One of the powerful things about the Fair Trade model is its ability to impact both workers on the ground as well as mission-driven companies here in the U.S. looking to make a difference. RESPECT™, the first and only Fair Trade, Eco-Certified brand of sports balls by Fair Trade Sports , has found a way to do just that.
“There is tremendous opportunity as we continue to create an entirely new category of Fair Trade, sustainable sporting goods and we’re very excited about the industry’s future” said Jim Bolt, Vice President of Marketing and Sales.
In partnering with Fair Trade, the company has been able to offer customers high-quality, performance sports balls that truly give factory workers and stitchers a better deal for all of their hard work. Each RESPECT™ ball is produced in Pakistan by adult workers who earn a fair wage. This premium allows for reinvestment in local communities for much needed resources like fresh water wells, childhood education, and health care.
To test the quality and performance of the balls, Fair Trade Sports  asked Justin Morrow, of the San Jose Earthquakes, what he and his teammates thought after practicing with some RESPECT™, premium match balls. The defender stated, “we thought the ball was just as strong and well put together as any ball we've used. I like to say that the ball was very "true" which means it comes off your foot they way you expect it to, and its movement in the air is predictable.”
Aside from reaching out to professional teams and athletes, Fair Trade Sports uses another important outlet to help spread enthusiasm for, and awareness of, the Fair Trade mission: the classroom. A group from the company recently paid a visit to a kindergarten class to share their message by talking about how their sports balls are made, where they’re made, and how they get from Pakistan to the United States.
Through donating to schools and after school programs, Fair Trade Sports has been working to promote good sportsmanship, positive attitudes, and good health. This serves to not only provide school-age children with sports balls and healthy outdoor opportunities, but most importantly, it also helps to instill awareness of what it means to play "fair" both on and off the field.
“Our mission is to make the world a better place, one ball at a time," states Bolt, "to do this we will continue to make an effort to partner with other like minded companies, get involved with local communities and schools, remain mindful of our global environment, and pay respect to all those involved.”
To learn more about Fair Trade Sports and about the importance and impact of using Fair Trade Certified sports balls, visit them online at www.fairtradesports.com  and watch their introduction video (below). Whenever possible, Fair Trade Sports tries to showcase actual images of their suppliers, supporters, and Fair Trade Sports community. This video, entitled “Respect,” uses some striking imagery from the very people who help produce the sports balls, as well as athletes and others who are committed to making the world a better place one ball at a time.