Handmade & Sustainable for Christmas from La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE
At La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE you find goods that are handmade from the artisans' local natural fibers or from locally recycled waste. Fair Trade is a good tool for global Sustainable Development and the fact that the goods are handcrafted from well-chosen materials is important in this context. Crafting with the use of local materials enables a high added value and minimal environmental impact.
Soon it will be Christmas 2022. The handmade always has its place at Christmas time: The handmade gives Christmas atmosphere and becomes unique gifts in a world where mass-produced goods flood the market. When the Christmas gift is a Fair Trade craft, it also becomes so much bigger: Fair Trade – A Greater Gift.
As we are moving towards Christmas in the world 2022 - multiple crises demand strengthened and more effective global cooperation
The UN writes in its "World Economic Situation and Prospects" September 2022 that multiple crises now demand strengthened and more effective global cooperation. Quote; “The pandemic, the global food and energy crisis, the ever-worsening climate catastrophe, and the looming debt crisis in developing countries are testing the limits of existing multilateral frameworks. Many countries have responded to new challenges and threats by adopting more inward-looking policies. Such reactions are misguided and short-sighted, however, as many of the current crises are global in nature and strongly interlinked. With an estimated 657 million people living in extreme poverty and the number of acute food-insecure people rising sharply, scaling-up international cooperation and development finance is critical at this juncture.”
The climate crisis and climate(in)justice
The UN Environment Program's (UNEP) 2022 report on greenhouse emissions was presented 10 days before COP27 starts on the 6th November. The report shows that the world's countries are far from fulfilling the Paris Agreement's promise to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Current actions point to a temperature increase of 2.8 degrees by the end of the century. The report is titled "Emissions Gap Report 2022: The Closing Window – Climate crisis calls for rapid transformation of societies"
Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is an international partnership between countries that are highly vulnerable to climate change. Madagascar is one of the 58 member nations. In June 2022, the CVF published a report showing that climate change has wiped out $525 billion, equivalent to a fifth, of the wealth of 55 climate disaster-prone countries (including Madagascar) over the past two decades. In other words: These nations would have been 20 percent richer today had they not suffered the losses from climate change.
Ahead of COP27, the CVF calls on the polluting nations to adapt to the Paris emissions target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. CVF also recalls the failure of rich nations to fulfil the pledge made at the 2009 COP negotiations in Copenhagen to mobilize $100 billion in annual financing for clean energy transition and adaptation in developing countries. CVF raises its voice for this climate debt to be paid.
Madagascar - one of the countries most affected by the climate crisis and economic poverty in the world.
The World Bank writes in its "Madagascar Country Update" October 2022 that an unusually large number and devastating cyclones, a historically severe drought in southern Madagascar as well as the economic consequences of the Corona pandemic have led to the proportion of Madagascar's population living in extreme poverty increasing to record levels of over 80% and are predicted to remain at these levels until 2024. The country has the world's fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition. The number of people lacking sufficient food has increased in 2022 and further deterioration is expected, especially in southern Madagascar, between December 2022 and March 2023.
The corona pandemic is a continuing threat to the country. Increased vaccination coverage is expected to support economic recovery in the country including the opening of the country's borders. In Madagascar, less than 6% of the target population is fully vaccinated (Oct 2022), which means that the country belongs to the 7 countries in the world where it is the lowest. (The 7 countries at the bottom of the table are: Burundi, Haiti, Yemen, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar.) Madagascar aims for at least 50% of the target population to be vaccinated against covid-19 by June 2023. The vaccination coverage in Madagascar can be compared to the average for the countries of the world, which is 63.52% October 2022. The statistical data has been taken from the World Health Organization (WHO) website October 2022.
Importance of trade for sustainable climate
"Sustainable all the way - the role of trade in climate change" is the title of the latest report from the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council and was published May 2022. The report points out that Sweden's consumption-based emissions amount to 9 tonnes/person, but that they should be 1 tonne/person in order for the Paris Agreement to be achieved. As trade's own climate footprint is limited, the trading company has the greatest opportunity to influence through cooperation with producers/suppliers (production is usually what affects emissions the most) and customers/consumers in their choice and use of products.
Where the climate footprints for different industries mainly occur varies. For example, the footprint is mainly in production for food and fashion, while footprint is mainly in the use of the products in the automotive industry. For example, the Mistra Future Fashion research project shows that 80% of the consumption-based emissions for clothing consumed in Sweden occur in production, 3% in trade and 17% in use. On an overall level, the Trade Employees' Union estimates trades own emissions at just under 10%.
Trade has a central position as it connects production with consumption, for example the trade company's choice of assortment.
The Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council’s aim is to spread knowledge and insight into the importance of trade for society. The report "Sustainable all the way - the role of trade in climate change" is (only) written in Swedish and can be downloaded from the fundation's website.
Sustainable Development - environmental care is passion in practice at La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE.
Ecological Sustainability is the basis for Sustainable Development - and for the operations of La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE
Materials: The products in La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE range are all made from local, renewable natural materials or recycling of waste. Natural materials consist mainly of palm leaves, grass, sedges, and sisal. The materials are wild growing without any application of pesticides or irrigation. They are materials that are traditionally used in handicraft. Sustainable usage gives the wild growing a place in Madagascar's economic development.
Recycling of trash: The material in metal craft consists of cans for which a recycling systems are lacking in Madagascar. The craftsmanship contributes to alleviate a presently increasing environmental problems. The same applies to the plastic waste which is the material in the production of beads.
Manufacturing: A genuine, small-scale and environmentally friendly crafting. The process from the harvesting of natural materials or collection of waste materials to the finished product is highly manual. Palm leaves are harvested by regular pruning of palm trees, grass and reeds cut by hand etc. The natural fibres are prepared with hand-driven processes and sun-dried.
Most of the natural fibres are used undyed. In case of dying, only dyes that are guaranteed not to contain azo-substances or heavy metals are used.
Bags are sewn together by material consisting of hand-woven or plaited natural fibres. Some of the bags have handles of leather. The leather is vegetable tanned, free from chrome.
Hats are braided or crocheted of natural fibres or sewn of hand-woven raffia palmleaves - which is an excellent material for the manufacture of quality hats. The craftsmen are skilled and careful in the use of the material. Environmental impact in terms of energy consumption and waste is minimal.
The metal waste for making model vehicles are cut and shaped by means of hand tools. Considering the health and safety of the craftsman, cans that have contained toxic substances are not used as material.
Culture and nature conservation ministries in Madagascar check and approve the goods before export. All products are certified by the Ministère de l’Artisanat et des Metiers as « Produits Artisanaux fait main », i.e. handmade craft products.
Transport: 100% of the goods is shipped by sea from Madagascar to Sweden. A minimum of packaging material (recycled cardboard boxes and bags) are used. In Sweden: The products are packed in cartons. No plastic, only paper, is used as packing material. The boxes are delivered to shops by truck.
Readymade goods: Handmade products – arts and crafts as well as handicrafts – are products with an identity. These are unique products that often have a long life with the consumer. Crafts are also created by people and can therefore be changed (eg repaired) by people.
Finally: As the absolute majority of goods in the La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE range entirely consists of natural fibres and are completely biodegradable, at the end they can return to the natural cycle.
Handmade & Sustainable for Christmas 2022 - some tips from La Maison Afrique FAIRE TRADE
Basket bag handmade of sundried raffia palm leaves and sedges. Basket bag that combines the functions of the basket with the attractiveness of the beautiful bag: The basket bag has an outside of finely patterned raffia palm leaves, inside of plaited sedges. The plaited sedges provides shape and carrying strength as well as flexibility, which makes the basket bag comfortable to use. The handles are made of double-stitched raffia braids and have extra length so that the basket bag can be carried on the shoulder. The basket bag is available in three colours: Natural white with drawstring closure in beige cotton textile. Pastel blue with drawstring closure in pastel blue cotton textile. Pastel pink with drawstring closure in pastel pink cotton textile.
Citroën handmade of recycled metal waste. Small, nice rolling model of vintage Citroën van whose length is 11cm.
Model cars (and also other things, e.g. chandelier) that are Recycled + Handcrafted + Fair Trade
A) Production that helps alleviate an increasing problem: The country is lacking sufficient resources for waste handling and there is no recycling plant for metal.
B) Production that makes metal waste to a resource.
C) Production that is a genuine, small scale and environmentally friendly handcrafting.
D) Production that helps fight poverty in one of Africa’s economically poorest and most marginalized countries.
E) Products that are shipped by sea from Madagascar to Sweden.
F) Production and regular deliveries within a long-term Fair Trade cooperation: La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE has cooperated with the artisans since 2001.
Bottom line: Madagascar has a unique flora and fauna, is listed as one of the worlds "biodiversity hotspots". That this environment is protected from littering, any type of waste, is of immeasurable great value.
Paper handmade of bark and water. The Anteimoro paper craft is a craft with a long tradition that the artisans carry on with great skill and very beautiful results. The wrapping paper is decorated with dispersed flower petals, leaves or straws. Beautiful and useful not only as gift paper, but also as e.g. book covers, passe-partout, origami or for making lampshades. Varying colours on the petals, but mainly red. Size of the paper sheets is 70x50cm.
The package's strings are made of red coloured raffia fibres (ie raffia palm leaves).
Envelope bag handmade from artisans' local, renewable and sustainable natural fibres; Outside of sun-dried raffia palm leaves that have been handwoven, interior of sedges that has been plaited. The envelope bag is available in five different sizes, which can be compactly packed together.
Large basket handmade from artisans' local natural fibres: mountain grass (Haravola) and sun-dried raffia palm leaves. "Haravola" is an extraordinary tough type of grass. It is so tough that it is not suitable as feeding for the cattle — but rather as an material for making sturdy crafts for everyday use, e.g. baskets. Harvesting the grass is done by hand. The grass is a wild growing perennial that grows back. The harvested grass is sun-dried and then braided into baskets and hats. The braiding can be done with different techniques and also in combination with other natural fibres, such as raffia palm leaves. The braiding technique used for this basket means that raffia palm leaves are placed around the edge of each bundle of grass during braiding. The raffia palm leaves thus give the basket its grid pattern. The basket has braided sisal shoulder straps. The length allows the basket to be comfortably carried on the shoulder.
The artisans’ name for the durable, grey-green shiny grass "Haravola" is a combination of "de hara" = material that can be used in a very thin layer and "vola" = silver. The botanical name of the grass is Lasiorhachis viguieri or Loudetia simplex subsp. Stipoides.
HAVE A FAIR, HANDMADE AND SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS!