Category Archives: Follow the Leaders in Fairtrade!

A four part series on industry leaders in Fair Trade

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

This video gets to the heart of WHY we buy what we buy. Our passion is our energy and subconsciously we are looking for connections. It is so interesting to dissect the idea of why we make the purchasing decisions that we do and why we do it. I highly recommend watching this TED video for a good weekend treat. Here are a few of the topics that I found very helpful:

  • Why? How? What? All inspired leader and companies think and communicate completely opposite from all the rest; from the INSIDE out.
  • “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it!”
  • “Talk about what you believe, because you will attract people that believe in what you believe.”
  • “The Law of Diffusion Innovation” – My belief is that an innovation, no matter how good it is, cannot be successfully adopted without social acceptance and behavioural change.
  • “There are leaders and then there are those who lead.”


Thanks for the share from

Petroleum and Butterflies…

I have been reflecting on the a branding model theory and the recent EnerWE Conference held in Stavanger, Norway. The biggest query facing  the North Sea energy industry is addressing the communication challenge: “the Elephant in the room”. Watch the video presentation from the conference.

So what do Petroleum and Butterflies have in common?  The petroleum industry has a communication challenge and the Butterfly Branding Model from Wolf Olins has a possible solution. Since the discovery of petroleum as an energy source, it has drastically improved the quality of life for mankind since the early 1900s, yet the industry has failed at every turn to convey this message.

This is not a new topic for the oil industry. Some companies started incorporating sustainable business practices as early as 2007. So why is there such a chasm in communicating this concept? Can solid branding strategies lead to strong social media plans which result in increased ROI?

This theory is exemplified through the Butterfly Branding Model. Let’s now take a look at the elements of the model and apply the concept strategy to the petroleum industry.

Butterfly Branding Model

The Butterfly Branding Model Strategy:

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY? Perceived as greedy and environmentally destructive, lack of transparency, denial and cover-ups.

WHAT MAKES THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY SPECIAL? Petroleum is an energy source that has simplified and drastically improved the quality of life for mankind since the early 19th century.

 IDEA/Branding Foundation: Continued focus on sustainable business practices is vital. While focusing on improvements in the quality of life for the individual and the community, petroleum companies will have the opportunity to connect with communities (customers and or consumers) on a human to human level which will result in optimized feedback, innovative solutions and possible improvements in production methods. ROI can be shared satisfying the stakeholders, the company sustainability and the new focus of investments back into the local community. Revitalization of local parks, farms and community activities for children and elderly should be in focus to gain a connection and become involved with the consumers.

How does the industry communicate this to the public? The petroleum industry needs to believe in their mission, act in their mission and work their mission: Improve transparency. Strive for more economical, safer and less environmental destructive methods of drilling for energy recovery. Hence: “Sell to people that believe what you believe”. (which leads me to my next blog post).

Read more about Wolf Olins.


A radical new shopping platform – TOMS…

By opening up to new ways of giving, we can address a whole new world of needs. After all, if you want to create change, you have to be open to change yourself. Join us, and let’s do even more good together.

Toms Marketplace a New Way to Shop

Toms is sharing a new website with 30 other social entrepreneurs showcasing over 200 products for ethical business.

Do you holiday shopping on one website this year! There is everything from bicycles to beads! This is a great idea to help showcase products that are produced with sustainable intentions. The products available give back in different ways. Some of the companies provide improved livelihoods and economic opportunity to individuals who otherwise might not find employment. Other companies use a portion of their proceeds to support:

  • Children
  • Education
  • Fight Hunger
  • Reforestation
  • Job Creation
  • Health
  • Water

One thing they all have in common is the belief that everyday purchases can create positive change!

Another great way to insure that the products that you buy are produced with ethical business standards is to buy from your local business.  You can ask the shop employees/owners about their inventory and policies regarding the products they sell.

Just recently I visited a local merchant, Zens. I found a beautiful assortment of hand crafted jewelry and native designs. I asked the owner about the wonderful selection of scarves. She reported that the designers that she buys from are very interested in safe working conditions and no child labor. So, don’t be afraid to ask about the products before you make a purchase. Dare to care!

Make some changes in our Christmas/Holiday shopping and buy products that support a positive influence in other lives and communities!

Check out the link above for easy holiday shopping!

Makeup needs a Fair Trade MAKEOVER!


Week 3 of 4 – Corporate Social Responsibility Leaders

HELLOOO! Well, this is pretty sad. It was very hard to find cosmetic companies that are actually claiming to practice fair trade principles! Several companies focus on animal rights and do not test on animals (which is also  a very good thing!). But not too many cosmetic industry leaders are flexing their Fair Trade or Ethical Business mucles.

So, I guess this could be a good time to start putting a focus on the cosmetic industry to shape up their business practices. From my findings (yes, insert disclaimer here) there was only one clear winner: THE BODY SHOP

THE BODY SHOP  was awarded the Responsible Business of 2013.

  • Launched Community Fair Trade in 1987
  • 85% of The Body Shop’s product range contains Community Fair Trade ingredients.
  • Program benefits over 320,000 people
  • Spanning 21 countries worldwide.

The Body Shop has 25 Community Fair Trade supplies in the following ingredients:

  • Accessories from India
  • Aloe from Guatemala
  • Hemp from England
  • Maurula from Namibia
  • Alcohol from Ecuador
  • Brazil Nut from Peru
  • Honey from Ethiopia
  • Paper from Napal
  • Shea from Ghana
  • Tea Tree from Kenya

I know there are some up and coming skin care lines that are focusing on Environmental and Social Responsibilities practices. One of the local brands in my neighborhood is Kalahari Ancient Desert Secrets.

Obviously there are companies that are finding a niche in the ever growing popularity of Fair Trade. They are capitalizing on a market. (that’s the cynic in me talking) But that is not always for the bad.  Fair Trade marketing is creating an awareness that is good for the whole of the supply chain and the consumer. I will be looking into the checks and balances of the Fair Trade system next week in my final number for the Corporate Social Responsibility series.

Free2Work app does not even have a Cosmetics Industry. Download the app and activate the request for evaluation. Happy Friday!

Pukka Tea is Fair Trade!

Pukka Herbs Fair Trade Tea

Pukka Tea has a variety of Fair Trade tea.  Last week I found a huge selection at my near by Home & Cottage store!  Yeah!!!  I was so excited to see that this wonderful tea is gaining popularity and is becoming easier to find!

Shopping tips are always welcome. If you find a great Fair Trade product and would like to share with others, just let me know! I am always trying to make the shopping experience as effective and pain-free as possible!

p.s. our helpful clerk went above and beyond our usual service experience in Norway.  Great service!  Kudos to Home & Cottage!!!

Follow the Leaders in Fashion and Fair Trade!

Fair Trade Fashion zara timberland eileen fisher

Week 2 of 4 – Corporate Social Responsibility Leaders

Times are changing! Isn’t this exciting? Leaders in the fashion industry are beginning to make changes in the way they do business. These three brands are leaders in fashion and in Fair Trade as well.

Eileen Fisher(B+) Zara (A-) and Timberland(A-) have received a rating of at least a B+ by the Free2Work organization.

Apparel industry leaders are quickly adapting to the call of the consumer for ethical business practices and are making changes in the purchasing of cotton and labor practices. Here are how the companies are ranked for Fair Trade:

  • Code of Conduct & Written Policies: Evaluated by a brands code of conduct, its sourcing and subcontracting policies, and its involvement with other organizations working to combat child labor and forced labor.
  • Transparency and Traceability: How the brand understands its own supply chain and whether it discloses critical information to the public regarding child and forced labor.
  • Monitoring & Training: The adequacy of the brand’s monitoring program to address child and forced labor.
  • Worker Empowerment & Remediation: Assess the degree to which the band provides workers with core labor protections and rights such as freedom of association and living wage. Also how a brand is prepared to respond to reported abuses.

*Research relies on publicly available information and company sources of information.

This description was found on the app that is available for smartphones.

Download and do some fun smart and responsible shopping. Happy Friday!