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Who Owns Fair Trade?

18th January, 2011 - Posted by Zarah Patriana - 15 Comments

A group of businesses, organizations and consumers are accusing TransFair USA of attempting to own the term ‘Fair Trade’.

In October of last year, TransFair USA officially changed their name to Fair Trade USA, thus sparking the debate within the Fair Trade movement about the ramifications of one organization claiming ownership of the term ‘Fair Trade.’ On Monday, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) sent out a petition urging everyone to tell TransFair USA that “Fair Trade is a movement, not a brand.”

One organization, TransFair USA, is currently in the process of changing its name to “Fair Trade USA” and applied for the name to be trademarked. Such an umbrella phrase attempts to legally claim, as an exclusive brand, a term that encompasses this broad movement far beyond its specific work.
[We] believe that the term [Fair Trade] should be celebrated as a movement, not a brand claimed by any one organization.

In a press release from Fair Trade USA regarding their name change they stated that, “[their] updated, simplified name and brand identity will support the organization’s efforts to increase awareness of Fair Trade among a broader consumer audience, increase sales of Fair Trade Certified™ products, and generate more benefits for farmers and workers around the world.”

Currently, Fair Trade USA works with 800 companies and has certified more than 6,000 products since its founding in 1998. Already a big force in the Fair Trade movement, is their name change a way of claiming ‘Fair Trade’ as an exclusive brand for themselves as OCA contends or will this organizational identity shift benefit the movement as a whole by increasing the name and concept recognition of ‘Fair Trade’ as Fair Trade USA states?

Since the petition was released in early January 2011, the coalition against the rebranding of Fair Trade USA has expanded to include leading Fair Trade organizations and companies such as Fair Trade Federation and Equal Exchange as well as over 8,000 consumers.

Such an overwhelming response has not gone unnoticed by Fair Trade USA as they e-mailed the United Students for Fair Trade listserv in response to the petition:

Regarding our new name, we have, in fact, submitted a service mark application for our new corporate name and logo “Fair Trade USA.” We believe that this is appropriate as the U.S. member of the umbrella organization, Fairtrade International.

We do agree that Fair Trade is a movement, not a brand. Therefore, we will
not attempt to trademark [the] term ‘Fair Trade.’ In fact, no one can trademark a fair use term such as ‘Fair Trade.’ That’s why groups like the Fair Trade Resource Network, Fair Trade Federation, and the Domestic Fair Trade Alliance all have the words “Fair Trade” in their names.

A debate like this is just part of the growing pains that have come with a movement that has greatly expanded in the last few years, and one in which only time and open dialogue will help bring all sides to a working consensus.

However, in the end we should all be able to agree that Fair Trade is a unifying force with the ultimate goal of bringing fairness and justice to the trade table.

Have something to share regarding this debate? Who owns Fair Trade? Is it somebody, nobody, or everybody? Be part of the open dialogue and weigh in on the issue in the comments section below.

15 Responses to “Who Owns Fair Trade?”

  • Thank you for the fair, unbiased coverage of this issue. We appreciate the conversation and the ability for both sides to make their voices heard.

    There are many voices within the Fair Trade movement. Fair Trade USA is focused on alleviating poverty in the developing world and ensuring the most rigorous and sustainable social, economic and environmental standards are available to companies that want to participate in Fair Trade. We are dedicated to creating an inclusive Fair Trade model that benefits as many farmers and workers as possible. Internationally, our Fair Trade system has grown to support 1.2 million farmers and workers in 70 countries.

    Thus, it has been disheartening to see so much misinformation disseminated in a public forum. The OCA’s negative campaign discredits the work that our organization has done over the past 12 years to deliver more than $214 million in estimated additional income to farmers and workers through Fair Trade certification, and frankly, hinders our continued progress.

    Regarding our new name, we have, in fact, submitted a service mark application for our new corporate name and logo “Fair Trade USA.” We believe that this is appropriate as the U.S. member of the umbrella organization, Fairtrade International. Since introducing this new name to the public in October, we have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from our partners and consumers alike. Finally, we have an organization name that represents our mission.

    There is a long way to go to increase Fair Trade awareness and engagement in the United States. Our former name, “TransFair USA,” has little or no connection to what we do, nor does the public understand the word. It’s imperative that we communicate our efforts more clearly to fulfill our mission. Growth in general public awareness for Fair Trade significantly increases the amount of impact dollars going back to producers. For example, Fair Trade awareness increased from 9% in 2005 to approximately 34% in 2010. At the same time, we saw Fair Trade premiums to producer communities increased from $14 million in 2005 to $48 million in 2010.

    Again, appreciate Global Exchange’s unbiased coverage of this debate and sincerely hope that the information provided here helps to clarify our genuine intentions and support for the Fair Trade movement.

  • Bill Mcintyre

    It is appreciated that much of the work you do is constructive and forward looking. Still it is disconcerting in the corporate atmosphere in which you operate that the terms “fair trade” could be co-opted in the frightening inviornment of multinational corporations to represent something other than the actual intent of the words.

  • FTRN welcomes anyone interested to join a webinar FTRN will produce in February where panelists will explain these important issues, and various perspectives on the name change and service mark implications. Date is still to be determined in the next week or two, so feel free to visit FTRN.org for details then.
    Thanks, Jeff Goldman

  • Jude

    “There’s always a third choice in life. Even if you think you’re stuck between two impossible choices, there’s always a third way. You just have to look for it.”
    — Marcus Sedgwick

    I’ve been carefully observing the internal debate within America’s Fair Trade community ever since the Fair Trade Futures Conference ended. With this new campaign it seems that there are two choices offered by each of the conflicting parties.

    The first choice is being promoted by businesses like Dr. Bronner’s, Equal Exchange and others. This choice would be for Fair Trade USA to reverse its decision to change its name from TransFair USA this Fall.

    The second choice, Fair Trade USA’s response, is to stay the course with the name change and try to steer clear from any more internal conflict.

    I want to offer a Third Choice for all of those involved. A choice, which I believe, will provide a peaceful resolution to both sides of this conflict.

    First, let’s look at the prevailing opinions on either side of this debate. On one hand, the campaigning groups argue that the name change indicates an effort by TransFair to “own” the Fair Trade movement in the US. On the other hand, Fair Trade USA responds by stating that they are simply doing the same thing as many other members of FLO, now called Fairtrade International.

    It seems to me that both sides to this conflict are ignoring the underlying cause behind this conflict. That is the confusion between “Fair Trade the movement” and “Fair Trade the label.”
    To help mitigate this conflict I thought I’d share with everyone here an explanation given by FLO about the distinction between “Fair Trade the movement” and “Fairtrade the label.”

    “Fair Trade is a movement working to a make trade practice and policy fairer. There are different organisations working to promote fair trade practice and policy, through product certification, advocacy, campaigning and educational work.

    Fairtrade describes the labelling system controlled by Fairtrade Labelling Organisations (FLO) International and national partners in different countries. The FAIRTRADE Mark appears on products that meet Fairtrade standards and come from Fairtrade producer organisations

    Fair Trade or fair trade relates to the wider movement including organisations like the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO, formerly known as IFAT), the European Fair Trade Organisation (EFTA) and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office working to promote fairer trade policy and practice.”

    It seems that everywhere else in the world (in the UK where over 70% of the population knows about Fair Trade and in the rest of Europe as well as Australia, Africa and now even Canada) carefully distinguish between the label and the movement by referring to the label as “Fairtrade,” just one word.

    And, believe it or not, as simple as one space may seem, all of these Fair Trade movements have avoided the kind of backbreaking conflict America’s Fair Trade movement is currently facing largely due to this simple distinction.

    Sure, FLO and national Fairtrade Labelling organisations ARE involved in the larger “Fair Trade” movement but they admit that they do not own it. Likewise, 100% Fairtrade companies and members of the Fair Trade movement work alongside their fellow FLO initiatives in their respective countries promoting not only the Fairtrade label but also the Fair Trade movement as a whole.

    Symbiosis and success for both the Fairtrade label as well as the Fair Trade movement. (You see, the more consumers know about the label, the more likely they are to support broader trade reform.) Can you IMAGINE this same peaceful and productive movement here in America? I can. All it will take is for all parties involved to simply give a little.

    More specifically my “Third Choice” is for TransFair to change its name not to Fair Trade USA but to “Fairtrade USA” and join with ALL of the other FLO affiliates around the world.

    This “Third Choice” would also call on the members of this campaign like Equal Exchange and Dr. Bronner’s to stop fighting amongst ourselves with the current campaigns and instead proudly claim the title of “America’s Fair Trade Movement,” a movement that WILL work with and not against Fairtrade USA and a movement that WILL always retain it’s sanctity, authentic and sovereignty.

    So, what do you say? Are we all ready to come together as ONE Unified Fair Trade USA?

    Here you can see the names of other National FLO affiliates…

    Fairtrade Africa, producer group
    Fairtrade Austria
    Fairtrade Denmark
    Fairtrade Estonia
    Fairtrade Finland
    Fairtrade Latvia
    Fairtrade Lithuania
    Fairtrade Sweden

    Sources:

    http://www.fairtrade.net/faqs.0.html?&no_cache=1

    http://www.fairtrade.net/fairtrade_near_you.0.html

  • @ Global Exchange & TransFair:

    If Kevin Danaher takes a big smelly crap in the middle of the GX office and refuses to clean it up even after two years of asking him to do it, but instead keeps piling it higher and deeper stinking up the whole FT movement and effort er office, why wouldn’t you compel him to clean the BS up? Unfortunately many FT movement leaders have had enough of TransFair’s crap stinking up the movement while others who should know better rationalize and enable rather than call TransFair out. Please look at the facts and figure out if you want to enable TransFair’s BS by flakking for them or calling them to account.

    Exhibit A of Crap = TransFair marketing Avon Mark’s bodywash, bar soap and lip balm as “Fair Trade Products of the Week”, the latter appropriately called “The Big Fix”, when the fair trade content is 2 to 5%. Along with the Organic Consumers Association we filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against TransFair and the fair trade cheater brands Hain (Queen Helene) and Avon (Mark). The complaint itself can be read at http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/transfair-complaint-110110.cfm which has detailed exhibits. We had sent letters and held face-to-face meetings with TransFair over the last two years in an effort to resolve to no avail.

    Specifically we want TransFair to stop conflating minority and majority fair trade content products by authorizing the use of identical-looking “Fair Trade Certified” seals on the front labels of products and to stop its marketing practices that generate further consumer confusion between the two very different certifications. If minority fair trade content products are clearly and demonstrably qualified as not majority fair trade, like the USDA’s “made with” category that does not permit the USDA seal on the front of packages, these products can help provide additional markets for fair trade farmers. However insofar as minority and majority fair trade products are conflated and consumers who prefer the latter purchase the former for a given product, then fair trade markets for farmers are sabotaged even as TransFair collects the same licensing fee for its marks. In personal care as detailed in our complaint, TransFair licenses its certification mark on the front of products with as little as 2% fair trade content, and markets such products as “Fair Trade Certified”.

    We have also joined the coalition of concerned fair trade organizations, companies and consumers who are up in arms about TransFair’s name change to “Fair Trade USA,” who launched a sign on campaign to encourage TransFair to keep its original name. See http://organicconsumers.org/transfairusa/ . By itself this name change would not seem to be such a large problem, but on review of TransFair’s attempt to claim exclusive rights to use of the term “Fair Trade Certified” along with Dr. Bronner’s experience with TransFair’s disparagement of competing fair trade certification programs, such as IMO’s superior “Fair for Life”, we are fully supportive of this effort. Fair trade is a movement much bigger than all of us. TransFair should retain its original name and not attempt to further monopolize and “brand” fair trade. TransFair hopefully can continue to play an important role in expanding the universe of fair trade, but has to rectify its approach to the broader movement, as well as its certification and marketing of minority fair trade content products as if they were entirely fair trade.

    In the latter regard, we agree the movement can only be harmed the longer that TransFair trades broadsides defending their fairwash of brands like Avon Mark and Queen Helene. Hopefully confused FT orgs will stop enabling TransFair’s fairwash of products, which jeopardizes the integrity of the entire movement.

    Sincerely,

    David Bronner
    President
    Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

  • Robyn

    Mr. Bronner – I am so disappointed in your post.
    If you’re trying to make an argument here – you lost me.
    You’re tacky and quite frankly unprofessional example of Mr. Danaher is disappointing and actually lends quite a bit of discredit to your company.

    The only stinky thing here is your inability to argue your point in a respectful and unbiased manner. Is there any reason you have problems with FLO and not IMO…that’s the big stinky question I have for you.

    …and to think you’re with Dr.Bronners – the same “friendly” soap that says “We are all one”…perhaps you should practice what you preach.

    Sadly, I think your attitude alone is enough to push me to find another line of body care that uses Fair Trade Certified oils.

  • Thanks to all who have contributed to this discussion so far. We value everyone’s respectful dialogue.

  • @ Robyn

    To clarify Kevin Danaher is a friend and inspiration, and my analogy meant to illustrate that just because your a lefty not Enron doesn’t mean you get a pass when you engage in blatant consumer fraud like TransFair is. I’m frustrated at some FTers inability to confront this, but could have toned down the first couple of paragraphs.

    I have no problem with FLO certification of fair trade proejcts in and of themselves. The problem is TransFair’s marketing of products that contain as little as 2% FLO certified content, as if those products are entirely Fair Trade Certified. TransFair conflates minority and majority FT content products, and receives the same licensing fee for its mark on either. Insofar as a consumer purchases a minority versus majority FT product, than the markets for FT commodities are sabotaged not supported. IMO does not permit its FT seal to appear on the front of products that are minority FT content, nor does IMO market such products on its website as if they are Fair Trade Certified.

    For a sober thorough presentation of the issues with illustrative exhibits of fairwashed product, and to see why we and many other FTers are upset, please see our complaint at http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/transfair-complaint-110110.cfm

    Regards,
    David Bronner

  • Don Durrito de la Lacandona

    Viva David Bronner!

    Sure, he could be a little more “professional” but why tone down the emotion when the stakes are this high?

    The main point here is that the Fair Trade Movement is about structural change in global trade. Allowing Avon Mark’s bodywash to be certified FT and called “Fair Trade Products of the Week” when the fair trade content is 2 to 5% is simply outrageous and counter to the movements focus. You can’t use Capitalism to beat Capitalism.

    This article from a student run paper clearly shows how confusion is being sown into the fabric of social justice activism: http://www.dailycardinal.com/features/fair-trade-without-new-buyers-fair-trade-could-be-at-risk-1.1915777

  • Ryan Zinn

    Hey all,

    Here is a great post from Equal Exchange re TransFair’s name change.

    Best,
    Ryan

    To Tell the Truth: Who Owns Fair Trade?

    February 1, 2011 by Phyllis Robinson

    http://smallfarmersbigchange.coop/2011/02/01/to-tell-the-truth-who-owns-fair-trade-2/

    When TransFair USA announced last fall that it was changing its name to Fair Trade USA, an immediate and on-going tsunami of outrage and indignation burst through the Fair Trade community. Alternative Trade Organizations, 100% Fair Trade roasters, student, religious, and consumer activists, and non-profit organizations, all of whom have dedicated themselves to the difficult but critically important work of building market access for small farmers across the globe, were affronted. How could any single organization, a certifying agency no less, claim the name Fair Trade? Fair Trade is a concept, a way of doing business, a value system, an entire movement built through the convictions and hard work of hundreds of thousands of individuals across the globe. Can one organization simply appropriate all that “Fair Trade” signifies, and claim it for itself?

    Reactions to the announcement have differed, but mainly span from disappointment to anger. Some are dismayed that TransFair would undertake such a divisive move, thereby attracting bad publicity and potentially hurting those for whom Fair Trade is most supposed to benefit. Others are more indignant, seeing this step as one more in a long line of “corporate-like attitudes and behaviors” that blatantly disregard and steamroll over the legitimate concerns of others in the movement. Still others give TransFair credit for devising such a bold marketing move: just when your organization is encountering growing public relations challenges, rebrand yourselves so that the average consumer makes the assumption that your organization and Fair Trade are one and the same.

    It is interesting that the move comes at a time when criticism of TransFair’s approach and its actions has never been higher. In fact, the name change coincides with the recent decision this past year of many organizations, including Equal Exchange, to drop the use of the TransFair logo on fairly traded products, in favor of the IMO (Institute of Market Ecology) “Fair for Life” certification. Not only does the departure of many of the original “100% Fair Traders” signal growing discontent with TransFair, but since companies must pay each time they use the TransFair logo on a product, discontinuing use of their seal also carries financial impact. For the first time, companies finally have a choice between Fair Trade certifications. It is no wonder that TransFair took this moment to try and become Fair Trade USA.

    But at the end of the day, why make such a fuss over a name change?

    I mean honestly, does it really matter what Transfair calls itself? Should we really be getting worked up about the preferences of one certifying agency? Aren’t there far more pressing issues going on in this country and in the world right now that deserve our attention?

    Much of the anger and resentment surrounding TransFair’s name change results from their long history of overlooking and undermining the interests, opinions and values of others in the movement. Coming as it has after a long line of far more serious and consequential actions over the past decade, this appropriation of the name Fair Trade, is considered by many to be the proverbial “last straw.” The real disagreement, between TransFair and others in the movement, however is much more than symbolism. It is about divergent views of the mission, the underlying values of Fair Trade, and the strategies employed to fulfill that mission. At stake are the fundamental questions: who is Fair Trade meant to serve and how should it best do so?

    The roots of Fair Trade began in Europe after World War II as a faith-based initiative to help provide livelihoods for eastern European war refugees. Non-profits, such as Oxfam, with an interest in alleviating global poverty, worked to create markets for the refugees’ products. In these early days, “fair trade” followed a charity, or solidarity, model where the disadvantaged received market assistance.

    Meanwhile, small farmers In the Global South, historically marginalized and without access to social services, infrastructure, credit, markets, or technical assistance, were organizing themselves into co-operatives as a means of survival. In response, by the mid-70s, a new wave of businesses in Europe, called Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs), sprang up with the philosophy, “Trade Not Aid.” They believed that market access was not something to be done out of charity, but rather, that Fair Trade was a right. The ATOs saw the farmer co-ops as equal partners; that work needed to be done in both the North and South in order to create a new system of trade that would benefit producers and consumers alike.

    In the mid-1980s, Equal Exchange’s founders created one of the first Fair Trade organizations in the United States to work with food products and small farmer co-operatives in the Global South. Like its allies in Europe, Equal Exchange’s philosophy is deeply rooted in the conviction that the conventional trade system is unfair and that the mission of Fair Trade was to support small farmers, educate consumers, change business practices and ultimately create a new system of trade based on dignity, respect, and empowerment. This was not charity; it was structural change.

    And so, the ATOs, Fair Trade coffee roasters, food co-operatives, social justice non-profits, interfaith organizations, students and other activists began the difficult work of growing a movement and opening markets for small farmer products. Alongside the traders’ efforts to build supply chains and get small farmer products on the grocery store shelves, the activists worked tirelessly to build demand. They educated consumers about the importance of small farmers and the need to change the trade system which disproportionately favored large companies and plantations, marginalized small farmers and kept consumers ignorant about the source of their food and those who grow it.

    An international body, the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO), was created to certify small farmer co-operatives through a set of social and environmental criteria. In 1998, Equal Exchange, along with other organizations, supported the establishment of TransFair USA, a FLO-affiliate, to serve as an independent third party to ensure and verify that Fair Trade businesses in the U.S. were also meeting a set of Fair Trade guidelines. To participate in the system, and place the seal on a product, each industry pays a fee to TransFair.

    Since that time, TransFair has grown to become a $10 million organization. While it is technically a certifying agency, TransFair also began promoting Fair Trade and its licensees, organizing consumers, and marketing its seal as a brand. One of the earliest criticisms leveled at TransFair was the fact that it simultaneously attempts to perform inherently contradictory functions: on the one hand certifying, regulating and receiving user fees from all companies, and on the other, spending this money to promote and heavily market a very limited number of specific companies. What should have been applauded as an effort to bring unprecedented visibility to the struggles of small farmers was undercut by the larger conflict of interest and the dumbing-down of the message; in short, neglecting consumer education in favor of the branding slogan, “Look for the seal.”

    It wasn’t long before TransFair was courting large multi-national companies, such as Nestle, Chiquita, and Dole, lowering the bar to grow their brand. Providing certification to these companies, with their horrendous reputations, poor labor practices, and minimal commitments to the goals and mission of Fair Trade, has angered many who are striving to uphold Fair Trade to the highest level. Several years ago, TransFair received so much opposition to their attempt to bring Chiquita into the Fair Trade system, it eventually was forced to give up. However, last year TransFair did succeed in quietly getting a portion of Dole’s bananas certified Fair Trade. The certification came at the same time that Dole (and Chiquita) was sued for its documented financial support of paramilitaries in Colombia, responsible for the murders of a number of labor unionists working on its plantations. Last year, both companies made it to the International Labor Rights Forum’s list of 2010′s five worst labor rights abusers.

    Of all the controversial actions the certifier has taken, it has been TransFair’s work in spearheading the entry of plantations into the Fair Trade system that has earned them the most ire, and probably done the most to weaken Fair Trade. In an effort to grow fast, Transfair and FLO have promoted a whole range of new products eligible for Fair Trade certification. Rather than do the necessary, and very difficult work to create and grow supply chains from small farmer organizations, the certifying bodies have taken the far easier path and certified a whole host of plantation products. It is this “quantity” over “quality” approach which has small farmers, traders, and Fair Trade activists most upset.

    Santiago Paz, CEPICAFE coffee co-operative, Fair Trade Futures Conference, Sept. 2011

    At the Fair Trade Futures conference in Boston last September, Santiago Paz of the Peruvian small farmer coffee co-operative, CEPICAFE, summed it up best: “It’s as if they’re driving a car going 70 miles an hour and they have put their foot on the gas pedal. Now it’s going 90, 100, 120-mph and suddenly the small farmer in the passenger seat is flying out the window. They are so concerned with growing the system, advancing at all costs, that they will only end with the extinction of small farmers.”

    Fair Trade is about transformation and this structural change only comes about by demanding and growing alternative models to the current system. It requires a commitment to small farmer organizations, to opening markets for small farmers, and to building a network of informed, educated and active consumers. Instead of supporting others in the movement to carry out this work, TransFair and its parent organization, FLO, have put their energy and resources into expanding the brand: not only do they certify multi-national companies whose overall practices do not show a commitment to these Fair Trade principles, but they have moved away from the idea of structural change.

    In most products aside from coffee, chocolate, and a few others, large plantations can now be certified. In 2003, at the Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in Boston, the contingent of small farmer coffee co-operatives, and their industry allies, went wild when they learned that TransFair was trying to open up coffee and chocolate to plantations as well. TransFair used the argument that workers on plantations also need “assistance”, but the fact remains that while every worker deserves dignity, respect, and labor rights, most plantations have not proven to be change agents. Small improvements, such as the installation of electricity and bathrooms, are services which should be provided by management anyway. Fair Trade is not about small improvements. Worse is that allowing plantations, with all the historical advantages they receive from governments, to compete with small farmer organizations in the same system, will in fact cause small farmers – with their limited resources – and access to technology, credit, infrastructure to fail.

    And so, if anger over TransFair’s name change has risen over the symbolic nature of the action, the deeper issues stem from its persistent and constant efforts to “corporatize” the Fair Trade movement. As Santiago Paz so emotionally and eloquently put it, what’s at stake is nothing less than the future of Fair Trade; the future of small farmers.

    Will the real owner of the Fair Trade movement please stand up? A ridiculous idea, of course. Fair Trade is a movement, not a brand. No one has the right to claim ownership over a movement. Just like in the 1970s popular game show, To Tell the Truth, when the panelists must guess which of the contestants can legitimately claim a specific identity, in this scenario, we are all the panelists. It is ultimately up to us to discern whether those claiming to “own” the movement are within their rights.

    To learn more, or to sign the petition demanding that TransFair cease using the name, Fair Trade USA, follow this link: http://www.organicconsumers.org/transfairusa/index.cfm

  • Denisse

    waaaiiit a minute…who owns, “who owns fair trade?”?

    ;)

  • This just in:
    This morning I participated in the FTRN webinar/community discussion about this name change topic. Panelists were:
    -Fair Trade USA’s CEO, Paul Rice
    -Equal Exchange’s Answer Man, Rodney North
    -United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries Minister for Economic Justice, Edie Rassell

    For folks who missed it, you can download it now for $5, or wait till March 30th when it will become available to all for free. Find info here: http://store.fairtraderesourcenetwork.org/products/webinar-105

  • Jenny

    I feel like there is some information being held back.
    If Transfair USA has a main objective in all of this (the people being helped by Fair Trade) and they know so many people are upset about the name change and against it, why do it?
    What is so important about it? It feels like there is something else behind their drive to change the name.
    It’s not like people don’t know the Transfair USA name and respect it and know the things they help with.
    As on outsider it just seems strange to me.

  • “…the work that our organization has done over the past 12 years to deliver more than $214 million in estimated additional income to farmers and workers through Fair Trade certification”

    “Fair Trade premiums to producer communities increased from $14 million in 2005 to $48 million in 2010″

    These false claims are featured in the post in this thread authored by “Fair Trade USA” on behalf of the FLO.

    For some reason, even in this our cynical day and age, people seem to be willing to take the word of any scoundrel who asserts himself to be working in the interests of Third World “producer communities” and “farmers and workers”.

    Look at the Fair Trade International/FLO’s

    FLO Trader Application Evaluation Policy

    Definition of Actors in the FLO Fairtrade Chain of Supply

    3.1.1 A Producer is a small holding group, a plantation, or a factory that is engaged in the production of a primary product

    This means that, in practice, payments are made to plantation owners or managers, to factory owners or managers, to local consolidators, and to holding group agents, NOT to “producer communities”, nor to “workers and farmers”.

    The systematic conflation of the term “Producer” (defined in actual real-world commercial practice as plantations, factories, and holding companies) with workers and farmers and producer communities constitutes misrepresentation.

    The good name of the the humble hardworking workers and farmers in the South has been wantonly comandeered by these European pirates and their buying agents in the 3rd World and it is a shame that nobody ever challenges them as to the truth of their deceptive and exaggerated claims.

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