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Fair Trade Headlines

TIP: If a story moves you, use the comment feature for that story to write a response. Dialogue is a key to growing the movement!

In this section, find Fair Trade stories that have made the headlines in major media outlets or which are key stories across the movement.

Is Fair Trade Becoming ‘Fair Trade Lite’?

- Business Week

Some proponents say the adjustments needed to bring companies like Wal-Mart and P&G aboard warp the goal of helping small farmers.

When TransFair CEO Paul Rice sits across from Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, the differences in their backgrounds couldn’t be more stark.

Scott has spent nearly his entire adult life working at the retail behemoth, with a mandate to increase sales and profits and keep costs as low as possible. Rice, after graduating from Yale University in 1983, spent 11 years working with peasant coffee farmers in Nicaragua trying to squeeze higher prices out of coffee buyers. He set up one of the first cooperatives, with 24 coffee-growing families, who sold their first batch of fair trade product to Europe in 1990 for $1.26 a pound, compared with the 10¢ a pound coffee was selling for in Nicaragua then. “It was an overnight legend in Nicaragua,” recalls Rice. (more…)

Church Groups Espouse Fair Trade

- Business Week

Religious organizations are spreading the fair trade gospel to their congregations, and even investing in some like-minded enterprises.

Under the carved wooden arches and the soft glow of the gothic St. John’s Lutheran Church in downtown Des Moines, Pastor Rachel Mithelman delivers sermons to about 500 worshipers every weekend on how to live better lives as Christians. She also tells them to buy fair trade coffee and chocolate so that poor farmers around the world are paid a reasonable price for the goods they produce. “We live our lives unjustly in so many avenues, but fair trade is one way to ensure justice, and there is no reason to buy cheap coffee on the backs of poor farmers,” says Mithelman. To back up her point, she serves fair trade coffee during the church’s fellowship hour. And fair trade chocolate is on sale through a baker’s rack display. (more…)

Video: Activists across North America Set World Record

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World Fair Trade Day in North America.  12,158 people. 150 events.  One video.

Watch this short video and see the action with your own eyes!

(more…)

Michael Conroy on Activist Campaigns and the Certification Revolution

- Social Funds

SocialFunds writer Bill Baue speaks with Michael Conroy about his new book, Branded! How the ?Certification Revolution? is Transforming Global Companies

SocialFunds.com — Certification—-it sounds boring and wonky. But in his new book Branded! How the ?Certification Revolution? is Transforming Global Companies, Michael Conroy tells an exciting story of activists campaigning against companies-and companies responding! The two sides moved from antagonism to tense collaboration in the creation of certification schemes that solved activist concerns while preserving-and often boosting-companies’ profitability. (more…)

Radiohead Supports FTRN

- Look to the Stars

“There are currently more than 2.5 million men, women and children who are forced, defrauded or coerced into various forms of labor or prostitution. Radiohead recommends checking out Amnesty International, Witness and The The Fair Trade Resource Network to learn more.”  See the full article on“Look to the Stars”

Check out Radiohead’s charity list here:

See Tom Yorke discuss the new video about child labor here:
 

John Oliver from Daily Show Supports Fair Trade

- Comedy Central

John Oliver is a regular reporter on America’s leading comedy news program on Comedy Central. In his stand-up routine, he discusses Fair Trade and the alternatives. Check it out.

Did Your Shopping List Kill a Songbird?

- The New York Times

THOUGH a consumer may not be able to tell the difference, a striking red and blue Thomas the Tank Engine made in Wisconsin is not the same as one manufactured in China — the paint on the Chinese twin may contain dangerous levels of lead. In the same way, a plump red tomato from Florida is often not the same as one grown in Mexico. The imported fruits and vegetables found in our shopping carts in winter and early spring are grown with types and amounts of pesticides that would often be illegal in the United States.

In this case, the victims are North American songbirds. Bobolinks, called skunk blackbirds in some places, were once a common sight in the Eastern United States. In mating season, the male in his handsome tuxedo-like suit sings deliriously as he whirrs madly over the hayfields. Bobolink numbers have plummeted almost 50 percent in the last four decades, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. (more…)

The Global Rose as Social Tool

- The New York Times

NAIVASHA, Kenya – The view persists that a rose is a rose is a rose. But that’s so 20th century! In this new era a rose is a global product vested with the power to bring social and environmental change.

I am not asking you to remove the romance from a rose, for that would be asking too much, but as you pick out blooms for your beloved at the supermarket, try resetting your rose associations in order to see the world as it is.

From here in Kenya’s Rift Valley, Longonot Horticulture exports 90,000 rose stems a day. Its rose bushes come in red, yellow, orange, white, pink and cerise. Whatever color bunch a London or Copenhagen supermarket needs, it will provide pronto. (more…)

Global ethical revolution is driving growth in fair-trade sales

- Drinks Business Review

From its humble beginnings in the 1950s, fair-trade has developed into a global movement. A new report by Datamonitor reveals that fair-trade sales across Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand, and Japan have experienced double digit growth since 2002. This growth is being driven by an increased consumer awareness of ethical issues and environmental concerns. (more…)

Fairtrade Profits Rise, but is the Small Farmer Missing Out?

- CommonDreams.org

Once, people laughed at the notion that fair trade could infiltrate the profit-hungry world of retail. Yet new figures from the Fairtrade Foundation will reveal tomorrow that UK consumers take the issue very seriously, spending half a billion pounds on Fairtrade-branded products last year.

However, the rush to fair trade is prompting questions about how ?fair? it really is to small farmers in developing nations. The rate of sales growth rocketed during 2007, up 80 per cent on the previous year as companies from Sainsbury’s to Virgin Atlantic stepped up their commitment to fairly traded goods. The total value of Fairtrade sales hit £490m, up from £273m in 2006. (more…)

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