Organic Cotton and Sustainability in Fair Trade, a Balancing Act

organic cotton finger puppets

When talking about sustainability, defined by the UN as “to meet the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, we must learn to be humble. 

Through the years, we have discovered that our job as fair traders is more often than not a balancing act.  Our love for our Mother Earth pushes us to be ever more sustainable, while caring for our artists’ well being keeps us cautious of making risky sudden changes.  The ever changing market landscape has made predicting the future nearly impossible, and low price sensitivity is a reality that keeps us on our toes, as we try to find the sweet middle spot that will please all.

Pushed by our desire to green our business and reduce our footprint, we have embarked on a gradual shift toward more sustainable products. 

A good example are our finger puppets. 18 years ago, we discovered a talented group of lady knitters, who created our adorably colorful puppets and we fell in love.  We jumped at the opportunity to create much needed work for them without thinking much about the synthetic yarn they used.


bright organic puppet packs

Over the years we began realizing that plastic was not that great after all…  So we started a quest for “natural alternatives”.  We started using alpaca wool and cotton hoping to replace our best selling originals.  Even more, as we learned about the horrendous environmental footprint that cotton carries, in 2011 we switched all of our cotton to be organic.  Little by little, year after year the market share of organic has been increasing but due to its higher cost, it still represents only about a third of our puppets. 

Our quest continues to convert even more consumers and we need your help as this, we have found, is a community effort.

With every 100 organic cotton finger puppets, you help keep 50 sq. feet of land clean. And even better if a puppet teaches a child about organic cotton and leads the parents to purchase an organic cotton t-shirt instead of a conventional one, you could be converting an entire small yard or about 6700 sq. feet to organic farming!

This Earth Day, will you commit to making room in your store, or home, for more organics?   Every organic cotton puppet is 100% made in Peru, supporting local, organic agriculture and the health of farmers and workers applying the safe dyes or natural dyes and the ladies knitting the puppets.

Finally, a shout-out to to our Fair Trade friends: Global Mamas, Mata Traders and Maggie’s Organics for offering organic clothing.

Happy Earth Day!