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:


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:


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:


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:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *