11 Fair Trade Products to Try This Month
The crisp fall breeze brings with it a shift in our collective shopping sensibilities. As we put away those linen shirts and sundresses, we feel compelled to stock up on sweaters and wool socks, and it’s reassuring to know there are plenty of ethically sourced, fair trade products to take the pumpkin-spiced edge off the changing seasons. Here are a few autumnal offerings you can feel good about buying in October and November.
1. NISOLO SOBRE LEATHER CLUTCH
The Nashville-based company behind this sturdy envelope clutch ($44) has made a name for itself in the fair trade community by employing artisans—shoemakers especially—in Peru and in other developing parts of the world. The clutch comes in a camel shade, as well as a rosier scarlet, but this rich burgundy has fall written all over it.
2. DIVINE FAIR TRADE DARK CHOCOLATE WITH CRANBERRIES AND HAZELNUTS
The cocoa beans used to make this 68 percent cocoa dark chocolate bar (dotted with limited edition seasonal cranberries and hazelnuts) come from Kuapa Kokoo, a smallholder farming cooperative in Ghana. After growing the cocoa in the tropical rainforest's shade, the farmers (who’ve been able to access clean drinking water, toilets, and schools with their Divine earnings) ferment and dry the beans in the sun. Try a bar, a steal at $3.99.
3. COCOKIND ORGANIC CINNAMON LIP BALM
In addition to basing their organic skincare line around organic virgin coconut oil and plant-based super foods, San Francisco company Cocokind donates proceeds to nonprofits that tackle childhood hunger, provide clean water in South Africa, boost reading, and bring art to diverse communities. Their simple lip balm formula includes coconut oil, beeswax, and organic cinnamon leaf oil, and costs just $2.99.
4. PACT ORGANIC COTTON MEN'S PREMIUM CREW SOCKS
Pact Organic teamed up with Target stores in June to launch a line of men’s basics, including undershirts, underwear, and socks. Like their other staples, these cozy crew socks are sourced from Chetna Organic, a cotton farmers cooperative in India. For each product sold, the farmers earn funds to invest in community projects and programs like healthcare and education.
5. BOLL & BRANCH CABLE KNIT THROW
Made from eco-friendly, non-toxic dyes, this cozy oversized cotton cable knit blanket ($125) is woven in Fair Trade certified farms and mills in India, and part of every sale is donated to Not for Sale, a non-profit that fights against human trafficking and forced labor.
6. TRADER JOE'S FAIR TRADE MALAWI COFFEE
Trader Joe's' new line of coffee beans comes from family owned farms in northern Malawi, where farmers in the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union emphasize things like community improvement projects, gender equality … and coffee with floral tones and notes of caramelized tangerine zest thanks to the area’s rich clay and the subtropical climate. They have a limited quantity but you can score 12 ounces of this medium roast coffee for $7.99 while available.
7. MR. ELLIE POOH SMALL NOTEBOOK
New seasons call for new journals, and they don't come more adorable (or naturally sourced) than an artsy pocket- or purse-sized notebook ($7.99) made from elephant dung fiber and recycled paper. Mr. Ellie Pooh's recycled paper products are sustainably made by artisans in the Kegalle district of Sri Lanka, with the business supporting local communities and helping to conserve the elephant population.
8. PURPOSE JEWELRY CRESCENT NECKLACE
Young women rescued from sex trafficking in Mumbai, India handcraft these hammered silver and brass pieces. Sales of this crescent-shaped necklace, which retails for $36, help Purpose Jewelry’s nonprofit, International Sanctuary, give each artisan shelter, medical care, and a steady living.
9. NAU MILLICAN NICK THE MESSENGER BAG
Organizations including People for Bikes, Mercy Corps, and Breakthrough Institute get 2 percent of the sales of Nau’s sustainable lines of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. Consider this durable weatherproof messenger bag (available in multiple colors) for $155 for your fall commuting needs.
10. MODAVANTI CHORUS SCARF WITH POM POM BY ICHCHA
Hand-woven in India, this hand-block-printed scarf’s blue and white pattern is inspired by the "jaali" style of historic Indian windows. Its red pom pom edging? Just a festive bonus.
11. LÄRABAR BITES
These new bite-sized spin-offs (available in cherry chocolate chip, double chocolate brownie, chocolate macaroon, and mint chocolate truffle flavors) of the brand’s original fruit and nut bars are made with fair trade chocolate chips, dates, almonds and a handful of other straight-forward, minimally-processed ingredients. And at $7.59 a package, you'll want to toss a couple of flavors into your bag to snack on while enjoying a weekend hayride.