• Certification: A Tool with Limits

    Certification labels for consumer products are a tool that serve, on the surface, a simple purpose: to distinguish products that otherwise appear similar from one another. A conventional apple and an organic apple may taste and look identical, but a consumer may wish to choose the organic apple based on the lower environmental impact and/or lack of pesticide residue.

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  • Debate: Should the Fair Trade Model Accommodate Hired Labor on Large-scale Farms

    The fair trade movement was born from small-scale organized producers working in solidarity with Global North consumers, activists and alternative trading organizations, together pursuing the goal of creating a fair and transformational trading system.

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  • The Sweet Revolution

    In 1975, in the Republic of Paraguay, the Cooperativa Manduvira Ltda., a credit union with thirty-nine partners, was founded for the purpose of facilitating access to credit for small producers and teachers. After overcoming a few financial difficulties, in 1990 it changed its bylaws to become Cooperativa de Producción Agroindustrial, working mostly with 120 sugarcane producers who manufactured sugarcane honey.

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  • Farmworkers and the History of U.S. Labor Law

    At the height of the Great Depression, workers in the United States organized and created huge momentum to obtain historic “New Deal” laws, including the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Both laws made significant improvements to legal protections for many U.S. workers...

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  • Policy Corner: National Landscape on the Minimum Wage

    These are exciting times for those of us working to increase the earnings of low-wage workers. Strong public support for higher wages, building on local and state initiatives and victories – and even a new federal bill – all point to the incredible momentum that the minimum wage is currently enjoying.

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  • Tipped Workers Win One Fair Wage in Los Angeles

    In a city with one of the most unaffordable rents and a higher poverty rate than any other metropolitan area in the U.S., raising Los Angeles’ minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2020 is an historic victory that will uplift almost one million Angelinos who are currently living in poverty.

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  • Climate Change: Coffee Farmers Feel the Heat

    Just a stone’s throw from my own office at Fairtrade International, negotiators at this week’s United Nations (UN) climate change talks in Bonn are working around the clock to hammer out a deal for the make-or-break summit coming up in Paris this December. But as they negotiate into the wee hours of the morning, they might reflect that the strong black coffee keeping them awake is itself ...

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  • Craft Politics: Telling Important Stories through Handicrafts

    I visited communities in the most impoverished areas in the world, sat in people’s living rooms and lugged boxes for nearly a decade to learn and tell the stories of the people that made fair trade handicrafts. I believed a high quality handicraft could tell the story of not only who made it and how, but also the heart wrenching unjust realities due to policies that undermine communities and will only ...

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