|Fair Trade USA announces split from FLO|
|Written by Grace Gershuny|
|Friday, 21 October 2011 10:09|
In a September press release, Fairtrade International (FLO) and Fair Trade USA jointly announced that Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair) would be resigning its membership in the Fairtrade International (FLO) system effective 31 December, 2011. The statement emphasised that, ‘as we go our separate ways, both Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA are committed to maintaining the benefits we have achieved for farmers and workers, for business partners and for our supporters, and to growing impact over time.’ However, FLO expressed regret over the decision.
A short time later, Fair Trade USA announced that it was entering into a strategic partnership with Scientific Certification Systems to provide third party certification. Californian based Scientific Certification Systems, founded in 1984, provides third party certification in a variety of industries including food and agriculture, forestry and manufacturing. According to the press release, the new arrangement will allow Fair Trade USA introduce certification to a wider range of producer groups, introduce new standards for a wider range of products and offer cost-effective certification services.
The new arrangement does not sit well with many involved in the international fair trade movement. A statement by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) characterises the change as a move to extend the scope of Fair Trade to include plantations and factories, saying that ‘We are convinced that this decision will have long-term and far-reaching consequences for the Fair Trade movement.’
This controversy will be addressed more fully in a future issue of TOS.
Grace Gershuny - GAIA Services
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