A Fair Trade split

Fair Trade USA has decided to resign its membership from Fairtrade International (FLO) effective December 31, 2011.

Fair Trade USA is setting out on its own.

I’m curious what this may mean for Fair Trade going forward. The entire concept of Fair Trade, at least in the coffee industry, has received a lot of criticism over the last couple years as being good but no longer good enough, especially in light of many roasters’ embarking on their own sourcing initiatives i.e. Direct Trade, etc.

One thought is that this development may be good in terms creating a competitive environment and thereby spurring the two associations towards improving the image of fair trade as a whole. Just a thought.

Another: there seems to me, as I stroll the aisles of my local organic grocer, an increasing number of certification organizations at play these days. I’m curious what sort of competitive environment already exists between all of them, what the nature of that competition is and what, if anything, this development has to do with it.

Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.


One thought on “A Fair Trade split

  1. Daniel:

    Hello from Quito — I believe I was still living in Guatemala the last time we connected via the blogs and interwebs. Glad to see you are getting plenty of righteous coffee in LA these days.

    Thanks for taking notice of the FTUSA-FLO split. Not many coffee cognoscenti have, despite the fact that this is the equivalent of an earthquake in the Fair Trade movement/market, and one of fairly significant magnitude.

    I won’t presume to be in a position to enlighten. I have, however, had some good luck in getting people who are to weigh in on this issue on my blog, from the marketplace architects of this strategy to its most formidable opponents at origin, and lots of good folks in between.

    You can find a summary of all related content with links here: http://coffeelands.crs.org/2011/11/the-ft4all-debates-a-summary/



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