These days we automatically think about the origin of our food. Where was it produced? How was it produced? The world wide movement of caring about farmers and local producers has taken hold and it’s natural to make a conscious choice about our food and drinks.
But does your thinking extend to your homewares?
Traditionally mass-produced homewares originate in places like Asia and India.
They use cheap labour and materials to bring the prices down, answering a need in Australia for fast, trendy items.
For a long time, you had to scout markets and do heavy research to find local, ehically made products.
Now, there are a great number of organisations flooding the market with ethically produced and sourced homewares.
An ethically produced product is defined as one that “has been made without exploiting any process, person, material, labour or animal and does not cause harm to the environment or society”.
Companies are now employing processes to adapt to the changing needs of consumers.
Some organisations will source products from artisans that use sustainable products. Others will produce only what is ordered so there is no waste.
Many will use recycled products or sturdy, biodegradable materials such as palm leaves so they leave minimal impact on the earth.
They are also interested in ensuring workers are not exploited and are paid fairly for their work.
Wayne Castle, CEO of Australian Gift and Homewares Association (AGHA) said consumers are increasingly interested in knowing their dollar ensures fair working conditions and wages for workers in developing countries or is used for sustainable production methods that curtail the waste of energy and resources.
“This trend is compounded by corporate retailers promoting large-scale sustainability campaigns, including garment-recycling programs and new initiatives to phase out single-use plastic,” he said. Finding said products is becoming much easier.
“Over recent years, we have seen a steady flow of stylish and trending ranges from ethical brands becoming more readily available to mainstream markets.
“Our signature B2B trade exhibitions, AGHA Gift Fairs, showcase a diverse cohort of ethical and sustainable brands, many of whom have reported skyrocketing demand from vigilant retail buyers looking to source certified fair trade products made by artisans, as well as sustainable and ethical products with a lasting positive impact upon the wider retail ecosystem.”