is an information hub designed to grow the fair trade movement. together, we can create a market that values the people who make the food we eat and the goods we use.

Fair Trade & the Environment

Major Sponsors of
World Fair Trade Day 2009:

Oxfam America

Lutheran World Relief

Fair Trade Certified

Catholic Relief Services

Fair Trade Federation

Gifts with Humanity

Global Crafts

Dr. Bonner's Magic

Wholesome Sweeteners

Handmade Expressions


Regular Sponsors:

Respect Fair Trade Sports

Larry's Beans


Peace Coffee

Equal Exchange

Handcrafting Justice

Green America

Cooperative Coffees logo

Stories of Fair Trade Protecting the Environment in the U.S. and Overseas

Larry’s Beans Blends Green Energy, Organic Beans, and a Veggie Oil Bus into Sustainability

larrys-beans-bus-small1Larry’s Beans, of Raleigh, NC, slow-roasts its legendary blends from a passive and active solar, fully green-o-vated roasting plant using only 100% Fair Trade, Shade Grown, Organic beans, which they deliver in a veggie oil-powered school bus. Into all things to do with making the world more fun and longer-lasting-Larry’s offers Raleigh’s only Biodiesel 100 pumping station.  For more information, check out Larry’s website.

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Handmade Expressions Sources Recycled Newspaper Bags from India

Bags that save children & trees

woman-preparing-newspaperHandmade Expressions strives to source ethical products.  Conscious customers are demanding sustainable products, and the company has responded by creating several Fair Trade products made of recycled materials.  Some examples include Color Splash bags (made by patching together embroidered pieces recycled from the textile industry), Very Special Bags (made by recycling plastic and cassette tapes), and all recycled cotton journals.

However, none of these products have had as much positive impact on environmentalists and Fair Traders as Recycled Newspaper bags.  These bags are normally 12″ x 16″, and are made of several layers of newspapers printed in Hindi.  2-newspaper-bagsRetailers usually buy them to give away at their stores.  For this reason, many customers have the bags custom made in dimensions that suit the products they are selling, and they even get their logo and a socially responsible message printed on both sides of the bag.  They are a bold statement that reflects retailers’ commitment to sustainable business practices.

The bags are made by artisans in India to fund a project called Amar Jyoti, which translates to The [candle] flame that never extinguishes. This project is carried out by a school that focuses on helping children that come from poor families, children with disabilities, and rescued children from the slums.  The school provides education and health care to these underprivileged children, as well as vocational education to help them become self-sustaining when they enter adulthood.  The programs that are available for them to study are:  Art & Craft, Textile Design and Jute Bag Making, Computer Applications, Cutting & Tailoring, Electrician.

The school is successful at creating an environment where the physically impaired children can interact with the “normal” children, and where all of them can have a positive education experience. The organization also has their own clinic that helps the children with disabilities.  They even have a workshop that makes the prosthetic limbs that some children use.  This is all made possible thanks to the increased interest in Fair Trade and environmentally friendly products!

To learn more please visit Handmade Expressions’ artisan page.

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Gifts With Humanity Puts a Face on a Green, Fair Trade Activist

Kenyan Artisans Turn Trash into Over 60,000 Pins

Dancing Girl pinWhether it be peace, freedom, or the environment, it is easier to support a concept when one can put a picture to it.  Global Crafts and Gifts With Humanity hope to create a face (and body, arms, and legs) of the concept of Fair Trade by promoting one of their most popular products, the Recycled Dancing Girl Pin.

She comes from humble beginnings.  In the 1990’s a European development organization created the Kisumu Innovation Centre of Kenya (KICK) and designed products made from readily available, discarded materials including tin cans, wire, tin sheets of misprinted bottle caps, and water hyacinth, an invasive weed growing uncontrollably in nearby Lake Victoria.  By holding workshops at the centre, KICK designers taught marginalized Kisumu residents how to make jewelry, paper, and home decor, creating a workforce of craftspeople and artisans.  The occupation of “maker of crafts” became prevalent throughout Western Kenya and the KICK products were a novel addition to the traditional Kenya crafts made from wood and soapstone.  By the early 2000’s craftspeople were training apprentices to meet the demand of Europe and America for the products.

The cofounders of Global Crafts had the pleasure of seeing this evolution take place first hand as volunteers living in Kisumu.  As craftspeople approached them to ask for help in marketing their products, the two, who had left computer-related jobs to volunteer, found it easy to market the products online.  The dancing girl pin was one of the first products for Global Crafts sold online - 400 pins to the Association of Business Women - in 2000.  Since then, Global Crafts has sold more than 60,000 dancing girl products and buys an average of 2500 pieces a month.  She has been very adaptable.  She has been made into pairs of earring, pinned to greeting card, had her body shaped like a heart and a tree, and her head like a star.  She’s sprouted wings and worn Santa suits.  Her body has been made from scrap tin, tin cans, and most recently ubiquitous scratch off phone cards that litter Kenya.

To honor her and the sustainable income she has brought to many in Kenya, Gifts With Humanity will give a dancing girl pin to the first 500 visitors who submit events on FTRN’s Events Calendar for World Fair Trade Day, and then request a pin.

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Peace Coffee Bike Couriers Implement “Pedal Not Petrol”

Delivery System Saves tons of CO2 annually by Serving Like 180 Trees

close-up-bike-delivery-of-peace-coffeePeace Coffee’s bike delivery program asks couriers to pedal everyday, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year - in Minnesota, even during winter!  Minneapolis and St. Paul have created excellent bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure which makes bicycle delivery all the more appealing.  Staff wondered exactly how much they were helping the environment with their pedal pushing.

Courier Andy Lambert navigated some calculations that showed he had towed around 57,217 pounds of roasted coffee over 3,995 miles across the Twin Cities in one year.  Including a second courier in total company calculations, they estimated that 4-5 tons of CO2 were off-set each year using bike delivery versus automobile delivery.

Then they realized that CO2 data were a bit abstract.  So they did further calculations that estimated how many trees in their area could sequester the same amount of CO2.  The result showed that their bike delivery program was serving like 180 trees in reducing global warming emissions!

Peace Coffee hopes that its mantra of “Pedal not Petrol” inspires other companies to consider adding bicycle delivery to their business models.  So far, it has inspired a couple of comrades in the Fair Trade coffee world to do it! Who’s next?

To learn more please visit Peace Coffee.

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Fair Trade Resource Network

PO Box 12347 Philadelphia, PA 19119-0347