ll be entered to win a Fair Trade gift bag.

In Where Am I Eating? I mention a major fast food chain that buys a lot of Fair Trade coffee, but couldn’t reveal what chain. Now I can.

It was McDonald’s! Surprised?

Here’s how the section should read now:

You already support fair trade more than you know. Two separate sources confirmed that McDonald’s buys 30 percent of their coffee certified Fair Trade. That’s 22 percent more than Starbucks. Yet here’s the problem: no one knows this or can talk about it publicly because the company is worried that…

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#BeFair: Ending Fair Trade Month with a bang!

October is Fair Trade Month. I know it’s sort of late to be noting this, given that there is only one week of the month left. Better late than never, I guess.

I want Fair Trade month to go out with a bang and will be writing a series of #BeFair posts, starting with the one you are reading right now. If you leave a comment on any of these posts, you’ll be entered to win a shiny environmentally-friendly, socially-conscious gift bag. The winner will be randomly selected on Halloween and will win this…

This gift bag is awesome, but pales in comparison to the absolutely gi-freaking-normous grand prize that Fair Trade USA is giving away (both…

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My Cover Story in the CS Monitor

The line between exploitation and opportunity in our global economy is blurry.

This blurred line is at the heart of my recent cover story in the CS Monitor. I feel that the feature is one of my most important works to date, bridging my travels and research from my first book WEARING and my latest book EATING.

I felt compelled to write the main story as I followed the tragedy of the recent collapsed factory in Bangladesh that killed 1,129 garment workers.

Here’s how Monitor Editor, John Yemma, introduced the feature:

“Kelsey’s reporting is not designed to steer you away from these items but to help you appreciate the human lives behind them.”

Read the main story, “Follow the…

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Texas State Students produce “Where Am I Wearing?” documentaries

In 2012 Texas State freshmen read WEARING as part of their Common Experience — A Global Odyssey: Exploring Our Connections to the Changing World.

Dr. Salwa Khan with the School of Journalism & Mass Communication, had her students produce WEARING-themed segments. The segments explore if students think about where their clothes are made, how Texas State sources their athletic uniforms, feature University of Texas students who fought to get their university to sign on with the Worker Rights Consortium, and feature an interview with local clothing designer.

What I really enjoyed about each segment is that they took this global issue and talked about how it impacted their lives as locals.

Here are the the titles and credits for…

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Walmart, 112 Dead Bangaldeshis, And You

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(My friends at the Fantasy Kingdom amusement park located near the site of the factory that burned on Sunday in Ashulia, Bangladesh, killing 112 workers.)

They stood at the windows of the building, 100-feet above the ground, skin boiling. Fire behind and nothing ahead.

There was no choice.

Was it more courageous to stay and burn or to jump? It takes about two-and-a-half seconds for a person to fall 100 feet. That’s two-and-a-half seconds of air cooling enflamed skin, two-and-a-half-seconds of relief before the end.

One of the advantages — and there are few — of jumping was that your family could identify your body. Eight workers jumped. Workers on the ground thought they were bails of clothing being thrown out the windows,…

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Wear a shirt that changes lives


ORDER ONE OF THESE COOL SHIRTS NOW

The good folks at Forgotten Shirts have designed two “Where Am I Wearing?” inspired T-shirts. I’m a huge fan of Forgotten shirts. The shirts are sewn from Fair Trade cotton in Uganda where they provide opportunities to people who could use some. And then they are shipped to Minneapolis where 50 teenagers from poor neighborhoods work part-time to screen print the shirts and participate in a tutoring program.

From Uganda to Minnesota, Forgotten Shirts give opportunities to folks facing poverty. You can’t get more glocal than that. During a time when so many of us have forgotten about the lives of the people who make our stuff, Forgotten…

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