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Stop the TPP

After years of protests against the TPP, the people were finally heard and Congress and the Obama administration conceded that they did not have the votes to pass it at the end of 2016. Read more on its demise…

Make Fair Pricing Part of Strategy to Eliminate Child Labor

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) calls itself the “leading organization promoting child protection in cocoa-growing communities.” With members like Mars, Hershey, Mondelez, Cargill, and Nestle, they have influence and resources backing them, yet they have not made sufficient progress in in eliminating and reducing child labor in cocoa and they have not included fair pricing as part of its strategy. Fair World Project generated over 10,000 letters to ICI asking them to do more to ensure fair prices for farmers and received this unsatisfactory response. Fair World Project continues to advocate for fair trade principles in the cocoa industry.

Tell Sakuma Brothers Farm: Farmworkers Need a Fair Contract!

Farmworkers at Sakuma Brothers Farm are still waiting for the chance to negotiate a fair contract. 10,000 Fair World Project supporters signed our petition to ask Sakuma Brothers to make good on their stated commitment to worker welfare and negotiate a fair contract.

Tell Sakuma Brothers to Recognize Familias Unidas por la Justicia!

Over 5,000 people sent emails to Sakuma Brothers farm in Washington and its CEO Danny Weeden over the 2015 growing season asking them to recognize the independent union Familias Unidas por la Justicia and to negotiate a fair contract. Over the growing season, farmworkers walked off the job several times, forcing Sakuma to renegotiate payment terms several times for different berries. However, managers continued to refuse to sit down and negotiate a comprehensive and long-term contract. FWP continues to support the workers at Sakuma Brothers and will continue to post updates and action opportunities. You can also get updates directly from Familias Unidas on their website:

Tell President Obama to Release the Text of the TPP

As the Trans Pacific Partnership was secretly negotiated, President Obama repeatedly assured the public it would not be another NAFTA-like agreement. Thousands of concerned people wrote the President to ask him to release the text of the TPP as proof. However, the text of the TPP was not made public until after negotiators had finalized it.

Tell Starbucks to Speak Out Against Unfair Trade

Over 5,000 people wrote to Starbucks in the spring and summer of 2015 asking them to speak out against Fast Track and the TPP and to use their influence to demand fair trade policies for farmers. After receiving unsatisfactory responses, many people also made follow up phone calls and Fair World Project wrote a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz. Starbucks has been unwilling to engage in this conversation and points only to their commitment to “ethical” purchases of coffee, apparently willfully ignorant of the fact that trade policies like the TPP have the potential to harm farmers beyond the point at which ethical purchasing can help. We hope that Starbucks will eventually take these concerns seriously. In the mean time, we continue to promote fair roasters who advocate for fair policies to supplement their fair buying relationships with farmers. See our coffee brand analysis to learn more:

Defeating Fast Track Now in Hands of House

Giving the President a green light to negotiate a trade deal in secret with only the help of corporate advisors rightly leaves us skeptical, especially when leaked drafts from the current Trans Pacific Partnership agreement raise red flags.

Fast Track is unpopular and the House of Representatives now has a chance to defeat it.

Tell Walmart and Children’s Place to Compensate Victims of Rana Plaza

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed killing more than 1,100 garment workers. Allies like International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) immediately advocated for changes in the industry to ensure this would not happen again as well as for victims to be compensated by brands who relied on this factory. By the one-year anniversary, brands had paid only token amounts into a fund for victims and their families. FWP supported the effort by targeting Walmart and Children’s Place and asking them to pay more. Approaching the second-year anniversary of the collapse, the fund was $9 million short. With a contribution on the two-year anniversary by Children’s Place, the fund was just $2.7 million short of the full compensation goal, showing that the demonstrations and letters by concerned consumers did have an effect. ILRF continues to lead the effort to ensure fair compensation and fair working conditions.

Tell Discoll’s to stop purchasing from Sakuma Brother’s

Farmworkers at the Sakuma Brothers berry farm in Washington state have been in a years-long struggle for fair pay and rights protection with farm owners. Tell Discoll’s to stop purchasing from Sakuma Brother’s until they negotiate a fair contract with Familias Unidas por la Justicia! Read more…

Join Vandana Shiva on the call for Seed Freedom and Food Democracy

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, invited President Obama to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26th 2015. In anticipation of this visit and in the context of the two countries’ varying views on seed freedom and food democracy, activist, author and physicist, Dr. Vandana Shiva penned an open letter to Indian Prime Minister Modi and President Obama on Seed Freedom and Food Democracy. Over 15,000 people signed on to Dr. Shiva’s letter.

Take Action: Tell the UN that Small Farmers Cool Planet and Feed the World

Over 450,000 people converged in New York in September 2014 to demand action climate from United Nations (UN) and world governments. The People’s March marked the beginning of a new era in climate activism, now including farmers, consumers and fair trade advocates.

Sign the Petition: Synthetic Biology is Not “Natural”

As consumers, we trust that when a company calls itself natural and sustainable, its products won’t contain ingredients produced via genetic engineering or synthetic biology. Method’s parent company, Ecover, has just announced that it will be introducing a new ingredient, synthetic biology-derived algal oil, into its products. Method has indicated that it will follow the same route. This oil will be produced with new, virtually unregulated, unassessed experimental extreme genetic techniques.

Federal Fair Minimum Wage Act

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would have raised the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 and raise the tipped wage as well. When Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he would not even introduce the bill in 2014, we facilitated an alert to encourage other Representatives to sign a Discharge Petition and force a vote. The procedural measure has failed and the best home for immediate action to increase wages for low-wage workers is at the state level. FWP continues to work with allies, especially the Food Chain Workers Alliance, to advocate for increased minimum wages.

The Pledge to Tell Walmart to Be Fair

For International Food Workers Week 2013, nearly 5,000 people signed our pledge to stand in solidarity with Walmart employees and the workers and farmers who supply them, in the face of chronic mistreatment and unfair payment by Walmart. Since then, Walmart has shown some hope for improvement by signing the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food agreement, but that only helps workers in one supply chain. We continue to work within the Food Chain Workers Alliance for more widespread change and support campaigns such as the worker organization Our Walmart.

Transparency for TPP and No Fast Track
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive trade agreement involving the US and 11 other countries along the Pacific Rim. Not only is it expected to have negative consequences for farmers, workers, and consumers, negotiations have been largely secret. To raise awareness for this largely hidden agreement, in 2012, FWP joined other allies in social media and street actions, as well as with an alert facilitating thousands of letters sent directly to President Obama urging him to ensure a fair trade policy that benefits farmers, workers, and consumers, and make the process more transparent. We also facilitated letter-writing to Senators and Representatives asking them to reject Fast Track, both the bill introduced in January 2014, and any compromise form that may be later introduced. Fortunately, due to strong public outcry, a few leaders in Congress, and flaws in the process, momentum for TPP and Fast Track are slowing. We continue to monitor this situation, along with negotiations for another major trade agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). You can also learn more by checking our trade policy page or by watching our Free Trade vs. Fair Trade video.

Additional Trade Policy Advocacy.

Though 2012 was the year that trade policy advocacy increased for both FWP and many of our allies, both because of the immediacy of the TPP threat as well as the introduction of a new agreement—the Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), FWP has been advocating against detrimental free trade policies and for fair policies since our inception in 2010. Past actions include an early version of a letter to Congress and Governors opposing TPP, a letter asking President Obama to postpone implementation of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement until they address grave labor rights abuses, and an alert requesting Representatives sign onto a letter issued by Reps DeLauro and Miller demanding greater transparency for the TPP process.

Letters to Starbucks CEO and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters CEO Asking Them to Support Small Farmers and Stop “Fair Trade “ Coffee Plantations.

After Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) initiated its Fair Trade For All program, which for the first time opened fair trade certification to coffee plantations, FWP facilitated a letter writing campaign asking Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, two of the largest coffee roasters that are FTUSA licensees, to decline participation in this program. More than 2,000 concerned consumers sent letters to Starbucks, Green Mountain, and FTUSA, but none have committed to exclude plantations from “fair trade” coffee. In part in response to this, FWP no longer recognizes FTUSA as a legitimate fair trade certifier. We continue to monitor and educate about the issue.

Engagement to Tell Hershey to Be Fair.

Building on and in conjunction with the Raise the Bar campaign, FWP engaged in the campaign to tell Hershey that buying cocoa from sources that exploit child workers is not acceptable. As part of this campaign, in addition to letters sent directly to Hershey’s, nearly 5,000 people wrote letters to Whole Foods Market asking them to stop carrying all Hershey’s brand products. Shortly after, Whole Foods Market announced that they would do just that, leading in turn to Hershey announcing they would certify all cocoa in coming years. FWP considers Hershey’s commitment only a partial victory and continues to monitor progress toward a truly fair supply chain.

Engagement with Fair Trade USA, Formerly Transfair USA.

When then Transfair USA announced that they would change their name to Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) and later that they would leave the Fairtrade International System, FWP and more than 10,000 concerned consumers expressed concern. The name Fair Trade USA implies FTUSA thinks they own fair trade in the US, though they simply offer a single service, certification, that one segment of a large movement actually uses. Leaving the established international fair trade system meant that they left the system where fair trade farmers actually have a voice and means FTUSA is no longer accountable to farmers or an established system of certification. These changes were indeed accompanied by the alarming announcement that FTUSA would open up certification to coffee plantations, despite demands by small-scale fair trade coffee farmers that they not. Despite broad concern expressed by consumers, authentic fair traders, farmer groups, and advocacy organizations, Fair Trade USA went ahead with each of these changes.