Important Steps for Fairtrade in the USA
The Board of Fairtrade International took an important step this week by approving a strategy to launch operations in the USA market. The strategy is based on extensive consultation and input from USA stakeholders following the departure of Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) from the global Fairtrade system.
The strategy has three main components:
- Fairtrade International will create a legal presence in the USA by early April to facilitate use of the international FAIRTRADE Mark in the market there.
- In parallel, Fairtrade will work with stakeholders to design and build an organizational structure which will reflect the needs of the USA market and will represent the diverse group of stakeholders who will contribute to its success. Fairtrade is committed to developing the most appropriate model for the new USA organization. We will therefore establish a consultative panel, including representatives of Fair Trade businesses, consumers, civil society organizations, producers and other key stakeholders. This group will help ensure an appropriate structure, good governance, accountability and a strong voice for Fair Trade in the USA. We are clear this is the only way to reach our vision for the USA of a powerful, collaborative, diverse coalition that is united in its belief in producer development and empowerment.
- In 2012-13, while the operating model is being established, our member organization Fairtrade Canada will continue to assist companies who would like to remain part of the global Fairtrade system. If you are interested in using the international FAIRTRADE Mark in the USA, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the international FAIRTRADE Mark, read the results of the most recent Globescan study here.
We are grateful to the many organizations who have contributed to our consultations so far. Our extensive dialogue process included civil society organizations, alternative trade organizations, businesses, producers and other Fair Trade advocates. Their input was crucial to shaping these next steps.
“Many of those who took part in our dialogue process voiced that Fair Trade is about more than premium or prices, it’s philosophical. It’s about making a difference in producers’ lives,” said Esther Guluma, Board Chair. “Volume of product sold does not necessarily equal producer impact and we will work to ensure that growth of the system is consistent with greater producer impact and involvement.”
We recognize that there are many different approaches to Fair Trade. The global Fairtrade system will compete respectfully with FTUSA, to ensure that our cumulative efforts will continue to strengthen producers’ position in international trade and improve livelihoods.