Pauline Tiffen, a Senior Consultant at Verité, introduces the Journal of Fair Trade, of which she is editor-in-chief.
Companies don’t doubt they have to play a role in solving social, labor, and environmental problems in their supply chains: But how? What works?
Definitive answers are needed on what socially and environmentally safe business looks like. The Fair Trade Society, a new global membership organization, is proud to announce the launch of the Journal of Fair Trade. Our aim is to be an outspoken and game-changing resource; a platform for voices — both academics and practitioners — who can cogently explain what works and what has to change for trade to be fair, effective, and meaningful. To learn more about this initiative and join The Fair Trade Society, visit www.joft.org.uk, and download the lead article of our first issue, Who Cares About Fair Trade?
This inaugural issue of the journal includes an article by Motthida Chin, a Training Director at Verité. Click to read an excerpt that explores how the personal experiences from her childhood in Cambodia inform her work building meaningful connections between workers, managers, and other stakeholders to advance labor rights.
Be the Opportunity: The Heart and Soul of Corporate Social Responsibility by Motthida Chin, Training Director, Verité
I was born in Cambodia and lived through the harsh reality of a genocide that took the lives of my parents, family members, and friends. I struggled to survive at an early age. During this time, I worked alongside my mother planting rice all day without breaks, but the rice was not for us. I survived only because of my mother’s daily food ration, which was comprised of mainly water and a few grains of rice. After only a short period, the rice soup could not sustain both of us, so my mother sent me away to friends in a village nearby. I never saw my mother again. I was four years old, living on the street and scavenging through trash for food. All I could think about was how to survive. When the war in my country ended in 1979, I reconnected with remaining family who had emigrated to the United States. It was because of them that I got a second chance at life, and educational opportunities that led to a career dear to my heart.
My childhood experience helped shape how I practice corporate social responsibility in countless ways. When I see a child or young person working, it takes me back to the four-year-old me living on the street scavenging in garbage for food. When I see a worker being yelled at by a supervisor, I imagine the scared little four-year-old me, alone, trying to survive on the street in a war zone. I can continue about all the labor issues I see, but my objective has always been about how to give these workers the same opportunities that I have had: to be heard, to escape being vulnerable to abuse, and to find a way towards a better life. The work that I do helps provide their opportunity.
To read the full article, visit The Journal of Fair Trade and join The Fair Trade Society.