US: Fair Trade USA to review accreditation plans

By Sam Webb | 1 November 2011

Fair Trade USA has come under fire for its certification criteria from Fair World Project

Fair Trade USA has come under fire for its certification criteria from Fair World Project

US accreditation body Fair Trade USA is to review changes it planned to make its labelling policy after complaints from another organisation in the sector.

Fair World Project (FWP), a campaign of the Organic Consumers Association, claimed Fair Trade USA's (FTUSA) new standards for accreditation "hoodwink consumers into believing they are supporting social change".

From January, FTUSA will stipulate that products must contain 10% certified fair trade ingredients to carry the FTUSA "Fair Trade Certified (Ingredients)" mark and 25% to carry the "Fair Trade Certified" mark.

However, the plans have drawn criticism from the FWP, which said it would not recognise FTUSA as a reputable fair trade certifier unless it reverses its proposed standards.

Now FTUSA is conducting a "full review" of its plans in light of the FWP's comments.

"We want everyone to know that the development of our ingredients labelling policy, like everything we do, is guided by a profound commitment to social justice," FTUSA said. "All of our efforts aim to support and empower hardworking farming families around the world who struggle to survive and who look to us all for hope.

The FWP was not available for comment at time of writing.

Fair Trade products are a boom category in the US. In March, a study by Fair Trade USA and industry research company SPINS revealed that Fair Trade-certified products at mainstream retailers in the US grew by 26% year-on-year.

Sectors: Advertising & labelling, Sustainability & the environment

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US: Fair Trade USA to review accreditation plans

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Readers may also be interested that many years before Fairtrade existed, we imported almost 3 tonnes of instant coffee from Tanzania to the UK to help support manufacturing in the Third World. Last week BBC radio interviewed me about our 'Campaign Coffee', that helped to start the idea of ethically sourced coffee. The broadcast is now available on YouTube (4 minutes):

http://youtu.be/4qiHw40CubY

 

Jon Danzig said at 10:28 am, November 20, 2011

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