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Organic Consumers Association

Fair World Project: New Voice for Fair Trade Movement in Organic Sector and Beyond

For related articles and more information please visit OCA's Resource Center on Fair Trade and Social Justice.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) launched the Fair World Project (FWP) today to promote fair trade in commerce, especially in organic production systems in developing countries as well as at home, and to protect the term "fair trade" from dilution and misuse for mere PR purposes. The OCA's new project fills the critical need for a watchdog of misleading fair trade claims, and a cheerleader for dedicated fair trade mission-driven companies. Through FWP, OCA will focus on promoting projects that connect the environmental and health benefits of organic agriculture with the social benefits derived from fair trade.

The Fair World Project's inaugural publication of For a Better World will debut at the Fair Trade Futures Conference, September 10-12 at the Boston Marriott Hotel-Quincy. Fifty thousand copies will be distributed to fair trade outlets such as co-ops and organic markets nationwide. The publication features candid articles on the fair trade movement, including different approaches to fair trade certification, exceptional fair trade projects abroad and at home in the West, as well as how to reintegrate fair trade back into the organic movement.

"As demand from conscious consumers expands the market for fairly traded products we must ensure that claims made by companies hold up to fair trade standards and that marketing and labeling of these products are accurate," says Dana Geffner, Executive Director of the Fair World Project. "With new fair trade certifiers joining the movement, seasoned certifiers enabling questionable opportunistic fair trade claims and "fairwashing" practices more common, the Fair World Project aims to discuss and dissect," adds Geffner.

The FWP intends to encourage critical thinking rather than blind faith regarding fair trade claims and certification schemes. Through publications, events, and targeted campaigns the group articulates and advances the issues involved in fair trade, with the goal of helping consumers, business owners, employees and activists make informed decisions about where and on what to spend their money and resources – to build a better and more just world. The FWP's new website provides a space and forum where consumers can discuss issues within the Fair Trade movement, ask tough questions and share information.

"We will celebrate corporations that are adopting fair trade into their business models, but at the same time hold 'fair-washers' accountable and insist on keeping fair trade's integrity. We will make sure fair trade certifiers and membership organizations maintain high standards to keep fair trade meaningful, not just in the wording of their standards but also in their inspection and certification processes. We will pressure our schools, employers and other institutions to adopt fair trade purchasing practices with regard to food and other consumer products.

"We will confront corporations, especially those already dealing in certified organic products, and government agencies everywhere to compel them to implement fair trade practices in their supply chains. We look forward to a day when all trade is fair," adds Geffner.

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