Bill Fishbein, co-founder of Coffee Kids and founder of the Coffee Trust, published two comments in response to my recent post on FTUSA’s Fair Trade for All vision that were too good not to run as posts unto themselves. In the second, which appears below, he suggests that FT4All could generate benefits for smallholder farmers […]
Fair Trade USA recently decided to break with Fairtrade International and change the rules governing Fair Trade Certification. Fairtrade International, for its part, decided to increase the representation of producers in its governing body. These decisions shine some light on a dimension of the coffee trade that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated — coffee chain governance. […]
Fair Trade USA set off a swirl of controversy with its recent decision to open the U.S. market for Fair Trade Certified coffee to estates. Lost in the furor was the fact that Fair Trade for All won’t just open the door to estates. It will also create new opportunities for unorganized farmers — a measure that has the […]
In a wide-ranging conversation with CRS staff last week, Fair Trade USA CEO Paul Rice defended the decision to break with FLO and open the U.S. market for Fair Trade Certified coffee to estates. He suggested there are two theories about what will happen to smallholder farmer cooperatives once estates enter the market. One theory is the zero-sum view that the estates’ […]
Paul Rice, the Yale graduate who spent more than a decade as a swashbuckling cooperative organizer in wartime Nicaragua before he became the CEO of Fair Trade USA, spent three hours at CRS headquarters yesterday making the case for his most daring gamble yet — withdrawing from FLO and embarking on the ambitious new Fair […]
The joint announcement by Fair Trade USA and FLO that the two organizations will be going their separate ways at the end of this year is old news by now. It is still not entirely clear, however, what the split — and Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade for All” initiative, with its promise to “adapt […]
I have published some critiques of Fair Trade Certification here in recent weeks, and have gotten some thoughtful and even-minded pushback about it both online and off. I feel compelled, as they say in the U.S. Congress, to “revise and extend my remarks” about Fair Trade. In so doing, I will turn for help to one of the great parliamentarians of the 20th century, and a small group of allies working to shape Fair Trade in the 21st.
Last week, the Seattle Times published an article on Direct Trade that did not reflect particularly well on Fair Trade Certification. Then a bad moment for Fair Trade was made worse when Sprudge cherry-picked the worst lines of the article, which had more than its share of unfortunate content.
FLO-CERT recently sent the following letter to smallholder farmer organizations regarding its new policy on unnannounced audits. While the idea of a surprise inspection seems reasonable, some of the conditions of the new FLO policy — both stated and unstated — raise some concerns.
Fair Trade organizations struggling to keep pace with the changing and increasingly rigorous requirements for Fair Trade Certification may be wondering how concerns over technical compliance have come to compete for their attention with efforts to ensure social impact.