I am proud to be an American (where at least I know I'm free...? (except of course I'm part of the 99%)) I deck out the patio for 4th of July in red, white and blue. I try to remember folks on Memorial Day and reflect on the work and courage of abolitionists during Black History Month. But dammit. When the hell will be choose to go the whole way with something? Do we only rock at the Olympics? (which, we do. I'm counting down until London 2012. Ted and I were glued to the games, Summer 2008 in Beijing... on our honeymoon. We weren't staying up all night to get our freak on. We were staying up all night to watch Michael Phelps to get his freak on and break some records!!) Bottom of the West for education. Bottom of the effing world for recycling (check out how Sony recycles in Japan compared to how they recycle in the US) and we are labeling products FAIR TRADE with only.........ready??......25% OF THE INGREDIENTS SOURCED FROM FARMERS WHO WERE PAID AN EQUITABLE WAGE!!!!!!!!
I wrote a while back about Fair Trade USA. They joined up with FLO (Fair Trade International) and were operating under their standards. See, I'm learning this: Dozens of NGO's have decided to make their own fair trade standards. Some incorporate organic, some invest into the farming communities. Some use third party audits, some don't. And some, like Fair Trade USA (who is leaving their partnership with FLO) will stick their label on fair trade products without it being a purely fair trade product. For example, Hershey, who has been pushed to become more socially responsible, can use fair trade sugar, but NOT fair trade cocoa in their chocolate bars. Fair Trade USA will call stick their label on it. What happens then? Shoppers like you and me think we are good to go, that we are supporting small farmers and giving money to businesses who are doing things right. Incorrect. The chart up there shows you exactly what the Fair Trade USA label allows. Here it is straight from their website: http://fairtradeusa.org/certification/producers/ingredients Oh, and part of the reason they left FLO was b/c they have a goal to 'double their impact by 2015." But except, they aren't really doubling impact. They are creating more problems. By lowering the standard, more companies will get involved. Like Hershey. Like Proctor and Gamble. They will incorporate the bare minimum of 25% of their product and call it fair. This is prostituting the label and the label will loose it's credibility.
The term 'greenwashing' has been floating around the sustainability community. It's a growing debate about how big companies are slipping into the fair trade and green movement, but are either doing it to increase profit or aren't really doing it, but are still increasing profit. What do you think?
I think we boycott Fair Trade USA-- their label looks like this: