Retail giant Walmart is dipping it's greedy hands into the fair-trade market. Will the retailer known to purchase goods from overseas manufacturers -- which may or may not exploit employees rights -- really offer fairly-traded merchandise? Or, is this simply another marketing scheme to lure in customers?
Beginning spring 2012 Walmart's website will sell handmade jewelry, clothing and crafts made by women artisans from developing countries, according to International Supermarket News. Is this really a new concept? Just read the foreign labels on the products lining the company's shelves. Many of the items are already hand-crafted in developing countries.
Walmart is partnering with Ethical Fashion Africa and Full Circle Exchange, both organizations well-known for their ethical trade practices of handmade goods from developing countries. By 2016 the retailer hopes to offer a variety of 500 items from 24 countries, including Guatemala, Thailand and Kenya. Will the new fair-trade movement at Walmart include a "handmade in America" section too? Our local artisans (and factory workers) could also use a boost in sales.