Here’s an idea you can have for free: Start a business offering exclusively “fair trade” goods. Start a website with that as a differentiator. Gather and sell the same kind of things we get at the two or three brand name chains of import stores, but with a “fair trade” guarantee. Or maybe you want to focus even more and be the source for fair trade clothing or fair trade pottery or fair trade household goods.
I don’t have data to actually prove the idea, but Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International reports a 40 percent increase in sales of certified fair-trade goods this year alone.
And I posted here last week about a Harvard study reported by Ray Fisman in Will Customers Pay More To Do Good that showed buyers were willing to pay more for fair-trade goods.
Take a look at treehugger.com, Fairtrade Ireland or Fair Trade Products Fare Well from the Houston Chronicle. You can read there about how some specific examples are growing on fair trade and how much fair trade has grown since certification started in 1998. You can visit Transfair USA for more background.
Data, however, isn’t the point. Ideas get proven by results, not data. If you’ve got the resources and interest to make this happen, you already know who you are, so just do it.