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September 1, 2012



Equal Exchange Challenges Green Mountain Coffee on the Future of Fair Trade


In a rare business-to-business plea Equal Exchange has released an open letter to Larry Blanford, the CEO of fellow New England specialty coffee company, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) in the form of a full-page color ad in the Burlington Free Press (Vermont), encouraging the multi-billion dollar brand to withdraw its support from the controversial certification agency, Fair Trade USA (FTUSA).


GMCR, based in Waterbury, VT, was itself an ‘early adopter’ and has been offering Fair Trade coffee for 14 years. To their considerable credit GMCR recently become the world’s largest purveyor of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee, handling more than 26,000,000 pounds of Fair Trade coffee annually. They have also donated generously to support various economic development efforts in coffee growing communities. However, while acknowledging these accomplishments, in the ad, Equal Exchange challenges GMCR to “open your eyes…to the controversy raging…” and “leave Fair Trade USA” in light of recent unilateral changes enacted by the agency.


Read Equal Exchange’s press release here: http://fairworldproject.org/news/single/516


Fairtrade International (FLO) Establishes Organization in the United States


In the wake of the FLO/Fair Trade USA split last year, FLO has established an US office to promote fair trade and certify FLO fair trade products in the United States. To date, several high profile fair trade companies, like Ben & Jerrry’s, Divine Chocolate and Wholesome Sweetners, have committed to the FLO system. Consumers can expect to see the FLO symbol on fair trade on shelves this fall.


FWP World Fair Trade Day Sweepstakes Winner Announced

World Fair Trade Day (WFTD) 2012 was as a rousing success. FWP, with dedicated fair trade brands Alaffia, Alter Eco, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Guayaki, Equal Exchange, and Maggie’s Organics, sponsored over 500 WFTD events. In collaboration with Intrepid Travel, FWP hosted a fair trade vacation sweepstakes, with over 7550 applicants. Anne C. from New Jersey won the sweepstakes and will be traveling to Sri Lanka this November with her husband.

Congratulations Anne!



FWP and United Students for Fair Trade (USFT) Join Forces


USFT has joined FWP as a special campaign to catalyze university students for fair trade and social justice. FWP and USFT have collaborated over the course of the past year, promoting Alta Gracia clothing universities campaigns, as well as fair trade outreach and education efforts on college campuses. Looking forward, FWP and USFT will jointly advocate for small farmers, workers and artisans, as well as in favor of fair trade policies and economic justice.  “Students have played a critical role in the North American fair trade movement over the course of the last decade, advancing the cause of small` farmers, workers and artisans, while holding corporations accountable. Partnering with FWP will further USFT’s mission, bringing fair trade to more students and campuses,” said USFT National Coordinator, Maria Louzon.


Read more: http://fairworldproject.org/news/single/522


North American Fair Trade Council Open Letter to FTUSA


In a June 15th letter, dozens of fair trade producer organizations, traders and organizations called upon Fair Trade USA to establish an inclusive and transparent governance structure and to stop plans to expand fair trade certification to coffee plantations. Since June 15th, over 250 organizations and individuals have signed on to the open letter to FTUSA.


Read the complete letter here: http://fairworldproject.org/news/single/542


Cincinnati Food Hub: A Model for Union and Cooperative Collaboration


Many communities in the United States today face severe unemployment and poor access to healthy, local food. An innovative approach to addressing sustainable green jobs and local food systems is being launched in Cincinnati by the United Steel Workers Union, United Food and Commercial Workers, Mondragon cooperative organizations from Spain, the Center for Community Change, with local activists and academics are joining forces to establish a food hub in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to the USDA, a food hub is “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced

food.” This novel approach prioritizes both fair work conditions with local and healthy food.


Learn more:




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 […]