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Here you will find featured articles on Fair Trade.

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!

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

Fairtrade International Makes Major Changes to Strengthen Hired Worker Standards

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Fairtrade International has overhauled its Fairtrade Standard for Hired Labor to strengthen the position of workers in Fairtrade certified plantations and estates producing tea, bananas and other fruit, cut flowers, herbs, vegetables and sports ball factories. The newly revised standard includes detailed requirements to guarantee workers’ right to freely organize and collectively bargain. Certified producer companies must not only declare this right publically to workers, but allow unions to meet with workers and offer to engage in a collective agreement process with worker representatives if there is none in place.

Fairtrade International is also introducing a new methodology to set living wage benchmarks and a clear process for plantations to progress towards a living wage. The new methodology has been developed and benchmarks have already been set in some areas. Fairtrade International is now in the process of calculating rural living wage benchmarks for each region with Fairtrade certified plantations.

More at Fairtrade International post

Canada Fair Trade Movement Strengthens Its Organization at Annual Conference

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The Canadian Fair Trade Network (CFTN) continued its inspiring developments in organizing and collaborating across the country’s Fair Trade community. The 2014 CFTN National Conference brought over 100 people together for 3 days in January in Toronto. Attendees focused on: sharing business perspectives in fair trade; bringing together key advocates, business representatives, academics, students and certifiers from across the movement; conducting the CFTN Annual General Meeting and vision and strategy session; hosting a Fair Trade Expo with around 15 vendors; collaborating across Fair Trade Towns, Schools, and Campuses; and advocate skill building and community engagement.

FTRN strongly believes that the fragmented and under-resourced U.S. Fair Trade community would achieve a lot more if it were organized and collaborating like Canada’s movement.

More at CFTN Conference

Certification Comparison Tool Published by FWP

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An online tool was recently published to compare some aspects of certification programs for Fair Trade and ecosocial labels in the U.S. and Canada markets. The tool, published by Fair World Project (FWP), a program of Organic Consumers Association, currently compares 6 certifications across 8 criteria. The tool presents both objective factors as well as FWP’s opinions on how well each label meets FWP’s expectations.

The tool focuses on certification policies related to multi-ingredient products, so doesn’t presently address scores of other criteria on how labels compare. The tool currently compares Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade Certified”, Fairtrade America’s FAIRTRADE, IMO’s “Fair for Life”, Ecocert, UTZ Certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified, and is updated as of November 2013.

More at FWP online tool

Fair Trade Minimum Price for Coffee Again Benefiting Farmers

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One of the key benefits of Fair Trade is to guarantee producers a minimum floor price when global commodity prices drop. In some years, when commodity prices are high, this benefit is more psychological rather than material. This year for coffee farmers, the benefit is again material and very important.

The small scale farmers that make up the majority of global coffee production remember all too well the calamity of 2001 when prices plummeted to 45 cents a pound, throwing hundreds of thousands of farmers and landless workers into poverty or destitution.

More recently, in May 2011, the price of Arabica coffee on the New York futures market hit a 34-year high of almost US$3.09 per pound. But, as if to justify its volatile reputation, the coffee price has plummeted in 2013 to less than US$1.10 per pound – nearly 65 percent off the 2011 high (see the latest market price here).

The price collapse this year is particularly unwelcome for farmers in Central America, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru where leaf rust, a fungal disease that destroys coffee trees also known as La Roya, has already wiped out up to 30-40 percent of the crop, according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO).

Fairtrade certified cooperatives can count on at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price of US$1.40 per pound for washed Arabica coffee sold on Fairtrade terms (30 cents more if organic), plus an extra 20 cents per pound Fairtrade Premium to invest as they see fit, 5 cents of which is dedicated to productivity and quality investments.

More at Fairtrade International post

Fair Trade Month 2013 Advocacy Resources Offered by Several Organizations & Campaigns

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Every October in the U.S. is Fair Trade Month! The resources below can help you spread awareness of Fair Trade, attend an existing event, or host your own event.

Get free Fair Trade products


Use free educational materials


Be part of a national campaign


Gain publicity for your organization or store


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Free Materials & Products Available for Fair Trade Month Celebrations

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Fair Trade Resource Network and Fairtrade America invite the public to celebrate National Fair Trade Month this October, as we raise awareness and encourage more people to enjoy Fair Trade products in their daily lives. In doing so, we all support many families to have better living standards.  Fairtrade America and Fair Trade Resource Network are partnering to support and publicize events and activities throughout the month.  Please read below to find out about free product samples, educational materials and other support!

We encourage you to participate in any or all of the following ways:

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FLO Releases Annual Report for 2012-13

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Fairtrade International (FLO), the largest certifier of Fair Trade products worldwide, just released its 2012-13 Annual Report. The 20-page report is one of the best sources of global statistics on producer organizations, smallholder and worker representation, retail sales by country and product type, and more.

This edition is the first such FLO annual report that excludes activity from Fair Trade USA, which left the FLO system at the end of 2011.

A few highlights include:

  • Over 1.3 million farmers and workers in 70 countries are part of 1,149 Fairtrade producer organizations
  • In addition to sales income, these producer groups benefitted from around 80 million euros in Fairtrade Premium money in 2012.
  • Consumer sales increased significantly in key markets, including: Germany (33 percent), the Netherlands (26 percent), Sweden (28 percent), Switzerland (15 percent), and the UK (16 percent).
  • Excluding the USA, average sales in all other Fairtrade markets increased by over 20 percent compared to 2011.
  • Consumers showed their support for Fairtrade by spending 4.8 billion euros on Fairtrade products in 2012.
  • Fairtrade products became available in Kenya and will be available in India later this year, providing consumers in those markets the chance to buy Fairtrade products from Fairtrade producers in the same country.
  • Nespresso, Ben and Jerry’s, and Maltesers made major new commitments with Fairtrade.
  • The Fairtrade Access Fund has given US$5.65 million in loans to small producer organizations in Latin America to address their most pressing financial needs.
  • More than half of all bananas sold in Switzerland’s retail chains are from Fairtrade producers, and over 40 percent of sugar bags in the UK bear the FAIRTRADE Mark. Globally, sales of Fairtrade flowers grew by over 50 percent.
  • Over 30,000 Fairtrade products are now sold in more than 125 countries worldwide.

More at FLO post