Looking to buy Fair Trade?
Visit the Fair Trade Resource Network’s page on where to buy Fair Trade products here in the US, as well as in many other countries. The FTRN’s page includes links to organizations such as the Fair Trade Federation, the World Fair Trade Organization, and IMO/Fair for Life which have comprehensive lists of Fair Trade certified products. Visit the FTRN page here.
Seeking a few good companies…..
Sure, the fair trade label signifies that your products were sustainably grown and earned a minimum price, but sometimes, there’s more to the story than the transaction…. There are a few companies we think are Really Rad– they take the values of the fair trade movement to the next level… Check out these innovative business models!
At last, good news for workers’ rights in the apparel industry! Thanks to more than a decade of student and worker organizing, Alta Gracia Apparel brings union-made, living-wage college-logo t-shirts and sweatshirts to over 400 university bookstores nation-wide. Get your campus on board! If you haven’t heard of Alta Gracia yet, this New York Times article is a great introduction or check out this great video made by United Students Against Sweatshops!
The fruit of over a decade of organizing by unionists in the Dominican Republic and campus communities in the US with United Students Against Sweatshops, Alta Gracia is a groundbreaking factory monitored by independent labor rights watchdog, Workers Rights Consortium. WRC was created by students and university administrators in 2000 to monitor supply chains, visit factories and meet with workers in the community and publish reports on labor abuses, all of which are available online. WRC receives absolutely no funding from businesses it certifies so as to avoid a conflict of interest, and visits the Alta Gracia factory on a bi-weekly basis to audit payroll and check in on conditions.
What sets Alta Gracia above and beyond all other brands in the collegiate market is that it pays a “living wage”. Based on a cost of living study conducted by the WRC and set at nearly three-times the Dominican minimum wage, this living wage enables workers to support their families with dignity, covering food, housing, transportation, health care and education costs for their children. The ripple effect in the community is impressive: new businesses have opened across from the factory, construction has picked up as workers invest in more livable homes, and not just children but Alta Gracia workers themselves are going back to school on the weekend to continue where poverty had forced them to abandon studies. This video shows the impact living-wages have had in union-leader Maritza Vargas’ family.
Help transform the global apparel industry and the lives of workers and their families in Villa Altagracia by advocating Alta Gracia on your campus so students, faculty, and alumni can support workers’ rights the next time you buy a tee or hoodie before the big game. Source the union-made, living-wage alternative for your department t-shirt, soccer team, band merch, work uniform, sorority or political campaign by designing your own Fair Trade t-shirt today!
Divine Chocolate is a pioneering Fair Trade chocolate company, owned in part by the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana. Kuapa Kokoo is a farmer’s cooperative of 45,000 members who supply the cocoa for each bar of Divine. They get paid a Fair Trade price for their beans and receive a social premium that the cooperative invests in schools, clean drinking water, medical clinics, and women’s entrepreneurship projects. Plus, as owners they get a share of the profits, a say in the company, and a voice in the global marketplace.
The only Fair Trade distributor that is itself a worker-owned cooperative, Equal Exchange is also the largest Fair Trade distributor in the US. In addition, Equal Exchange is a pioneer in the Domestic Fair Trade movement.
Fair Tees is run by students at the University of Michigan and provides options for student groups and others to buy fair trade and organic T-shirts in bulk. Until fair trade certification reaches the apparel industry, there are very few options for buying clothing that is ethically produced and fairly traded. Check it out the next time your student group needs to buy T-shirts!
We’re always interested in the innovation of new organizations, so let us know of other mission-driven companies, and support those who are doing amazing work!