Fair Trade Articles
The web abounds with rating sites for virtually everything, from beverages like wine, beer, coffee, and tea, to restaurants, to all sorts of businesses, teachers and professors, books, consumer electronics, clothing, and even more items. Most commercial websites feature some sort of rating or feedback system for their products. You can even rate churches!
Fair Trade USA Goes Rogue: New "Standards" Undermine Fair Trade Commitment to Farmers and Consumers
Fair Trade Advocates Reject Certifier Scheme to Allow "Fair Trade" Chocolate Bars to Contain No Actual Fair Trade Cocoa, Among Other Examples
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.
You can read the statement from CLAC by clicking on "Read More".
Three producer networks that co-own Fairtrade International, (Network of Asian Producers, Coordinadora Latino Americana y del Caribe de Pequeños Productores de Comercio Justo, and Fairtrade Africa), have released a statement of disappointment about Fair Trade USA's actions.
Click "Read More" to read their statement.
The following is a speech by Rink Dickinson, co-founder and co-president of Equal Exchange, given at a conference of the InterReligious Task Force on Central America, on October 22nd in Cleveland, Ohio about the current state of Fair Trade.
I want to thank IRTF for the opportunity both for myself and for Equal Exchange to be sharing some of our thoughts on the current crisis in fair trade. For Equal Exchange the InterReligious Task Force on Central America is an extremely important ally. We share a common history with IRTF in terms of our roots and our inspirations. And both of us have been at this for quite some time showing up fighting for the right thing and most of the time fighting upstream. We applaud you for your work showing up month to month, year to year and now decade to decade. Your work is vital. We need citizen involvement to have any type of world that we will want to live in and pass on to future generations. We need this involvement for our politics and social development in the U.S., for politics and social development in Central America and we need this involvement to have any hope of a live real authentic fair trade movement that connects small producers in the south with consumer/citizens in the U.S. IRTF is a model of that type of involvement and one that needs to spread to other U.S. cities and communities.
* * * Public Statement for Immediate Release * * *
United Students for Fair Trade Withdraws Support from Fair Trade USA/Transfair - Calls for Reform to Fair Trade Standards
As an independent and integral voice in the Fair Trade movement, United Students for Fair Trade has held many meetings to conclude on where we stand on Transfair/Fair Trade USA's recent decision to leave FLO.
We are deeply concerned by FT USA's move to leave FLO and many other decisions made preceding it.
We have analyzed the potential consequences of the new changes and have decided that the moves FT USA is making will be detrimental to the progress the movement has achieved for producers and artisans all over the world. These lowered standards undermine the Fair Trade values producers, activists, and consumers have advocated for since the inception of the Fair Trade movement in the late nineties. Since this time, public outcry from community stakeholders to uphold the integrity of the standards have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears at Transfair/Fair Trade USA. We have therefore concluded that until these community stakeholders - small scale farmers, producers, workers, community and student activists, and 100% Fair Trade businesses - can reconvene to assess these changes, we can no longer in good conscience promote Transfair/Fair Trade USA products.
The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA), which licenses use of "fair trade" seals, modify the authorized language that accompanies seals provided for personal-care products to make clear that such products may contain only 2-5% Fair Trade Certified ingredients. The organization has agreed to do so.
While I sit listening to my coffee roaster sing its song... like 100 maracas in unison, I ponder the fate of my coffee business and, more importantly, the future of coffee growers in Honduras (including myself). For those who do not know, coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world next to oil. Few people know how significantly coffee affects our lives. Coffee in developing nations like Honduras is akin to oil in that prices for this crop have the power to make or break the lives of millions of farmers, including about 100,000 families in Honduras alone.
Being a conscious consumer isn't too hard when it comes to food and paper goods. But with eco friendly clothing, the best option for a conscious consumer who's not a nudist, it gets a little more complicated. The typical shopping mall does not tend to have the most environmentally or socially responsible shopping options. True, in some areas, there are plenty of stores selling eco-friendly clothing (be sure to take your cloth bags!). But for most people, the best way to find a good variety of eco-friendly and organic clothing choices is to shop online.
Advertising by consumer product companies that calls attention to the "green" benefits or "social impact" of products is on the rise, as the media, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. ("NAD") have all recognized.
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