Powers of Ethical Consumption: A Critique of FLO, Fair Trade USA, and Starbucks
When it comes to fair trade, we perceive to be the truth and the actual truth can differ to a frightening degree. On the one hand we know that there are multiple organizations using fair trade labels to promote social good. On the other hand, the fair trade industry is large and complex with little-to-no oversight. As a result, we are left with critical questions surrounding the facts behind fair trade: Who sets the fair trade standards? To whom are these organizations accountable? Has fair trade become the new greenwashing, a simple marketing ploy? And many more. This collection blog posts will demonstrate that the fair trade industry isn't as simple of a solution as it sounds. In fact, it's a very complex industry with several players approaching it in very different ways.
These posts focus on the two main players, Fair Trade USA and the Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO), that have led the way in terms of standard creation and marketing. This series will provide an in depth look at the controversial decision Fair Trade USA made in December 2011 to leave the internationally accepted standards of FLO and to create their own, interviews with the heads of both organizations, and how the actions of these organizations are affecting you the reader.