The fair&good team L-R: Matai’a Sarah Richards, Dr Susan Maiava and Erin Balle.
Fair&good are doing something unique in the New Zealand marketplace, and Trade Aid is finding out what it is and why. Here is our recent interview with the fair&good team.
What problem does fair&good solve?
Many people want to shop ethically but have trouble knowing which brands or products are ethically made, where to find them, or they just don’t have the time. So fair&good was created as a way to make ethical shopping easy. Consumers can now browse over fifty amazing ethical brands with a Kiwi connection (including Trade Aid!), and link directly to their page to shop. It’s really an online ethical brand directory.
Who is fair&good?
fair&good is a family-based not-for-profit founded by my daughter, Matai’a Sarah Richards, my daughter-in-law, Erin Balle, and me (Dr Susan Maiava). We also have the lovely Prasanna Nara, our Communications Manager who runs our social media. fair&good is funded by the Fairfield Trust, a registered charity. This allows us to be completely impartial. We do not take any commission or charge fees. We want to create a world where the products we all use are made by empowered hands – by people who are paid fairly, treated respectfully and are given opportunities to improve their lives.
How did the idea for fair&good come about and what drives you to work in this space?
Our fair&good team have all had personal encounters that have opened our eyes to the harsh reality behind today’s global markets. Sarah has travelled widely and lived in developing countries. Erin has worked in the world of fashion and became tired of seeing corporations putting profit before people. I’ve worked in the development field since I was twenty-four (that’s a long time ago)!
As an academic I know all the theories and I’m particularly committed to the concepts of people-centred development, participation and empowerment. But the expectation has always been placed on people to develop, without considering the role of the West in that process, the way we hamper the process by giving with one hand and taking with the other. I’ve always had the suspicion that people can work as hard as they like but without receiving a fair reward for their work they would always be hitting a ceiling they couldn’t break through.
But we in the West do have an active role to play: to stop exploiting the people who make the products we consume and to pay people fairly for the work they do for us. This is not charity but simply the fair and right thing to do.
So fair&good was born out of a conviction that spending our money ethically is one of the most powerful tools we all have to bring about change. And, collectively, our purchasing power, after our vote, is probably the greatest power we all have to make a difference and change people’s lives. At fair&good we want to facilitate and galvanise the use of that power by making it really easy for people to find and purchase the ethical products they want.
But there is an added dimension as well. When we all do this, collectively we will change demand, and businesses respond to demand. When we reach a tipping point in demand, businesses will start to automatically stock ethical products. Ultimately our long-term goal is to make ethical shopping mainstream. We like to say we are “changing demand to demand change”.
Check out fair&good at https://fairandgood.co.nz/