Like many of you, we have been reflecting back on what we have accomplished this year, a time of opportunity and change in the fair trade movement.
We have continued our work holding fair trade labelers accountable to the wider movement. In late 2011, we announced that we would no longer recognize Fair Trade USA as a valid certifier of fair trade. Although Fair Trade USA, then Transfair, was the first fair trade labeler in the US, we feel that they have moved away from the original vision of fair trade at the same time as other fair trade labels, businesses, and advocates have pushed the bar higher. We continue to monitor Fair Trade USA along with other labels in the market. As part of our monitoring, we recently sent IMO a letter regarding certification of private label chocolate bars. Their response and our follow up letter are also posted on our website.
At the same time, we have worked to promote collaboration within the movement through initiatives such as co-organizing the Fair and Alternative Trade Alliance, a group that held its first fair trade summit in the spring. We also work to promote dedicated companies. We worked with six of these companies for our first annual World Fair Trade Day joint promotion in May. As part of the World Fair Trade Day events, we ran a sweepstakes and took the winners to Sri Lanka in November to visit Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps fair trade coconut projects there.
In recognition of the need for cross-movement collaboration to create true system change, this year we also unveiled our Just Economy interactive tool describing four program areas that we aim to address: fair trade, sweatshop free apparel, family farms, and labor justice. To address all four program areas, we have been involved with various campaigns, including partnerships with Alta Gracia and United Students for Fair Trade, membership in the Domestic Fair Trade Association, and active support of other organizations’ campaigns including work to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Raise the Bar Hershey’s campaign.