I am a fair trade consumer who wants to know that both my purchases and trade policies benefit farmers and workers globally. Although I appreciate your support of fair trade market initiatives and making available fair trade products, I am concerned that your commitment does not carry through to trade policy. As a company that has lobbying influence directly and through associations like Grocery Manufacturers Association, I want to make sure you are lobbying on behalf of farmers and workers and not just your bottom line.Please show your support by publicly opposing the Camp-Baucus “Fast Track” bill that would prevent a full and open debate on free trade policies, both within Congress and the public at large. A public discussion is not only in line with fair trade values like transparency, it is the only way we will ensure that farmers and workers are positively, not negatively, impacted by such agreements.
Organic Consumers Association
First the good news: the fair trade marketplace is growing! Never before have there been more fair trade products at your supermarket, co-op, and online. Now the bad news: the US is currently negotiating two so-called "free trade" agreements – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which if implemented will seriously harm farmers and workers. After the notorious North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented, farmers in all participating countries lost income and millions of farmers lost their farms. TAFTA and TPP are expected to cause a loss of jobs, threaten food safety and clean water, and even put eco-labels such as fair trade in jeopardy.
The ugly: major corporations are supporting both fair trade market initiatives and free trade policies. Fair trade licensees such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Starbucks, and Honest Tea (through Coca-Cola) are members of trade groups like the Grocery Manufacturers Association and CropLife America. Both organizations submitted comments on TAFTA that were largely favorable to the agreement moving forward, with their own suggestions for increasing business opportunities and no mention of impact to farmers or workers.
Additionally, these companies have access to the elite 600 corporate advisors to the TPP, either directly (Starbucks) or through the same associations that advocated for TAFTA. Though the TPP negotiating process has been largely secretive, none of these brands have publicly supported a position on trade negotiations that takes into concern the impact on farmers and workers.
Free trade policies have such a big impact on farmers and workers globally that, if passed as is, they will cancel out any benefits to farmers these same companies have created by buying fair trade ingredients.
Tell Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Starbucks, and Honest Tea that it is important to support fair trade policies if they are serious about fair trade. They should ensure that their influence is used to demand fair and transparent trade policies that benefit farmers and workers.