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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 Trade for Farmers and Soil

Plowing field with oxen

Small-scale organic farming and regenerative agricultural practices combat our climate crisis and help feed the world. Here are just a few of the ways that fair trade producers and their brand partners are collaborating to grow ethical supply chains through regenerative organic agricultural methods, and producing goods that we can all feel good about. This […]

The Hidden History Made at Sakuma Brothers Farms

Picking blueberries: Copyright David Bacon

History was made on September 12, 2016 with the election of Familias Unidas por la Justicia to be the union representing berry pickers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Washington state. Three perspectives on what that means for farmworkers, farmers, and our food system. History was made on September 12, 2016 with the election of Familias […]

Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

Food Wastage Footprint and Climate Change, Rome FAQ

As a child, you likely heard some variation of the cliché, “Eat all your food; there are starving people in the world.” While hunger remains one of humanity’s greatest challenges, the underlying causes are not as clear as one might think. Written by Ryan Zinn As a child, you likely heard some variation of the […]

Fair Cannabis?


For decades, workers have flocked to Northern California and Southern Oregon to work the fall cannabis harvest. Some are migrants on their seasonal tour. Others are driven by an interest in cannabis culture, or by the promise of lucrative pay. While some “trimmers” have had pleasant, safe and profitable experiences, many have not. Written by […]

Sustainable Public Procurement:

Sustainable Public Procurement

An Understated and Effective Way to Grow Fair Trade Sales of fair trade products have grown in leaps and bounds, especially in Europe. While this growth is encouraging, supply from producers in the Global South is well ahead of demand from consumers in the North. How do we close this gap? Here’s a practical guide […]

Trading Down: How Unfair Trade Hurts Farmers

United States farm incomes sharply declined in 2016 for the third year in a row. Prices for wheat and corn are currently at ten-year lows, and in many cases U.S. farmers are paid below the cost of production for what they produce. While these low prices hurt U.S. farmers, when the crops are exported by […]

Grow Ahead: Crowdfunding Climate Resilience

Fair World Project is launching Grow Ahead, an online crowdfunding platform. For the first time, individual consumers can forge an intimate link with front-line farmer groups, directly funding farmer initiatives and supporting the global effort to address climate change on the farm. Industrial agriculture and food production is a major contributor to climate change, and […]

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, […]