Fair Trade News
Here are articles that are taking a look fair trade, its place in the marketplace and as a tool for sustainable development.
Coffee prices on the NY"C" have been skyrocketing for months; producer cooperatives struggle to keep up with the competition on the ground; and "fair trade" has reached as challenging a moment as ever. In March, FLO responded with an increase to the required social and organic premiums to meet FLO cert criteria -- resulting in a new minimum price for organic and FLO fairtrade at $1.90/lb. As happy as we are to see FLO move in this positive direction, we have to wonder what kind of impact it will have on the ground. In the article below, Santiago Paz offers insight into the hard reality of a high-price coffee market, where traditional "fair trade" methods are being challenged daily and where the future of the movement has yet to be determined.
In September, 2010, Coop Coffees and its fair trade allies were BUSY with many important events. We would be remiss to not try and get as many producer voices at the table as possible! For the Fair Trade Futures Conference (Sept 10-12), six representatives from groups that we work with were able to attend and even speak on several panels. A week later, during our annual assembly, four representatives joined our discussions on the direction of fair trade and our mutual responsibilities in shaping that direction. During their visit to Just Coffee, Policarpio of FECAFEB (Bolivia), Blanca Rosa of CECOCAFEN (Nicaragua), and Santiago Paz of CEPICAFE (Peru) "captured the ears" of the Madison media and public for an interview on a community radio station.
Alternative Grounds has been a trailblazer of the fair trade movement ever since they set up shop in Toronto 15 years ago. And it seems that energy that sparked their original plan to roast and sell fairly traded, organic coffee in a warm and welcoming cafe on Roncesvalles Ave, has many more trails to blaze! Newspaper "The Toronto Sun" recently featured Linda Burnside, owner of Alt. Grounds for her admirable efforts to turn Toronto into a fair trade town!
On September 10th 2010, over 760 Fair Traders from all over the country, the continent, and the global community squeezed into the main conference room of the Marriott in Quincy, Massachusetts to begin the largest Fair Trade extravaganza of the year…if not, in history!
As always – the SCAA annual conference is an excellent opportunity to get back in touch with friends and allies and to get “up to speed” on all that is new in the specialty coffee industry and in the wonderful world of Fair Trade. This year in particular – we were able to get a clear overview of Fair Trade landscape.
It has been a while now since scientists first warned us about climate change and its potential impact on the planet. Now that global warming is an indisputable fact, it is only a matter of time before it becomes an effective threat to our lives and environment. Unfortunately, some of the people most likely to be affected by this change are farmers living in southern countries. Fair Trade might be a part of the solution for coffee producers.
Long-time Fair Trade promoter and practitioner, Frans van der Hoff, who is best known for co-founding Max Havelaar (precursor to FLO International), recently made a visit to Canada. He was the key-note speaker in York University's "Sustainable Purchasing Symposium", which took place on Sept 24 in Toronto. He also sat down with CBC Radio's host of the program "Dispatches" to discuss the current "crisis" of the movement as large corporations' interests threaten to undermine the reason fair trade came to be in the first place: to empower and protect small-scale farmers. Note: fastforward to 10:35 min
In the current Fair Trade market, as box stores move in and companies all claim a stake in corporate social responsibility, the consumer is often left with confusing or mixed messages as to which claim or label is "legitimate." With all the different definitions of "fair" and "responsible," it's quite the challenge for businesses to know what they want to be associated with and for consumers to know what to trust. In a discussion hosted by a local NGO in Montreal, key actors of the Fair Trade and responsible consumption movements -- Coop Coffees included -- addressed these issues and the various perspectives at play.
Every year, Fair Traders all over the world join forces for "World Fair Trade Day." This year, May 9 was the special day and the Fair Trade Resource Network worked very hard to organize and promote the largest FT Coffee Break in North America. They surpassed their lofty goal of 55,000 participants and successfully reached thousands of consumers all over the continent! Congratulations FTRN and keep up the good work!
A key principle of Fair Trade is traceability; the consumer should be able to follow the path of a delicious cup of joe, bar of chocolate, or sprinkle of sugar back to the farm and coop behind the product. Peace Coffee recently launched a bright, fun, user-friendly website for people to dig deeper into their daily brew and learn about where the coffee comes from and who produces it.
Earlier in May, the Fair Trade Federation - the association of dedicated Fair Trade organizations in North America - held elections for their 2009 Board of Directors. They've posted the results and we're thrilled to see that Coop Coffees' own Monika Firl will be joining the other new and remaining members for what will surely be a productive and collaborative year of Fair Trade!
Cadbury, the British company responsable for the U.K.'s top-selling chocolate bar (the Dairy Milk) has announced that they will increase their purchases of Fair Trade certified cocoa to 15,000 tonnes by summer 2009. The company is jumping on the Fair Trade bandwagon that has caught the attention of many big shot coffee and chocolate companies. They've set up a blog devoted to the "Cadbury Cocoa Partnership" -- the name they've given their initiative to enter the Fair Trade market. Below, an article from BBC News gives further details of the announcement.
It's not often that Fair Trade takes the spotlight in mainstream news and media. On April 20, NPR broadcasted a short report about Fair Trade on their popular program "Morning Edition." After recent announcements from chocolate kings Mars and Cadbury that they will buy cocoa sourced with "certain environmental and labor standards" in practice, NPR examines the movement and its potential drive into more mass-marketed arenas.
Tortuga Films, a local Quebec independent film company, recently released a poignant and charming film that features the stories of three children living in farming cooperatives in Central America. "Campesinos...la terre nous va rester" (we will inherit the earth) has gotten much attention in Quebec, entering a number of film festivals and won a couple of local awards in filmmaking. The film was featured in the Quebec film festival in February by the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal and was sold out within minutes of the ticket booth's opening.
During the IFAT annual general assembly held in Sri Lanka in October 2008, the decision was made by a 91% majority to change the organization's name to World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). The following article appears on the WFTO's newly revamped website in February and the organization will be in a period of transition over the next several months.
Coop Coffees is a proud sponsor of World Fair Trade Day (WFTD), an international celebration of Fair Trade. This year’s events will be taking place in over 80 countries worldwide and in North America, Fair Traders plan on breaking the record number of participants (50,000!) in the Fair Trade Coffee Break! The theme of this year’s World Fair Trade Day is Everything is better when it’s fair.
As the newly inaugurated President of the United States steps up to the plate to fill one of the most powerful positions in our day, the world anxiously awaits to see what will become of his ambitious plans – and promises – for change. Promoters of Fair Trade are just as eager to see what will become of Obama’s rhetorical shift towards fairer and more equal terms of international commerce.
Nearly 10 years into its development, FLO has fallen increasingly under scrutiny as actors in the world of Fair Trade are becoming more and more wary of the organization's commitment to the well-being of small-scale producers. In response to the criticism, FLO has recently agreed that change should happen...now we all wait with eager anticipation to see how their plans unfold.
The "tsunami" of financial troubles that has ripped through Wall Street and sent panic and fear into Main Street poses several tough questions and situations for the Fair Trade business. In a commentary released in September, authors at Fair Trade Federation notify readers of the direct impacts of the crisis as well as advice for those involved in Fair Trade businesses.
IFAT believes that “a modern, voluntary, worldwide standard is needed to identify and define the rules of Fair Trade.” In August 2008, IFAT announced a new certification process (SFTMS) that is expected to help FTO’s differentiate themselves further from conventional buyers and sellers by providing the “seel” for corporate social responsibility. They’ve posted a series of notes and explanations on their website and have invited the public to comment on the Standard’s draft.
Also in this section
- Fair Trade - It’s not Just for Coffee.
- Fair Trade has become a more popular concept recently, as big guns, such as Starbucks and Pacific Coffee have embraced the idea of paying their growers a fair price for their crops (no doubt with at least one eye on image-linked sales revenue). But the idea of Fair Trade, if not the name, has been around for some time amid members of the business community who place a high priority on the quality of their product and the welfare of their suppliers.... Read More