Fair Trade USA's decision to leave the international Fair Trade co-operation has drawn widespread condemnation from many Fair Trade producer networks, including the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Fair Trade Producers (CLAC). It is inconceivable that an organisation who's organizational values include striving "to always act ethically and we value relationships built on honesty, mutual respect and trust" would advance a program without the knowledge or consent of the very producers it aims to support.
And here is the statement from CLAC:
San Salvador, El Salvador
September 22nd, 2011
The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Fair Trade Producers (CLAC) is a founding member and co-owner of Fairtrade International, and is strongly committed to the future of Fair Trade for disadvantaged producers.
The CLAC represents democratically organized small farmers, and addresses the strengthening and development of grassroots organizations promoting their products and values; does advocacy within the framework of fair trade, being strongly committed to self-management and empowerment of Small Farmers' Organizations.
The CLAC is also committed to the mandate of its last Assembly on November 2010, where delegates from 70 organizations representing more than 119.761 farmers, reaffirmed their support to saying No to the Certification of Plantations and Contract Production of certified products in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Therefore, we as CLAC join the regret caused by the departure of FAIRTRADE USA and we express the fact that we cannot share its new vision of expansion, since it threatens the empowerment, development and self-management of small organized producers.
We also feel it is the right moment to propose a review of the current system requesting FLO to stop the certification of plantations (HL) in Latin America and the Caribbean, to commit itself by not certifying contract production (CP) of any product and to serve the healthy interests of small organized producers; thus CLAC will commits itself to actively continue assisting FLO in promoting and making Fair Trade grow in the world, fulfilling the mission of empowering disadvantaged producers and generating development through trade and self-management, and also representing workers of already certified plantations, so they may have better organizational opportunities and decision making on their future.
We propose to continue working together for a global fair trade that respects and promotes the original values and principles that brought us together,
On behalf of the CLAC,
Merling Preza Ramos