Fair Trade Store Manager Jocelyn at Oakland General Strike

Lots happening in the Occupy movement around the country.

Here at Global Exchange we took part in our local Occupy Oakland General Strike/Day of Action  last week (photos here!) while our Fair Trade stores showed solidarity that day by donating 9.9% of sales to our local Occupy groups. We continue to remain actively involved in local Occupy groups.

Fair Traders are issuing statements of support and/or endorsement of the Occupy movement. Here are a few:
Fair Trade Trends: Fair Trade Trends Supports Occupy Wall Street!
Equal Exchange: Equal Exchange Stands with Occupy Wall Street
Global Exchange: Take Action Occupy Together

Articles are popping up with the Occupy/Fair Trade theme:
The Bullet: Corporations Occupy Fair Trade
Fair World Project: The “99%” Weighs In On Food and Fair Trade
Cooperative News: Occupy Fair Trade!

What else? I wonder what other Fair Traders are doing as part of the Occupy movement. We’d love to hear from you about what you are doing, and what ideas you have for how fellow Fair Traders can get involved in the Occupy movement. Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section.


Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA) recently announced the invitation for public comment on the draft Farm Workers Standard, and for nominations to the Coffee Innovation Council.

Paul Rice on standard setting process:

Multi-stakeholder consultation and engagement have always been important to Fair Trade USA. This approach is all the more essential as we innovate for greater impact through our new vision, Fair Trade for All.

I am excited to share with you Fair Trade USA’s standard setting process and invite you to participate in the public comment period for the Draft Fair Trade USA Farm Workers Standard that extends through December 31, 2011. We are eager to hear your feedback.

So this is your opportunity to provide feedback on changes taking place within Fair Trade USA’s standard setting. To participate, review the standard, download the feedback form, and submit your comments and recommendations to standards@fairtradeusa.org before December 31, 2011. An overview of Fair Trade USA’s standards setting process and work plan will be available in the coming weeks on Fair Trade USA’s  website.

Paul Rice on Fair Trade USA’s Innovation Council:

Fair Trade USA is creating a Coffee Innovation Council to help us identify the best ways to innovate so we provide more impact for more people. This group will help us analyze feedback and ideas from different stakeholder groups.  It will also provide input on standards, pilots, impact assessments and innovation strategy.

In an effort to draw upon the long-term experience and work of the Fair Trade movement, we are excited to announce a call for nominations to Coffee Innovation Council. As part of our commitment to stakeholder engagement, we invite nominations until November 30. Nominees will be chosen, notified and announced by the end of the year.

To be selected, nominees must share our vision for Fair Trade for All and agree that we must include those who have been systematically left out of the historical Fair Trade system. We are looking for diverse perspectives and relevant expertise that can help us achieve our objectives in the most impactful way. If you are interested in joining the council or nominating someone else, please send an email to  mzamora@fairtradeusa.org  stating how you or the nominee support our vision, and what  experience or expertise will help us achieve our objectives.  


This past Halloween, children and families spread the word about Fair Trade, switching up holiday conventions a bit while having a good time to boot. Folks from across the country sent in orders for the popular Reverse Trick-or-Treating kit, and Global Exchange distributed nearly 1,000 of them to supporters, both seasoned vets of Reverse Trick-or-Treating and first-timers.

The excitement received coverage in USA Today and the Boston Herald, to name a few. Read more updates from our Fair Trade campaign here.


Small Farmers. Big Change: An Analysis of Fair Trade: Reflections from a Founder (Part III)
Supermarket News: Fair Trade USA to Review Labeling Policy
Eat Drink Better: Buying Local vs Fair Trade
Businessweek: A Furor over Fair Trade
Inspire Magazine: Cathedral gets golden fairtrade weather vane

Got interesting Fair Trade news to share? Email me or share it in the comments section. We’re all ears!

Happy Fair Trade Month everyone! After a month on the road, I’m back rounding up the latest Fair Trade news, and boy is there a lot of it!

Photo credit: Fair Trade Resource Network


On September 15, 2011 Fair Trade International (FLO) and Fair Trade USA issued a joint statement about the decision to part ways:

Fairtrade International (FLO) and Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) share a belief in the importance of empowering producers and workers around the world to improve their lives through better terms of trade. However, as we look to the future, we recognize that we have different perspectives on how best to achieve this common mission.

As a consequence, Fair Trade USA has decided to resign its membership of the Fairtrade International (FLO) system effective December 31, 2011.

You can read Fair Trade USA’s statement about why they are leaving FLO here. Also check out the Catholic Relief Services blog post Paul Rice makes the case for Fair Trade for All.

The FTUSA website announced plans to work with Scientific Certification Systems for new standards, and will continue to accept FLO certification for existing standards. Fair Trade USA states on its website, “We have partnered with Scientific Certification Systems, a globally-respected, independent certification agency with more than 25 years of experience, to conduct audits and producer certification against our new standards.

This announcement has spurred much reaction and debate among the international Fair Trade community. Three major producer networks issued statements opposing
FTUSA’s Withdrawal from FLO

In response to the news, Fair Trade Resource Network just announced plans to conduct 3 public webinars  in October and November with panelists from FTUSA and FLO, to discuss what implications the split has for producers and the Fair Trade movement.

The first webinar is described as “A Community Discussion of What Fair Trade USA Leaving Fairtrade International Means for Producers and Fair Trade” and Paul Rice, CEO of Fair Trade USA is confirmed as a panelist. To sign up for this webinar go here.


Reverse-Trick-or-Treating is a way for kids on Halloween to help end the exploitation of children in the cocoa industry and raise awareness of Fair Trade.

Trick-or-Treaters hand Fair Trade chocolate back to adults, with informational cards attached, to explain the problems of the cocoa industry and how Fair Trade presents a solution.

How you can get involved:  Order your Reverse Trick-or-Treat kit. (Deadline to order your kit is by October 13th.) Each kit contains 15 mini chocolates, informational cards and an instruction leaflet. The kits are free, you pay just $7.50 for shipping, but we are asking participants to round up if they are able, to help cover costs.

If you don’t manage to get one of the kits, you can still take part! Download free flyers and pass them out on Halloween. If you are part of a group, school or organization and want to purchase a group kit, please visit Equal Exchange.

October brings cooler weather, spooky festivities, and Fair Trade! Now in its 8th year, Fair Trade month is a time for folks to take action and get involved in this socially responsible movement. This year’s theme is “Every Purchase Matters.”

Fair Trade USA describes Fair Trade month:

Throughout the month, conscious consumers and ethically-minded brands will unite to celebrate and promote Fair Trade. A variety of education events, in-store sampling programs and online initiatives have been planned to help increase awareness and sales of Fair Trade Certified products, ultimately leading to greater impact for farmers and workers in developing countries.

Here’s a list of top ten ways to get involved in Fair Trade month.

My faves Ben & Jerry are back at it. Once again, they brought Fair Trade into the mainstream spotlight by guest appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Some may a recall an earlier Jimmy Fallon visit by this dynamic duo back in March when they released their new Fair Trade ice-cream flavor.

Here’s Ben & Jerry on Jimmy Fallon earlier this week:



Is any else as excited for Halloween as I am? Great excuse to dress up and pass out Fair Trade chocolate.

This year, we are happy to share that this year, tens of thousands of kids and adults will hand out Reverse Trick-or-Treating kits to 100,000 households in 49 states and the District of Columbia in the US and all over Canada this year! Yes! If you didn’t order an RTT kit this year, you can still get involved by passing out Reverse Trick-or-Treating and Raise the Hershey bar fliers.

You can also help spread awareness about child labor in the cocoa industry by hosting a screening of newly released documentary, The Dark Side of Chocolate.

Other ways to get involved with Halloween this weekend:

  • Make an ad on Reese’s website raising awareness about forced and child labor in Hershey’s cocoa, and send it to all your friends.  If you make the ad by Monday, November 1 and CC it to fairtrade@greenamerica.org, Green America will send the best ads to Hershey.
  • According to his Facebook page, Stephen Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive” is sponsored by Reese’s (owned by Hershey)!  For children in West Africa, Hershey’s/Reese’s are indeed keeping fear alive…the childrens’ fear of being trafficked into forced labor in the cocoa fields that grow cocoa for chocolate bars sold in the US.  There is a lot of buzz nationwide about this march, on Halloween eve…join the Raise the Bar Campaign in helping use that buzz to hold Hershey accountable.  If you have a Facebook account, leave a message on the wall of Stephen Colbert, the Colbert Report, and the March to Keep Fear Alive, as well as the Daily Show, raising awareness of the connection between Reese’s and child labor.  If you use Twitter, here are some suggested tweets:
  • @StephenAtHome the only thing scarier the #march4fear is the use of #ChildLabor in the production of #Reeses
  • @StephenAtHome #Reeses does have something to hide and it is scarier than peanuts: #ChildLabor
  • @ColbertReport #Reeses may contain dairy, peanuts and #ChildLabor.

Most importantly, have a safe and happy Halloween this weekend everyone!

October is Fair Trade month and we want to know how you’re celebrating. Tell us what you’re doing by leaving a comment in the Comment field below. One lucky winner will receive a FREE Fair Trade Trick or Treat Action Kit!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Check out 31 Ways to celebrate 31 Days of Fair Trade. TransFair USA has done a terrific job of putting together great ideas about celebrating and promoting Fair Trade. Visit FairTradeMonth.org.
2. Hand out Fair Trade chocolates to Trick-or-Treaters along with info about the importance of choosing Fair Trade. Our Action Kits come with chocolates AND info cards: Trick-or-Treat Action Kits.
3. Make your Halloween costume count. Use your creativity to incorporate Fair Trade into your Halloween costume. Just picture yourself walking down the street dressed as a giant Fair Trade banana!
4. Take part in Reverse Trick or Treating. For the third year in a row, thousands of kids will be handing chocolate out to adults around Halloween. FAIR TRADE chocolate of course:) Visit our Fair Trade Campaign page to get involved.
5. Throw a Fair Trade Halloween event. Visit TransFair USA for great resources to help you out and register your event. TransFairUSA.org

And don’t forget to leave a comment below about what you’re planning to do to celebrate Fair Trade month. The winner will be announced on our blog Oct. 21st!

It’s Halloween time, and there are lots of ways to get involved in making sure that the cocoa industry is less scary and more fair for cocoa farmers worldwide. Here are two good ways to get involved:

Fair Trade Trick or Treat Action Kits:

Find everything you need for Halloween this year, all in one place. Give more than candy this year…give knowledge about the importance of Fair Trade! First launched in 2005, the Fair Trade Trick or Treat Action Kit in 2007 includes chocolate candy to hand out to Trick or Treaters, a large stack of festive Halloween postcards for you to hand out, traditional Papel Picado Mexican party streamer, and a Trick or Treat Bag.

Reverse Trick or Treating:

This Halloween, it is kids who will be giving treats to adults! On Halloween night, 2007, schoolchildren, high school and college students across the US and Canada will unite to end poverty among cocoa farmers and forced/abusive child labor in the cocoa industry, and promote Fair Trade, by distributing information about these social justic issues in the cocoa industry, while Trick-or-Treating door-to-door in their communities. For information, please visit the Global Exchange Fair Trade Campaign page.