Businesses join fair-trade efforts

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Two local businesses focused on fair-trade products in Delaware partnered this winter.

The Global Village Collection, 27 N. Sandusky St., a store that primarily carries international fair-trade products, will now carry Shema Solutions, a line of soaps, lotions and cleansers made in Central Ohio from fair-trade shea butter from Uganda and distributed by Shema Global, a Delaware-based distribution company.

“It's a combination of efforts of Delaware people to support fair trade,” said Shema managing director Mark Butler. “Two local companies combining together to help disadvantaged communities.”

Butler started Shema in 2009, but this is the first time his products will be carried in Global Village.

“As soon as they were in, they started selling,” Butler said.

“Of course they would sell,” said Global Village manager Shelly Emans. “One thing I had been looking into is getting more local products, which is something we didn't generally do because of our fair-trade certification.

The partnership between Global Village and Shema was made possible when Global Village chose to change certifying agencies. Prior to this fall, Global Village was certified by the Fair Trade Federation, which required all products sold or used with in the store to be 95 percent fair-trade certified. Emans said the small margin of space for non-fair-trade certified products made it difficult to carry products not completely made of fair-trade ingredients or products not certified to the standards of the Fair Trade Federation.

“We want to work both globally and locally at the same time,” Emans said. “By removing (the certification by the Fair Trade Federation), not only were we able to bring in a product distributed locally, but we were able to bring in other great products.”

Emans said Global Village is still committed to fair trade, a that focuses on helping disadvantaged communities in other countries by helping the farmers and producers harness the free-trade market more directly and receive better compensation.

“We want to do local outreach, as well,” Emans said.

Butler's Ugandan shea butter is certified by Fair Trade USA, and the products are also USDA Certified bio-based product and certified by the Natural Products Association Certification. His bar soap is made in Delaware and his lotions and creams are made in Columbus. None of the Shema line is tested on animals, Emans said.

“It's been good partnerships,” Butler said.