Author Archives: Renee

Update on Site Content

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The Fair Trade Federation is in the process of reviewing the great information and resources on this site — and we’re committed to keeping this information available to the public. Please stay tuned for updates!

FTRN to Close at End of May

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The staff and Board announce that Fair Trade Resource Network will be shutting down as of May 31, 2014. While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to advance Fair Trade from our own organization, we commit to supporting Fair Trade through other organizations and activities. We are proud of all that FTRN has accomplished over 15 years, in partnership with you, allied organizations, and thousands of individuals.

The main reason we are closing is that FTRN has been unable to attract sustainable funding. A relatively small movement has become quite fragmented in recent years, making it very difficult to sustain an inclusive, umbrella Fair Trade education & advocacy organization. We hope that by closing, we free up resources, and space, for Fair Trade interests to reassess, strengthen and grow.

We are proud of the work that FTRN has done over the years to provide resources to the movement and support all systems in Fair Trade. Along with other partners, we have seen growth and diversification in Fair Trade. We appreciate the support and advocacy of all of our supporters and want to encourage all of you to stay engaged with the movement. To that point, below is a list of organizations, active in Fair Trade education and advocacy, that we recommend you follow, or participate with, to continue the mission of making Fair Trade the rule rather than the exception.

Canadian Fair Trade Network

Catholic Relief Services and other faith-based organizations

Fair Trade Campaigns

Fair Trade Federation

Fair World Project

Green America

Certifiers (Fair Trade USA, Fairtrade America, Fair for Life, etc.)

FTRN, in partnership with tens of thousands of individuals, and hundreds of organizations, has achieved a lot with little resources, including:

–          Coordinating and supporting World Fair Trade Day events that have grown to include over 100,000 people at over 1000 events across N. America.

–          Building the premiere website, FTRN.org, for inclusive Fair Trade education, with unique visitors increasing every year to around 100,000.

–          Co-hosting with partners all major movement conferences and summits in the U.S., like Fair Trade Futures (over 750 people in 2011 and 2006), and the Fair & Alternative Trade Alliance Summit in 2012 (with 50 leaders attending).

–          Creating unique educational resources, like the annual wall calendar, photo contest, webinars about key issues, a definitive booklet overview of Fair Trade, the only free Power Point show overview, and more, all used by thousands of people.

We will attempt to pass along any interesting materials and assets to partner organizations.

We accomplished these successes with critical support, partnership, funding and participation of businesses, nonprofits, certifiers, faith groups, students, academics and individual advocates. We wholeheartedly extend our deep appreciation for those people who teamed up with FTRN over the years.

Fair Trade remains a deeply inspiring concept. Let’s commit ourselves to further advancing Fair Trade principles in other ways, for the benefit of marginalized producers!

Dr. Bronner’s – Organic & Fair Trade Pioneer

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Photo: David Bronner, President, Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s started sourcing certified organic ingredients for its products in 2000 out of a desire to support sustainable agriculture without synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides. While this was a great first step towards sustainability, thecompany realized that questionable pricing, wages, and working conditions for farmers and workers producing our raw ingredients were not being addressed. Rather than support a supply chain motivated only by profit, Dr. Bronner’s wanted to create a supply chain that offered fairness and empowerment for its farmers, workers, and their communities.

In 2006, Dr. Bronner’s committed to sourcing major raw materials from certified Fair Trade and organic projects around the world that ensure fair prices, living wages and community benefits for farmers, workers and their families. Now, when customers purchase Dr. Bronner’s products, they are supporting these more just and vibrant producer communities around the world.

Dr. Bronner’s has created or partnered with various Fair Trade organic projects all over the world: in Sri Lanka for coconut oil, in Ghana for palm oil, in Palestine and Israel for olive oil, in India for mint oil, in Kenya for avocado, tea tree and coconut oils, in Ecuador for sugar cane alcohol, and in Zambia for beeswax. In fact, an estimated 10,000 people around the world benefit directly from Dr. Bronner’s various Fair Trade projects. Further, the company is supporting the development of domestic Fair Trade programs in North America as well.

To date, the Fair Trade premiums paid to Dr. Bronner’s projects have helped local communities realize various important efforts: drilling fresh-water wells, setting up composting operations that improve farmers’ soils and incomes, renovating schools, purchasing medical equipment for local health clinics, and providing mosquito nets to help prevent the spread of malaria – to name just a few.

Sourcing Fair Trade is one of the important ways in which the Bronner family’s current generation is able to realize founder Emanuel Bronner’s vision of constructive capitalism, in which “you share the profits with the workers and the Earth from which you made it!”

Once Again Nut Butter Donates Over 20,000 Pounds of Peanut Butter to Natural Disaster Victims

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During the month of April, Once Again Nut Butter donated over 21,000 pounds of peanut butter to the charity, Feed the Children.  The organization will be using the forty-four, 480-pound drums donated, to support victims in natural disasters.  They are working to send nut butter to the victims of the massive typhoon in the Philippines, as well as to victims of the mudslides in Washington State.

Due to the volume of butter, Feed the Children will be using this product in some of their other feeding programs in the United States.  While they cannot guarantee that the peanut butter will go to the victims in the Philippines, they are working hard to try and make that happen.

Once Again Nut Butter investigated many international feeding programs to try and assist victims in the Philippines disaster and found nearly all charities were looking for cash donations rather than food contributions due to customs issues.  Feed the Children, however, was delighted to receive this donation.

Feed The Children’s domestic programs provide disaster and emergency assistance to people in need. In fiscal year 2013, the organization distributed 98 million pounds of food and supplies with a total value of $215 million to over 10 million individuals in the U.S. Feed The Children is also active in education, distributing backpacks to homeless children and offering free books and supplies to educators through its Teacher Stores.

Around the world, Feed the Children provides nourishing meals every school day to more than 350,000 children. In fiscal year 2013, the organization distributed over $129 million in food, medicine, and other essentials to children in 23 countries around world. The international programs, including child sponsorships, meet the immediate needs of children while also addressing the root causes of poverty through education and livelihood development.

6-Min. Video on Free Trade v. Fair Trade Produced by Fully Committed Fair Trade Organizations

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In a 2014 video, 6 min. long, produced by Fair World Project, various senior representatives of dedicated Fair Trade brands and organizations explain how free trade has hurt marginalized producers, and how Fair Trade is a positive alternative.

More at FWP video

PACT Apparel Launches New Organic Cotton, Fair Trade Certified Line Carried in Whole Foods

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PACT brand announced this month that it is launching a line of organic cotton apparel manufactured in a Fair Trade Certified facility. The line will include 19 product styles featuring 78 different items. A preview of the line featuring custom designed women’s t-shirts for Spring retailing at 14.99 launched March 7, 2014, exclusively at select Whole Foods Markets. Joe Dickson, Senior GlobalQuality Standards Coordinator for Whole Foods Market, said “We are excited to be the exclusive launch partner of PACT’s new line which also represents the first time Whole Foods Market has sold Fair Trade Certified apparel.”

On July 1, 2014, the Fair Trade Certified line will be expanded to include its underwear, leggings, camisoles, men’s t-shirts, long johns and baby products. The expanded line will be available at retailers across the US and on PACT’s website.

From seed-to-shelf, PACT follows every step of the manufacturing process in a supply chain that is fully GOTS and Fair Trade Certified by third party auditors. All of the cotton for PACT’s Fair Trade Certified line is sourced from Chetna Organic — a cooperative of 15,000 organic cotton farmers in India who practice non-GMO organic agriculture.

The Fair Trade Certified line is produced in a certified factory in India that has led the movement for the ethical and sustainable production of garments. Factory workers are permanent employees as opposed to migrant laborers, their families are covered by factory-provided health insurance, and the children of workers receive free education through high school.

More at MENAFN post

FWP Analysis Compares Fair Trade & Ecosocial Certifications on How Committed Brands Are Distinguished

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Fair World Project (FWP) has published some analysis on how well different Fair Trade and eco-social seals distinguish committed brands (that is brands that are committed to building a just economy in all policies and practices) from conventional brands (that is brands that offer some certified products or ingredients but in other supply chains and practices show a lack of commitment to Fair Trade principles). The analysis currently compares 7 certifications across 8 questions about a brand’s practices throughout all its supply chains, company history, minimum percentage requirements for multi-ingredient products, focus on small producers, and more.

More at FWP post

Fairtrade International Launches Commodity Sourcing Program

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Fairtrade International recently announced the first commitments to its new commodity sourcing model. Rather than focusing on all the ingredients for a multi-ingredient final product, Fairtrade Sourcing Programs means companies can now make big commitments to use Fairtrade cocoa, sugar or cotton across product ranges or even their whole business. Already at launch nine companies have signed on to increase their Fairtrade purchases starting with initial 2014 volumes set to deliver $1.2m in additional Fairtrade Premium to cocoa farmers by the end of this year.

The associated label, shown at left for cocoa ingredients, looks somewhat different than the FAIRTRADE product label,  under which all commercially available ingredients in a multi-ingredient final product that could be FAIRTRADE must be FAIRTRADE. The U.S. market, administered by Fairtrade America, is not presently allowing use of the label for Fairtrade Sourcing Programs.

Mars and major German, Swiss and Japanese retailers and brands were the first to make serious commitments to cocoa farmers under Fairtrade’s new commodity sourcing model. Swiss company Switcher was also announced recently as the first to pioneer the new approach in cotton.

The early commitments alone will increase Fairtrade cocoa sales sixfold in Germany in 2014 and deliver 14% growth to Fairtrade cocoa farmers worldwide, by close to 6000 metric tonnes (MT). Many of these companies have set multi-year growth targets so Fairtrade cocoa farmers will benefit from year-on-year increases to overall volumes of cocoa sales.

More at Fairtrade International post

World Fair Trade Day Plans & Resources Announced for May 2014

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Fair Trade Resource Network is delighted to announce plans and resources for World Fair Trade Day in N. America, with events taking place May 3-18, 2014. Download the free World Fair Trade Day Activities Guide for tips, ideas, and resources! You can also order WFTD promotional stickers and postcards, and Fair Trade products – free of charge – at www.ftrn.org/wftd.

Across N. America, advocates are inspiring around 100,000 people to participate in Fair Trade events from May 3-18. Please join us in supporting the largest Fair Trade event in N. America each year. With over 1 million producers around the world already benefiting from Fair Trade, it’s time to raise our voices and vote with our dollars until all trade is fair! This year, individuals as well as organizations will host hundreds of events to celebrate Fair Trade.

We invite you to host WFTD events during May 3-18 – including Fair Trade festivals, fashion shows, speeches, food and drink tastings, film showings, sports games, neighborhood crawls, spa nights and concerts and much more – to promote Fair Trade and campaign for trade justice together with farmers and artisans around the world.

More at WFTD

Fair Trade Schools Campaign Launched in U.S.

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Fair Trade Campaigns, a national network of Fair Trade advocates in 170 towns and campuses across the United States, announced its newest campaign – Fair Trade Schools. Mirroring campaigns of Fair Trade Towns, and Fair Trade Colleges & Universities, Fair Trade Schools will empower K-12 students, teachers and staff to raise awareness of Fair Trade and grow demand for Fair Trade products.  The campaign launched on February 4th with 15 active campaigns in schools around the country, including 10 pilots at Phillips Exeter in Exeter, NH; Cardinal Newman in Healdsburg, CA; Teaneck High School in Teaneck, NJ; Wakeland High School in Frisco, TX; Media Elementary in Media, PA; Community School in Sun Valley, ID; St. Mary’s College High in Berkeley, CA; The Lawrenceville School in Princeton, NJ; Media-Providence Friends School in Media, PA; and Mercy Vocational High School in Philadelphia, PA.

More at Fair Trade Schools news post