The East Bay Express Explores the Controversy Within the Fair Trade Movement

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The East Bay Express Explores the Controversy Within the Fair Trade Movement

"Fair Trade USA's Coffee Policy Comes Under Fire"
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Oakland's East Bay Express Newspaper Explores the Controversy w/in the #FairTrade Movement, #coffee #SWSF @RodneyEqEx

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The new seal that is being introduced to the U.S. market by the global Fair Trade certifier, Fair Trade International. Equal Exchange is currently using this on the Fair Trade bananas we import. Other Fair Trade brands are also being to convert their packaging to this seal.

The Fair Trade seal used by some of brands certified by IMO, Institute for MarketEcology,

This is the seal recently launched by FUNDEPPO, an organization established and governed by certified Fair Trade small-farmer co-operatives and related networks. Equal Exchange and other 100% Fair Trade roasters around the world are beginning to add this seal to products to indicate that they were sourced from small farmer co-operatives.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 11:00am

CONTENT: Article

Critics say that new certification process adopted by Oakland-based organization will undermine the international fair-trade industry.

By Corey Hill

Fair Trade USA is the largest fair-trade certification agency in the United States. The decisions made at the organization's offices on Broadway in Oakland ripple throughout the national fair trade movement, and beyond to hundreds of thousands of farmers around the world. But since last fall, following Fair Trade USA's announcement of major policy changes, the organization has found itself at the center of a growing and often public debate about the future and shape of the fair-trade movement.

The focus of the controversy is Fair Trade USA's decision to start certifying coffee that is grown on large plantations. The organization says it hopes to expand fair-trade practices beyond the small farms and cooperatives that traditionally have won fair-trade certification. But the move has sparked a strong backlash in the fair-trade community, particularly among small farmers and co-ops who contend that larger plantations will eventually put them out of business.

Continue reading the original article, 'Fair Trade USA's Coffee Policy Comes Under Fire', on East Bay Express.


Images courtesy Equal Exhange.


At a new webpage Equal Exchange has created around this issue one may read the full statements of the small-farmer organizations, and Fair Trade advocacy groups, mentioned in the article who are publicly opposing Fair Trade USA’s recent actions.…   (Scroll down to “Resources”)

The page includes further background information on the issue, including an analysis of the situation by Rink Dickinson, co-founder & President of Equal Exchange.

At this page individuals and organizations may also indicate their support for Equal Exchange's "Authentic Fair Trade Campaign". To date over 7,000 individuals and 500 organizations (grocery retailers, independent cafe owners, faith-based groups, other Fair Trade importers, etc.) have signed on.

Equal Exchange is the worker co-operative that introduced Fair Trade coffee to US grocery stores in the late '80s. With $45+ million in annual sales they continue to be the largest enterprise in North America to focus exclusively on Fair Trade products.


Rodney North
+1 (617) 571-0041
Equal Exchange