White Paper

A Call for Fair Trade Reform

Fair Trade is a movement that has existed for quite awhile now. You’ve probably heard about it in the news, and possibly at local stores and coffee shops. The movement was established in order to improve the rights of farm workers in impoverished areas of the world, as well as to improve communities and contribute to environmental sustainability. Some Fair Trade products include coffee, tea, bananas, and cocoa; however, there are many more. Fair Trade USA is an organization that certifies Fair Trade products in the United States by placing a label on the product (Fair Trade USA).

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) is a much larger organization, which includes multiple Fair Trade entities from various nations around the world (Fairtrade International). Fair Trade USA used to be a member of FLO until 2011, when it decided to break away and form its own strategy (Fair Trade USA).

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Fair Trade USA’s new program is called Fair Trade for All, and the company’s CEO Paul Rice greatly supports the new business plan (as communicated in this New York Times article). It entails offering more farmers the right to participate in and benefit from Fair Trade. This is different from FLO’s rule of only allowing small farming cooperatives to participate. There are individuals and businesses in support of and against this change, resulting in controversies regarding Fair Trade and what its mission should be (New York Times).

The purpose of my White Paper was to provide FLO with a series of options, which I established from my research, the organization can choose to follow. At the end of the paper, I recommend a course of action that I believe will work best for FLO and the movement as a whole.

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