A new comment from “Stacy Wagner” was received on the post “Fair Trade is a Movement Not a Brand: Keep Fair Trade Real! FIXED LINKS” of the blog “Women's Philanthropy--Women's Issues”.
There are many voices within the Fair Trade movement. Fair Trade USA is focused on alleviating poverty in the developing world and ensuring the most rigorous and sustainable social, economic and environmental standards are available to companies that want to participate in Fair Trade. We are dedicated to creating an inclusive Fair Trade model that benefits as many farmers and workers as possible. Internationally, our Fair Trade system has grown to support 1.2 million farmers and workers in 70 countries. Thus, it is unfortunate to see so much misinformation disseminated in a public forum. This negative campaign discredits the work that our organization has done over the past 12 years to deliver more than $214 million in estimated additional income to farmers and workers through Fair Trade certification, and frankly, hinders our continued progress. The statement you have published contains two serious points of misinformation that we would like to clarify for the public: 1) Fair Trade USA’s new name and 2) a complaint filed with the FTC regarding labeling of composite products. Regarding our new name, we have, in fact, submitted a service mark application for our new corporate name and logo “Fair Trade USA.” We believe that this is appropriate as the U.S. member of the umbrella organization, Fairtrade International. Since introducing this new name to the public in October, we have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from our partners and consumers alike. Finally, we have an organization name that represents our mission. There is a long way to go to increase Fair Trade awareness and engagement in the United States. Our former name, “TransFair USA,” has little or no connection to what we do, nor does the public understand the word. It’s imperative that we communicate our efforts more clearly to fulfill our mission. Growth in general public awareness for Fair Trade significantly increases the amount of impact dollars going back to producers. For example, Fair Trade awareness increased from 9% in 2005 to approximately 34% in 2010. At the same time, we saw Fair Trade premiums to producer communities increased from $14 million in 2005 to $48 million in 2010. Finally, we do agree that Fair Trade is a movement, not a brand. Therefore, we will not attempt to trademark term ‘Fair Trade.’ In fact, no one can trademark a fair use term such as ‘Fair Trade.’ That’s why groups like the Fair Trade Resource Network, Fair Trade Federation, and the Domestic Fair Trade Alliance all have the words “Fair Trade” in their names. We are researching the FTC complaint now and really need more information before we can officially respond. We believe that the claims are without merit and that these groups simply disagree with our approach to composite labeling (the labeling of products that contain a mixture of ingredients, some of which can be Fair Trade Certified, and some which are ineligible for certification. We want to be clear that 100% of the items that can be Fair Trade Certified in beauty products are required to be Fair Trade Certified. We firmly believe in this policy, as it extends market access and the benefits of Fair Trade to even more farming communities around the world. We appreciate your concerns and sincerely hope that this information helps to clarify our genuine intentions and support for the Fair Trade movement.