Athens has a small but engaged community surrounding fair trade and sweatshop-free labor, and over the past few years, more businesses in the city have been breaking away from traditional corporate hierarchies. This shift lends itself to a climate that prioritizes ethical and sustainable sourcing, which is what Senior Fellow Eleni Zervos wanted to explore through creating this map. “There is limited information and focus on fair trade and sweatshop-free labor in Athens. Lack of awareness is one factor that allows corporations that rely on labor exploitation to thrive, and more difficult for businesses that prioritize ethical sourcing to establish themselves.”
“Lack of awareness is one factor that allows corporations that rely on labor exploitation to thrive, and more difficult for businesses that prioritize ethical sourcing to establish themselves.”
Eleni did research to find out which cafes and establishments throughout Athens focused on fair trade and sweatshop free labor. The businesses and organizations featured are based, operate and have a physical presence in Athens. When evaluating these businesses, the following points were taken into consideration:
- their sourcing procedures
- their vetting process for suppliers
- their support of local suppliers
She then reached out to those that seemed more relevant to discuss her project and to gain a better understanding of how they focused on ethical sourcing and fair trade. Eleni based the map on these conversations and her online research. On her website she supplies profiles of cafes; with background on what these establishments do, why they do it, how and who it helps, her description of the place along with photos, she highlights, invites and encourages readers to support these places and for other businesses to follow in their stead. In May of 2020, Eleni plans on expanding her website to include a walking tour of Athens’ fair-trade businesses.
“Hopefully, this map can serve as a starting point for consumers interested in supporting businesses in Athens that prioritize ethical sourcing, and streamlines the research process for them. It also aims to mitigate the lack of awareness surrounding which businesses are actively prioritizing fair trade products and sweatshop-free labor in Athens, and make them more accessible.”