Shop with Meaning #bebetter52

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It’s the most magical time of the year! Many people are shopping for the perfect gifts for friends and family, and gift giving should be embraced! Studies show simple acts of generosity actually boost our immune systems, relieve pain and even make our hearts stronger. If these reasons are not enough to give, give, give, how about knowing a particular gift could directly impact the life of a female artisan and her family thousands of miles away?

The way we shop and the goods we purchase have a lasting impact on the global economy. As consumers when we shop more responsibly, we have the power to change the way our products are made. With the holidays approaching, this week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to spread the cheer near and far by shopping in a socially responsible way and supporting small and local businesses or products certified fair trade.

One way to shop responsibly is to seek fair trade companies and products. Fair trade certification helps to address the injustices of low prices and wages by guaranteeing that producers and workers receive fair terms of trade and fair price no matter what the conventional market is. Shopping fair trade protects the farmers, workers, and fisherman who produce goods for us from businesses who drive down cost and leave the producers without a livelihood. When you shop fair trade, you support producers who protect the environment, work in safe conditions, build sustainable livelihoods, and earn additional money to empower and uplift their communities. The Little Market and similar fair trade organizations help artisans fine-tune designs, market their products and teach them to cover basic costs of materials, transportation and labor – with the end goal of empowerment and improved livelihoods for female artisans and their families. This season shop with this fair trade goal in mind to complete this week's be better 52 challenge!

Another way to complete this challenge is to shop locally at small businesses this week. By shopping at a small business, you are supporting a person’s or a family’s dream from your community. You are helping a student through college, a family pay its mortgage, or a mom give her daughter dance lessons. You're also creating jobs in the community and are more likely to find a unique product since product diversity and options are often greater at small businesses versus chain stores. Don't assume the price is automatically higher simply because it's a small business either! Although there are some unique small businesses, there are also those that sell what you would normally get at your local grocery store or Target. We challenge you to shop in a socially responsible way this week by either purchasing fair trade products or buying locally!