Fair World Project News Roundup
Enter Email

 Watch the Video


“Free Trade” Agreements Move Forward

Despite widespread protest from farmers, environmentalists and workers, the Obama Administration pushed through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The new FTAs expand upon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which has led to weakened environmental standards, increased poverty in rural communities and watered down labor laws. A cross border alliance of farmers, consumers and fair traders have increasingly called for a renegotiation of NAFTA to ensure that farmers’ livelihoods are respected and maintained.

Read more and take action at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Campaign.

Fair Trade Shrimp on the Horizon

Fair trade continues to spread beyond coffee and tea. Soon, consumers may be able to fi nd fair trade certified organic or ecologically raised shrimp from Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia. Certified coops must adhere to IFOAM aquaculture standards and use bioremediation techniques to sustainably recycle waste into nutrients for local farms. Fisher coops have long looked for market access for their product, as the global marketplace is dominated by large-scale farmed fi sh operations. Fairtrade shrimping off ers a clear ecological alternative for consumers looking for ethical shrimp. Fairtrade International is focusing exclusively on shrimp during this pilot phase. IMO Fair for Life has a generic standard that is applicable for all fish and shellfish.

Read more here.

TEDx Tackles the Plight of Farmworkers

On Friday, October 14, at Mills College in Oakland, TEDxFruitvale: Harvesting Change brought together farmworkers, farmers, activists, artists, students, professors, filmmakers, and entrepreneurs to celebrate the people upon whom we depend to harvest our food. In three sessions – Meet, Movement, and Money – a diverse cast of speakers provided a 360-degree view of farmworkers today and throughout history; compared labor’s progress with other social justice movements; and ended by discussing how businesses could embrace fair labor practices. 

Watch the webcast here.

Perils and Pitfalls in Fair Trade Cotton 

A December 15th article by Bloomberg News exposed what it portrayed as forced child labor in an organic and fair-trade cotton program in Burkina Faso, which provided raw material for the lingerie line Victoria’s Secret. The US Department of Homeland Security is also investigating the matter. However, Fairtrade International (FLO) and the Burkina National Union of Cotton Workers have countered the allegations within the Bloomberg piece. While the jury may be out on the specifics in this case, fair trade has opened the eyes of many to the risks of child labor in various commodities, including cotton.

Read more here.

Equal Exchange’s Campaign for Authentic Fair Trade

Equal Exchange, one of the founding fair trade organizations in the United States, has issued a call to action to ensure that small farmer co-operatives remain at the center of the fair trade movement. Equal Exchange believes that cooperative organization is essential for small farmers to survive and thrive, and the cooperative model is an important vehicle for economic empowerment and social change.

Read more here.

“Fair Trade Says No to GMOs”

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals where the DNA has been artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature. Today, the majority of corn and soy grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered to produce pesticide and/or withstand high doses of weed killer. This corn and soy is found in countless processed foods such as cereals, baby foods, breads, chips, and many other products. GMOs are prohibited under FLO and IMO’s fair trade standards. To push back the spread and negative impact, a number of organizations and companies, including the Domestic Fair Trade Association and the Organic Consumers Association, have banded together to demand labeling of GMO products, including a petition to the US FDA and a citizen ballot initiative in California. 

Read more about California Ballot Iniative here.


Fair Cities


    What will the just economy of the future look like? We asked for your suggestions for cities across North America that are living examples of fair trade values in action. Is yours on the list? MINNEAPOLIS/ST PAUL, Minnesota Minneapolis-St. Paul is a hotbed of fair trade activity. For decades now, local nonprofits like the […]

It’s Time for Wages With Dignity


by Ryan Johnson Quietly, hidden behind the headlines that feature presidential candidates bemoaning the state of our country and our economy, voters in several states are no longer waiting on politicians. They’re taking matters into their own hands and launching minimum wage ballot initiatives to create the economic change people sorely need. The impetus for […]

The Business Case for Raising the Minimum Wage


by David Bronner At Dr. Bronner’s, the company I run with my family, we believe that we can only prosper in the long run if we contribute to the prosperity of society as a whole. It’s why we strive to compensate all our staff fairly, cap executive compensation at five times the lowest paid position, […]

“Berta Did Not Die. She Multiplied.”


A Tribute to the Work of Berta Cáceres, Indigenous Rights Leader by Ryan Zinn Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home on March 3, 2016 in the community of La Esperanza, Honduras. Berta cofounded the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) in 1993, a grassroots organization that struggled for indigenous rights […]

Lucky – A Guest Worker’s Story


By David Mohrmann Though he had not wanted to leave his wife and children for six months, had not wanted to sleep on a cot in a room with three other men, had not wanted to work long days under difficult conditions, Miguel said he was one of the lucky ones. At least he had […]

Fair Chance Employment Benefits Us All


By Terrell Hall Earning a living wage through gainful employment is crucial to the huge number of Americans struggling to make ends meet, including the 630,000 women and men who will come home from prison this year. A staggering amount of employment challenges await the formerly incarcerated because of their felony convictions. Particularly hard hit […]

Policy Corner: Farms in California Prepare for $15/Hour Minimum Wage


By Kerstin Lindgren California legislators, responding to the growing Fight for $15 and Raise the Wage movements, passed a law earlier this year that will guarantee all workers in the state a minimum wage of $15 an hour. This is great news for farmworkers in the country’s largest agricultural state. But will it be a […]

From Weaving to Seed-Saving, Climate Change, and Fighting Monsanto


A Guatemalan Woman’s Story of Empowerment Through Organizing an interview with Yolanda Sebastiana Calgua Morales Working together in cooperatives is an empowering aspect of the fair trade movement for farmers and artisans around the world. On a recent trip to Guatemala, Dana Geffner, Executive Director of Fair World Project, sat down with Yolanda Sebastiana Calgua […]

Radio CATA


A Radio Station to Empower the Latino Community By Meghan Hurley In November of 2015, CATA, The Farmworkers Support Committee, officially launched Radio CATA, its own Spanish language non-commercial low-power FM radio station in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The radio station began as a way to reach out to the immigrant community and engage them in […]

Small is Beautiful: But Can Its Rules be Applied to the Fashion Industry?


Contributing writer, Safia Minney, Founder and Director of People Tree, argues that we must make and buy clothes while being conscious of their humanity and sustainability. People Tree is working with small-scale organic farmer, artisan and tailor fair trade groups in eight countries. This year is People Tree’s 25th anniversary in Japan where I started […]