Fair Trade USA has done much to increase awareness of working conditions in the food and clothing industries. But I was disheartened to discover in my research for an upcoming article that the organization split from Fair Trade International in 2011, stating “that FI’s requirements were too stringent for its corporate members” (CorporateRegister.com).
As a result, items marked with the Fair Trade USA label don’t count toward statistics on global fair trade sales. Even though this is old news by now, I’m ashamed that my country’s primary fair trade certification organization would compromise globally recognized fair trade requirements for the sake of its “corporate members.” And despite the US having a population nearly 5 times that of the UK, the UK is the world leader in fair trade sales. It’s time we get our act together.