Fair Trade and Sustainable Design

Earth-Day3Earth Day is on Tuesday April 22 this year! To mark this special occasion, here are a few design savvy ideas to help reduce your carbon footprint.

Fair trade is an organized social movement that aims to help manufacturers and tradesmen in developing countries have better trading conditions and promote sustainability. Basically, fair trade products are made with resources that are being used responsibly by people who are compensated adequately.

Buying fair trade products is important because it supports companies and manufacturers who work with Third World Farmers, making sure that living wage standards are met for artisans worldwide and ensuring that strict environmental regulations are in place.

In general, most fair trade products are edible like coffee and sugar but handicrafts and cotton should also be purchased responsibly.

It is important to support Canadian companies who collaborate with fair trade manufacturers as well as look for items that are either made locally, or manufactured in Canada.

By buying Canadian-made products, you are helping to support a whole infrastructure of Canadian workers. It also supports renewable resources within our borders and feeds money back into our economy.

If you are looking for unique products, craft shows and antique stores carry items that are not found in big box stores. Check out local auctions and small town fairs or antique shows for one-of-a-kind goods with an authentic feel.

Favourite Places to Find Fair Trade and Artisanal Products:

  • WEST ELM: With a line of handcrafted products, West Elm has made a long-term commitment to over 20 artisan groups in 15 countries all over the world.
  • STYLEGARAGE: Offering a signature, made-to-order furniture collection (made in Canada), Stylegarage supports local craftspeople and sources sustainable materials whenever possible. Stylegarage is the original Gus* Modern retailer offering the complete collection of Mid-Century inspired quick ship modern furniture.
  • IKEA: Many of Ikea’s products are made from recycled or responsibly sourced materials. They support sustainable sources of cotton and use over 550,000 solar panels on IKEA buildings worldwide.
  • One Of A Kind Show: Held twice a year at Christmas and in Spring, this show has an incredible array of crafts by artisans from all across Canada. Truly unique gifts!
  • URBAN BARN: A proud Canadian company, Urban Barn supports furniture designers across the country. This season offers unique pieces using reclaimed wood.
  • ETSY: A vibrant online marketplace of handmade or vintage goods available from around the world, Etsy provides an endless dose of creativity.
  • ECOEXISTENCE: A small but well-curated shop in Toronto, Ecoexistence offers a wide selection of sustainable lifestyle products including décor items, kitchen accessories, children’s clothes and toys and toiletries that all empower customers to make environmentally responsible choices.

Written by Kim Bartley

Kim Bartley

Kim Bartley, Principal of Kim Bartley Design, brings 25 years of business ownership and management to the table.

Kim’s keen eye for design lends her rooms an edgy sophistication while remaining current and functional. Her philosophy is that your home should make you happy and reflect your lifestyle and changing needs. Focusing on unparalleled client care, Kim aims to make the design experience positive and enjoyable at each phase of the project. She works collaboratively with her clients to develop spaces that are clean and modern but still warm and approachable. Kim believes that everyone deserves to live in a beautifully designed space and focuses on truly “getting” her clients.

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