January 1, 2012
With Fair Trade experiencing monumental change in the past few months, some committed stakeholders in North America started a dialogue initiative in December 2011 to clarify the direction for the Fair Trade movement in North America with the goal of upholding its benefits for marginalized producers around the world. The initiative, called the North America Fair Trade Stakeholder Council, will begin with around 40-50 nonprofits, advocacy organizations, committed companies, producer/farmer/worker groups, academics and others, who will hold conference calls and email discussions over several months before attending an in-person summit April 30 – May 2, 2012. Fair Trade Resource Network (FTRN), Fair World Project (FWP), and Domestic Fair Trade Association (DFTA) comprise the Organizing Committee leading the initiative. At present, the Council seeks to advance these 4 goals:
- Define fair trade and the movement, what they are and what they are not
- Organize the North American fair trade movement under a coordinated infrastructure with a common vision
- Reach agreement on a plan for cooperation and accountability within the movement
- Develop a clear external message for the movement
As the Council gets more organized and more momentum, it intends to periodically share its major ideas & highlights with the public, and to occasionally invite public comment. In balancing efficiency with inclusiveness and transparency, the Council intends to maintain open, clear and transparent communication channels with stakeholders in other organizations, as well as other producer and consumer regions, to collaborate as much as possible.
Organizations (to date) participating in the Council:
Bon Appétit Management Company
Ben & Jerry’s
Canaan Fair Trade
Canadian Fair Trade Network
CATA – the Farmworker Support Committee
Catholic Relief Services
Community to Community Development
Cooperative Coffees Dean’s Beans
Domestic Fair Trade Association
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
Fair Trade Burlington
Fair Trade Federation
Fair Trade Los Angeles
Fair Trade San Diego
Fair Trade Resource Network
Fair World Project
Farmer Direct Co-operative
Food Chain Workers Alliance
JUSTA Fair Trade
Kusikuy Clothing Company
Made by Hand International Co-op
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
Once Again Nut Butter
Presbyterian Church USA
Rural Advancement Foundation International
United Students for Fair Trade (USFT)
Vermont Coffee Company
World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)
The Council is not accepting new members for the rest of this early phase through May 2, but will probably welcome new participants if the initiative continues beyond May 2.
How other stakeholders can participate:
- Look for news on this page (or FTRN or DFTA pages) during January-April 2012.
- Sign-up for updates on Council progress, and invitations for public input on issues by signing up for enewsletters from FWP, DFTA or FTRN.
- See if the Council gains enough momentum to expand formal participation after May’s summit of the tentative members.
- Contact FWP at [email protected] or FTRN at [email protected] or DFTA at [email protected] with any comments or questions.