With mass manufacturing higher than ever, the incredibly high costs of exporting goods from Indonesia are making it harder and harder for local artisans to sustain themselves. Products that they once made a living exporting to Western countries like the US with products like jewelry and textiles are now made and exported cheaper in China.
Because of this, the livelihood, quality of life, and preservation of the Balinese culture now rests in the hands of conscious tourists like you! We encourage you to always purchase from fair trade vendors while you are visiting Bali. Not only will you be meeting your needs, but you will be helping to support an equalization of opportunity for the locals who have welcomed you into their country.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a global social movement which enables producers in developing countries to achieve better working and trading conditions. This is done by improving social and environmental standards in the workplace as well as to promote sustainable farming. The fair trade movement focuses on products which are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries.
Why is Fair Trade important in Bali?
The key objectives of Fair Trade, especially in Bali is to empower and support low-income Balinese artisans and farmers. Fair Trade’s rules guarantee a living wage, offering employees opportunities for advancement and assistance in a safe working environment, engaging in environmentally sustainable practices, being open to public accountability and building long term trade relationships between Indonesia and the rest of the world. It is hard to believe that something as small as buying a batik shirt or handmade bracelet can have such a deep impact on the lives of the Balinese, but it can!
Choosing to make purchases from Fair Trade vendors while you are in Bali means:
- You are supporting the creation of opportunity for economically disadvantaged producers. The Bali Fair Trade organization is dedicated to poverty alleviation and sustainable growth and development for local residents.
- You are supporting the ongoing efforts to maintain gender equity & equal opportunity. Among Fair Trade vendors, large emphasis is placed on ensuring that women's work is as properly valued and rewarded as it is for men.
- You help to support an elimination of the exploitation of children and Indigenous people. Fair Trade companies always create safe and healthy working conditions for their employees.
- In purchasing Fair Trade products, you are a part of an exchange that acts from a place of deep reverence and respect for ancient cultural traditions and natural resources. The Fair Trade organization helps producers to hone their local knowledge base so that they can preserve their cultural identity.
- You engage in payment of a fair price. This is determined through dialogue and participation from local business owners. It is set to cover not only the costs of production, but to enable artisans to engage in a production process that is socially just and environmentally sound. Fair Trader vendors are also able to ensure prompt payment to their partners and, whenever possible, help producers obtain access to pre-production financing.
- You support the preservation of the land for future generations. Fair Trade vendors are educated on how to manage and use their local resources sustainably. Vendors work very personally with their producers. Whenever possible they choose regions of high biodiversity so that they can develop products that do not harm the land, but rather enhance it.
- You contribute to a global conversation & revolution of equal opportunity. Fair Trade practices are ultimately in place to facilitate a cross-cultural understanding and respect between consumers and the communities of the developing world.
A few of our favorite Fair Trade brands in Bali are:
1. Muntigunung Community Social Enterprise
Muntigunung is a remote area in the Eastern slopes of Batur in North East Bali, with an extreme 8 month dry season. Lack of water brought immense poverty to the area drawing villagers to go begging in Ubud and on the beach for money. In 2006, a Swiss backed NGO with Yayasan Dian Desa initiated the Muntigunung Development and Livelihoods program and constructed buildings to harvest rainwater to provide a year-round supply of clean, sustainable water to the houses in Muntigunung.
The Muntigunung Community Social Enterprise make incredible natural superfoods, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to protect your body against heart disease, cancer and alzheimers. Muntigunung Community Social Enterprise is a Fair Trade Business. The loyal practice of their business is reflected in their sales prices and net revenues are fully reinvested into further expanding income generating activities in and around the Muntigunung area. The company provides the people of Muntigunung with a regular income and supports their access to healthcare and education. These buildings have given the community the space and opportunity to process rosella, cashew nut, Lontar palm sugar and moringa as well as bags, hammocks and accessories.
2. East Bali Cashews
East Bali Cashews began with a dream to decrease the cashew carbon footprint and provide economic opportunities and help empower the people of Desa Ban, an impoverished community in East Bali. Desa Ban is an impoverished village in East Bali where they are unfortunately relegated to poor soil. The company hope to improve the lives of the Desa Ban community by providing an additional source of income, empowering women through employment and education, and teaching farmers to improve their soil and maximize their production.
Cashews are bought directly from farmers and are then processed in the village of Desa Ban and East Bali Cashews is the first large-scale cashew processing facility in Bali and one of the first village-based facilities in Southeast Asia. This is unlike the vast majority of the other cashew nut companies that ship their cashews thousands of miles to a processing factory along the way passing through 4-5 traders. East Bali Cashews are also incredibly environmentally conscious and re-use the 100 tonnes of cashew shells by putting them through a shell-fueled gassifier that powers the steaming and drying machines. This produces a carbon-rich biochar, an organic super-fertilizer for the current and future cashew and fruit trees.
With a wide range of delicious cashew products from including a wide range of flavors including chili, garlic and chocolate, they also produce muesli and granola. Cashews are high in vitamins and minerals and have enormous health benefits as well as being a healthy delicious snack. They help lower cholesterol, improve heart health, add fiber and protein, and help to control blood-sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetes.
In truth, our choices can either perpetuate poverty and un-ethical business practices, or they can help create a thriving culture and global community. We ask that when you visit Bali, you choose to be a responsible consumer, purchasing from community friendly and environmentally aware BaliSpirit vendors. Whether you are looking for natural body products, handmade jewelry or even yoga clothes, make sure when you leave Bali you know that with each purchase you made, you have helped to leave a smile of equal opportunity on the face of a local family.