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Add Time :2009-09-08      Hits:3562

Practice of Fair Trade

By Ms. Bai Wei

Source: Bai Wei’s Blog


Practice of Fair Trade


    World of Good(www.worldofgood.com) is one successful social cooperate in U.S. recent years. It is a social enterprise but caught fancy of a commercial competition that held by University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business. 

World of Good gives an expedient and reliable store to the customers in which supplies thousand of products; that will bring positive effect to the people even the earth. Working with the partners through its retail, wholesale and online networks, they contact with the craftsmen in the third world nations and encourage the customers to use their purchasing power as a support to do contribution.   

Company found in 2004 by two students of School of Business who won the competition and gained the venture capital. Priya, an Indian girl who grows up in U.S., is the one of the founder and she was thinking to improve worldwide women’s living standard through her own effort. During her investigation, she found that many women rely on the handicrafts for living in the third world but those products export to U.S. at last. Due to the low social status and they are lack of organizing, marketing and negotiating ability, they finally, achieve very little in the whole supply chain.

World of Good’s responsibility is to replace the middlemen in the supply chain. It works together with the NGOs all around the world and they organize the craftsmen to supply goods. After that, World of Good will sell the goods to every different distribution in U.S. including chain stores of healthy food, chain stores of luxury food, individual bookstores (bookstores in college), chain bookstores, yoga center, barber shop, spa, gardening center, stores in airport, museums and flower stores etc. We can see that World of Good is aiming at a group of customers who have enjoyed a good education, have a good income regularly, and have special taste and full of kindness. Furthermore, the number of those people is getting bigger and bigger in U.S.

The main categories of World of Good are jewelries, neck scarf, handbags, kitchen utensils (bowls, baskets, table cloth etc.), bookmarks, notebooks and candlesticks and so on. The price of them is not so high and very close to the similar domestic products in U.S. Following are some reasons why those products are attractive:


1. Never beyond market price. This won’t give burden to buyers so that they won’t add cost for doing good things.

2.Characteristic products. In U.S., handicrafts are expensive as the cost of labor is high. Generally, the products are from industrialization that you hardly find anything special. However, all of World of Good’s products are artificial. What’s more, the products are designed from abroad; it is quite popular in U.S. through maybe they are quite common and native in the mother country. The big retailers have introduced these products to America recently and get a good reputation with the goods. Unfortunately, the big retailers prefer to manufacture by industrialization thus, handicrafts just used as a subsidiary; what’s worse, the big retailers do not care about the interest of the craftswomen in third world and they keep the profits of the workers.     

3.Do good things. Every product of World of Good has a label on it that introduces the condition of the group of workers. World of Good guarantees these workers can achieve the normal compensation in market. If not like this, women in many developing nations who takes the same job as men but gain less than men to 30 percent; the first middlemen usually will exploit workwomen and they hardly can take payment. Annually, the World of Good will donate 10 percent of its net profit to its partnership NGOs. This capital will be used to help the ladies to guarantee they can gain justice salary and improve their living quality.

2006 is the first year that World of Good runs its business formally. It totally sold more than hundred thousand pieces of handicrafts. These products are from 31 nations and 2500 workers of 133 small groups including the psychical challengers in Cambodia and African women with positive HIV and so on. 60 to 70 percent of the handicraft workers are women. All workers have nearly ten thousand families need to look after. 

World of Good representatives a new model that is a better combine of love and knowledge. It realizes that injustice position of workers in supply chain. Instead of change the workers (give them fish or train them hot to fish), World of Good takes the place of the middleman and become another new middleman who has American marketing ability as well as kindness. After the World of Good joins in, purchasers and sellers will not change their living and working methods, but the direction goes different: workers can achieve the justice salary as well as the improvement of working environment annually.  

The common organizations that are doing good things including charity, non-profit and public welfare etc. will ask attendants to take “more” out to help the disadvantage groups, such as donation, volunteering work and buy the products that are much more higher than market’s. Meanwhile, the disadvantage groups just negatively receive the aid and help. The public interest organization lives struggling in the middle of them because it is very difficult to apply for donation and finance strength is too limited to support their own organization. However, World of Good breaks through form this and opens a new way. Purchasers no longer need to pay much more higher cost than market’s price and get what they want for living, and they could offer their help to the weak group of people at the same time. The disadvantage groups will not wait for help passively but give one own work and skill to earn the justice payment. World of Good also can make profit in the middle and donate 10 percent of net profit to support the non-profitable projects that means they don’t need to collect donations.

Why World of Good can help others as well as make profit? Where is its profit space? I suppose that it is the result of development of productivity. Perhaps this will not work out ten years ago, but it can now. Because:

1.       Internet promotes the cooperation between the World of Good and other NGOs around the world with low cost.

2.       The cost of the air trip and communication is going down then more and more westerners could go abroad or get knowledge about the whole world and that forms the purchasing demand towards the different culture and art.

3.       As for the high level of economic development and the national education of U.S., a considerable group of people who gets interested in doing good matters and will to make a difference with the whole world.

Finally, there is an extract of an interview with Priya and I believe her words could inspire the friends who are engaged with the social organization.

 “I completely have no experience about this and I don’t have the reason I can succeed. I have neither retail background nor product design background. However, I have strong sympathy feeling towards the business we will get involved and I will buy our own products.”

“Besides this, I just organized a team with my instincts and inspiration after that a company and then keep the company growing up. If have no idea about anything, there is one thing you can do: make clear who is professional and talk with them. ”

“At present, I can not manage any other matters. I have been always thinking about this. There is one power goes beyond my own wish and it strongly wants to come out. What I can do is to let it out when the right time comes.”

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