Monthly Archives: December 2011

CEO of Ten Thousand Villages USA To Leave March 31

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Ten Thousand Villages’ board of directors announced the formation of a search committee to recruit a new chief executive officer (CEO) to lead its network of more than 75 retail stores in the US.  Craig Schloneger will step down as CEO on March 31, 2012.

Some of the organization’s accomplishments during Schloneger’s tenure include: record achievements in sales, artisan purchases and employee growth during a declining retail industry environment; an increase in artisan purchasing relationships; and the opening of nearly 25 new stores. (more…)

Another Major Chocolate Brand Begins Sourcing Fair Trade

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Another major chocolate company will start sourcing some of its cocoa as Fair Trade, through participation in the Fairtrade International (FLO) certification system. Callebaut® Finest Belgian Chocolate™ today announced the launch of Fairtrade certified versions of its popular 811NV (55.3% Cacao Dark), 823NV (35.1% Milk) and 70-30-38NV (70% Cacao Dark) references to confectioners, bakers and pastry chefs. With annual sales of about $5 billion for fiscal year 2010/11, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality cocoa and chocolate. More at full press release.

FLO CEO Rob Cameron Resigns

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According to a report by Bloomberg News, Fairtrade International (FLO) CEO Rob Cameron has resigned. FLO is the largest certification system for Fair Trade products worldwide, accounting for around 80-90% of global retail sales of Fair Trade products. No reasons have been published yet explaining Cameron’s departure.

The Fair Trade movement is in a time of monumental change, as the U.S. branch of FLO, Fair Trade USA, is splitting from FLO as of January 1, 2012. Discussion has flourished about the direction of Fair Trade, amidst many opportunities and challenges.

Key Stakeholder Voices Continue Speaking Out on Direction of Fair Trade After FTUSA Split from FLO

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The Fair Trade movement seems to have entered a once in 25-year time of tremendous change. As the dominant certification system experiences its first major split since its founding in 1988, producers, businesses, and other advocates continue to debate the direction of Fair Trade, differences between Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade International, and the very essence of Fair Trade. Some of the most relevant,  recent online comments to date include: (more…)

N. America Fair Trade Stakeholder Council Forms to Clarify Direction of Fair Trade

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With Fair Trade experiencing monumental change in the past few months, committed stakeholders in N. America have started a dialogue initiative to clarify the direction for the Fair Trade movement in N. America with the goal of upholding its benefits for marginalized producers around the world. The initiative, called the N. 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.

Please follow updates at FTRN’s N. America Fair Trade Stakeholder Council page

New Study Assesses Impacts of Fairtrade on Banana Producers-It’s Complicated

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Independent research commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation (the UK labeling initiative of FLO, Fairtrade International) and carried out by the Institute of Development Studies (at the University of Sussex) assessed the impact of Fairtrade on banana producers in the Windward Islands (Caribbean nations of the West Indies), Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Ghana. In short, the impacts for small farmers as well as hired labor on plantations are complicated. The study used qualitative research methods for several case studies during 2009-2011.

The study includes 3 banana coops and 3 banana plantations located in 4 different countries (coops in Dominican Republic, Winward Islands, and Ecuador; plantations in DR, Ecuador, and Ghana). It also includes a value chain analysis of the UK banana market. The report is the outcome of interviews with 107 small producers, 116 workers and numerous focus group discussions with workers’ committees and Joint Bodies within these case studies. To understand practices along the banana value chain, interviews were also carried out with importers, ripening companies and retailers that trade in Fairtrade bananas in the UK. The study itself is 160 pages.
Read the summary and Fairtrade Foundation response

Read the full IDS report

Run Across Palestine Planned for February 2012 to Benefit Fair Trade Olive Farmers

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On The Ground, in partnership with the Palestinian Fair Trade Association, is thrilled to announce a new, philanthropic event, The Run Across Palestine, (RAP) for February 2012. The event will raise funds and awareness for the fair trade olive farmers of Palestine.

Funds raised from RAP will have several immediate impacts including purchasing and planting thousands of olive trees, and provide scholarships for the children of Palestinian olive farmers. All this is designed to reestablish sustainable olive growing practices in a place who’s history, economy, culture, and identity is rooted in the ancient olive tree.

More at Run Across Palestine

FLO Board Member to be Panelist on Webinar 119 About FTUSA-FLO Split

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Fair Trade Resource Network (FTRN) announces the 3rd webinar in a series for the public to discuss implications and ask questions about the Fair Trade USA split from Fairtrade International (FLO). FLO Board Member and Chair of Fairtrade Canada, John Kay, (who replaced CEO Rob Cameron as the panelist) is the panelist on December 16, 12:00-12:50 pm eastern, with more details below.

Register for Webinar #119

(more…)

New Research Compares Major Businesses in Fair Trade Coffee

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Academics Daniel Jaffee and Philip Howard recently published insightful graphics and data to illustrate updated data on some top businesses by the amount of Fair Trade coffee purchased, and by the % of Fair Trade Coffee purchased. Some key points include:

  • Out of the top 10 world coffee roasters, 4 purchased some Fair Trade in 2008: Starbucks (19.9 M lbs.), Tchibo (12.1 M lbs.), Nestle (4.4 M lbs.) and J.M. Smucker (3.3 M lbs.). Fair Trade made up 0.003% to 5% of each of those companies coffee purchases.
  • Among U.S. coffee roasters involved in Fair Trade, the percentage of their coffee purchases in 2010 made as Fair Trade ranged from 100% to to 0.5%, with volumes ranging from 0.1 to 21.3 M lbs.
  • Starbucks, the largest purchaser of Fair Trade coffee in the world up until 2010, saw its volume of Fair Trade coffee purchases increase every year from2004 to 2009, before declining almost 50% in 2010.

See graphics and more data in Jaffee and Howard report.