Starbucks: Offer Brewed Fair Trade Coffee Daily in U.S. Stores

In the UK, 100% of coffee and espresso served in Starbucks is Fair Trade certified. But in the U.S., even getting a single cup of Fair Trade coffee from Starbucks can be a challenge. That’s because the largest coffee chain in the U.S. doesn’t offer a brewed Fair Trade choice in its American stores every day. And when they do offer a Fair Trade option, its often poorly advertised as such. It is time for Starbucks to work with customers to help their growers maintain a sustainable standard of living that Starbucks employees enjoy.

Fair Trade fights common forms of labor exploitation including human trafficking, child labor, and other abuses by building equitable, long-term partnerships between consumers and producers. Many coffee farmers receive prices for their harvest that can be less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt. But Fair Trade coffee helps end that cycle, empower farmers, and fight labor exploitation.

It’s time Starbucks upped their commitment to Fair Trade coffee by offering a brewed Fair Trade choice in all of their U.S. stores every day. Give U.S. customers the option of buying into a fair deal for coffee growers.


Valentine’s Gift Ideas (Part 1): Fair Trade Chocolates

Taza Chocolates: Vegan, Organic, and delicious. The recipes behind these discs comefrom the streets of Oaxaca City, Mexico. The Vanilla Stone Ground discs are made using only Mexican stone mills, these treats contain only 3 ingredients (organic cane sugar, Organic Dominican Cacao beans, whole vanilla beans).

 The Guajillo Chili Chocolate Mexicano is made by hand in small batches from single source, sustainably grown cacao. To season this chocolate, a small amount of locally grown guajillo chili is used, a spice traditionally paired with cocoa in Mexico. Guajillo Chili Chocolate Mexicano has a rustic texture and powerful notes of citrus and smoke, with a slow-to-develop heat that’s assertive but not overwhelming.

Also available in:

All flavors are gluten, soy and dairy free.


Theo Classic Organic Chocolate Bars: Available in several great flavors, including creamy 45% milk chocolate, dark chocolate, dark chocolate toffee, dark chocolate with orange, dark chocolate with cherry & almond, and dark chocolate with mint. Organic, fair trade chocolate made with the highest integrity, beautifully simple packaging, and outstanding taste. All flavors are soy free and some are also vegan.

Sweet Earth Chocolates: Certified Organic & Fair Trade Treats

About Sweet Earth & Fair Trade Chocolate:

The U.S. State Department estimates that over 15,000 child-slaves work on plantations in the Ivory Coast. They have been kidnapped or sold by their parents to work from age 8 on cutting cocoa pods from trees and processing them, often at the end of a whip. In other countries of West Africa, children work with deadly chemicals, applying pesticides and fungicides to trees without wearing protective garments and without proper training. Amazingly, some of the cocoa used in popular confections - the chocolate you eat every day is grown and harvested under such conditions.

Fair Trade certification guarantees that you are not an unwitting participant in this very inhumane situation. Fair Trade-certified cocoa only comes from certified farmers’ cooperatives, organized to strengthen their farmer-members economically so they can provide for their families and educate their children.

Currently, Sweet Earth beans come from either the Dominican Republic, Peru or Costa Rica, the only countries in the world where there are farmers’ cooperatives that are certified organic and Fair Trade. In the meantime, a portion of their profits from their chocolate bars will go to support West African cooperatives in their efforts to become organic.

Organic and Fair Trade are like two soybeans in the pod of sustainability. Organic supports the soil and human health, protecting us from chemical pollutants. Fair Trade promotes community health by paying the farmer a higher price. Support the future by purchasing our delicious, high-quality products made from fair trade and organic chocolate.


Check out some of these Sweat Earth Products!

Valentine’s Day SpecialsGive your loved one healthy & socially conscience chocolate by giving Organic & Fair Trade chocolate! Sweet Earth even offers delicious VEGAN chocolate options for your Valentine’s Day treats!!

Individually Wrapped Chocolates: Set up a bowl of chocolates on your desk for visitors to enjoy, or pass out these individually wrapped chocolates to your friends and coworkers in individual Valentine’s day cards for a sweet treat!

Haiti Relief Bar: $1.00 per chocolate bar will be donated to Partners in Health: to aid in their relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. 100% organic & Fair Trade, plus the dark chocolate is vegan and soy lecithin free.


Also check out Project Hope & Fairness, a 501c(3) organization supported by Sweet Earth Chocolates.  Its main goal is to help the cocoa farmer.  Right now, they are focusing efforts in Ivory Coast, the source of 75% of America’s chocolate.  There are over 600,000 cocoa farms in Ivory Coast, most of them dirt-poor.  Their goal is to redress the negative effects of large chocolate corporations, which have done little to improve the lives of the farmers whose products we enjoy.  Visit to find out more!

Neon Tommy: Adopting FairTrade On University Campuses Promotes Social Responsibility

Wouldn’t it be nice if university students could know if the products they buy in university stores and the food they eat in university cafés are products of humane and environmentally friendly labor practices?

As consumers, our demands have a huge effect on international markets. Unfortunately, most of the things we consume on a daily basis are products of labor exploitation and environmental degredation. However, there is a solution. Buying and selling Fair Trade products ensures that students are supporting products that, in turn, support fair, sustainable development.

Rather than questioning whether an article of clothing or piece of fruit being sold is the product of sweatshop labor, or whether the low price is due to unfair labor practices and exploitation of workers (as is often the case), products with the Fair Trade certification assure the buyer that his or her money is supporting a system working toward poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

According to the United Students for Fair Trade,

“Fair Trade is a market based development strategy that gives marginalized producers a chance to succeed in the global marketplace and offers Fair Trade consumers a means to make their purchasing power a tool for real social and economic change in the world. Fair Trade products ensure that producer cooperatives were paid a fair price for their goods, which are produced under safe working conditions.”

“Fair Trade” as a system means, essentially, that farmers get fair prices for their harvests, that they work under safe working conditions, that they are provided with a living wage, and that they are guaranteed the right to organize; it also means that the production methods are environmentally sustainable, that the producers protect natural water, forest, and other land areas, and that certain chemicals are not used in production. If a production method is negatively or too heavily impacting the environment, producers are responsible for creating a new plan of lessening the impacts.

As stated by Fair Trade USA,

“Through direct, equitable trade, farming and working families are able to eat better, keep their kids in school, improve health and housing, and invest in the future. Keeping families, local economies, the natural environment, and the larger community strong today and for generations to come; these are the results we seek through Fair Trade.”

Fair Trade also ensures that producers are paid a certain price for their goods, and that producers are given additional money to invest in their communities, according to Fair Trade International.

Several universities throughout the world have adopted Fair Trade policies, creating committees composed of students, faculty, and staff who work together in the interest of promoting Fair Trade and educating others on campus about the movement. In the United States, the first campus to be declared a Fair Trade university was the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. The University states:

“Our consumer spending choices affect people’s lives around the world. The products we enjoy are often made in conditions that harm workers, communities and the environment. But increasingly consumers are demanding more humane, more environmentally sensitive products…we have supported the FairTrade movement and are committed to using and selling Fair Trade items whenever possible and appropriate.”

The University of California, San Diego is the strongest Fair Trade campus of any university in the United States. Their Fair Trade Committee is working toward developing a policy requiring all future food and vendor contracts on campus to sell only Fair Trade coffee, tea, and sugar at all locations on campus. Mark Cunningham, director of Housing, Dining, and Hospitality at UCSD, remarked, “If we show these citizens of tomorrow that they can contribute to sustainability by practicing social consciousness through their purchases, then they’ll take these good consumer habits out into their future world.”

Some companies that provide Fair Trade products are: Alta Gracia Apparel, Chaka MarketBridge, Fair Trees, Cooperative Coffees, Red Tomato, Oké USA, World of Good, Divine Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Unity – FairTrade Marketplace, and Global Sistergoods.

Hundreds of Fair Trade products are available to consumers, including universities, and by purchasing them above other products, consumers are contributing to improving the lives of the workers in the developing world.

A good first step for universities, including USC, to take in the interest of becoming a Fair Trade University, is creating a Fair Trade Committee of students, faculty, and staff who are able to work together in creating a plan to implement a university Fair Trade policy. Eventually, Fair Trade foods whould be made available for sale in all campus shops, Fair Trade products would be used in all cafés/restaurants/bars on campus whenever possible, Fair Trade coffee would be served at all meetings hosted by the university, and would be served in all university management offices. In addition, the university would commit to increasing Fair Trade education and awareness on campus and to using Fair Trade products in all university establishments as soon as it is possible to do so.

Start small, implementing gradual change, and the effects will be felt.

If we work together toward becoming a Fair Trade campus, our university can realize its mission: becoming a leader in social responsibility, and inspiring other colleges, universities, and companies, as well as individual consumers, to follow suit.

[Story originally post by Cara Palmer on November 14, 2011 for Neon Tommy]

Eternal Threads


Eternal Threads is dedicated to improving the lives of women and children most at risk of extreme poverty, trafficking and other forms of exploitation by providing sustainable livelihoods through income generating projects.

Bracelets made by rescued girls in Nepal. Wear freedom on your arm.

Turquoise beads, quartz beads, tiger’s eye beads, moonstone beads, agate beads, jade beads, lapis lazuli beads, Tibet stone beads, penitez beads make up this bright and very popular four stranded necklace. Handcrafted by women artisans of O-Kart (meaning “opportunity”) in hill-tribes of Northern Thailand. This beautiful piece benefits these village women and their children preventing trafficking and other forms of oppression and exploitation. Natural stone beads

These hand-spun and hand-loomed farmed and wild silk shawls are works of art that take a great deal of time, care and attention to detail in their creation. Silk spinning, dyeing and looming is a multi-step process taking days to complete. Each piece is unique and benefits women living in extreme poverty in rural villages of Madagascar.

These 100% wool, fleece lined hats are uniquely fun and will bring a smile even on a blustery, cold day. Handcrafted by young women artisans of Kingdom Investments Nepal, the sale of this item benefits rescued and at risk women, preventing trafficking and other forms of oppression and exploitation.

This “Gift of Water” T-shirt was designed by Abilene Christian University art student, Brian Havins. All proceeds from the sale of these T-Shirts will be used to dig a new well for the women working in our carpet weaving project in Afghanistan.

Recycled Bombshell Necklaces


So I found these necklaces last year and fell in love with them…and now I re-discovered them. So I am sharing them with you.

Description: Leave the smallest environmental footprint possible and still wear beautiful, unique jewelry that sends a message of love and peace. Today the incidence of landmine accidents in Cambodia remain one of the highest in the world. The materials in this necklace could have contributed to that statistic but thankfully these bombshells were dis-armed, cut up, flattened, melted and poured into molds to make this beautiful necklace. Handmade by Fair Trade Cooperatives.



:) I love recycled fashion…

Annual Report Card: Hershey, Trailing Behind Competitors, Gets “F” For Failing To Remove Child Labor From Its Chocolate Production

[Article Source]

Groups: Hershey has failed to live up to promises the company made 10 years ago this month

WASHINGTONSept. 13/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A year has gone by since non-profit groups shined a spotlight on Hershey for its use of forced, child, and trafficked labor in its chocolate products.  Twelve months later, the groups are saying that no progress has been made and that Hershey chocolate is still tainted by child labor.

Today, Green America, Global Exchange and the International Labor Rights Forum published a follow-up to the report they released last year: Time to Raise the Bar: The Real Corporate Social Responsibility Report for the Hershey Company.   The updated report, the publication of which coincides with the expected annual release of Hershey’s own corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, critiques Hershey’s existing CSR initiatives and highlights the fact that Hershey is falling further behind its competitors in removing child labor from its products. The report urges Hershey to commit to sourcing Fair Trade cocoa to stop these abuses.

The three groups give Hershey an “F” for failing to remove child labor from its supply chain. September 19, 2011 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the signing of the Harkin-Engel Protocol – an agreement made by the country’s largest chocolate companies, including Hershey – to put an end to forced child labor in chocolate by 2005.  A full decade after making this commitment, hundreds of thousands of children continue to work in hazardous conditions on cocoa farms in West Africa, and human trafficking continues.  

While some of Hershey’s closest competitors, including Mars and Nestle, have committed to begin sourcing cocoa that is independently certified to comply with labor rights standards, Hershey, the largest and most iconic chocolate company in the US—maker of Hershey’s Bars, Reeses’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Hershey’s Kisses—still lags behind.  

Since the release of the first "Raise the Bar" report, over 50,000 consumers nationwide have signed petitions to Hershey to “go Fair Trade”, and thousands more have called the company and protested its stores. In spite of the mounting pressure, Hershey has yet to make any commitments to independent, third party certification for its cocoa to address child labor, as recommended by a comprehensive report issued by Tulane University, funded by the Department of Labor.

Judy Gearhart executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, said, "A full decade after Hershey committed to ending the exploitation of children in its chocolate, it is a sad reality that this iconic chocolate brand continues to lag behind its competitors in ensuring that its primary ingredient does not harm children."

"It’s increasingly clear that consumers care where the products they buy are from and how they were made," said Elizabeth O’Connell, Fair Trade Campaigns Director at Green America, "Every day that Hershey delays in instituting Fair Trade certification to prevent forced labor in its products is a day that tarnishes Hershey’s image as "America’s Chocolate Company".

Consumers, businesses, and legislators are increasingly pushing for greater transparency and the reduction of labor abuses in supply chains.  The Time to Raise the Bar report calls for Hershey to take significant action on child labor, including immediate steps to eliminate forced, trafficked and child labor from its supply chain and the adoption of Fair Trade Certification for its major products.

To read Time to Raise the Bar: The Real Corporate Social Responsibility Report for the Hershey Company please visit


Global Exchangeis a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. For more information, go to:


Green America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. For more information, go to:


The International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. For more information, go to:

SOURCE Green America, Washington, DC

Some of my favorite Fair Trade products…

Maggie’s Organics: Fair Trade Certified Ruched Scarves

RePEat Bamboo Utensil Set (Seriously, I love these!!)

Pistil Women’s Andina Belt

Hemp Shayma Street Fair Bag (by Taraluna)

Knit Animal Earflap Hat

Recycled Silk Sari Bucket Bag (by Taraluna)

Red Alpargatas (by Working World)


Check out more fair trade products from Taraluna (bags/accessories & home/kitchen), Working World (shoes & clothing), Maggie’s Organics (clothing), and Gaiam (artwork & decor)…just to name a few good ones!! :)

11 Facts About Sweatshops



  1. 85% of sweatshop workers are young women between the ages of 15-25.
  2. Sweatshop workers earn as little as ½ to ¼ of what they need to provide for basic nutrition, shelter, energy, clothing, education and transportation.
  3. In order to meet the basic nutritional needs of their families, sweatshop workers spend between 50% to 75% of their income on food alone.
  4. Almost 75% of the retail price of a garment is pure profit for the manufacturer and retailer.
  5. For less than 1% of Nike’s advertising budget, wages could be doubled for all workers making Nike university clothing.
  6. While the garment industry is notorious for their involvement in the sweatshop industry, they aren’t the only culprits. Common sweatshop goods include tires, auto parts, shoes, toys, computer parts, electronics, and nearly every other kind of manufactured good.
  7. The U.S. government often gives foreign aid to those same countries whose poverty is directly linked to exploitation by US businesses operating abroad.
  8. A recent poll showed that 76% of Americans believe that workers should be protected just as corporate trademarks and products are in the global economy.
  9. According to the Department of Labor, over 50% of U.S. garment factories are sweatshops. Many sweatshops are run in this country’s apparel centers: California, New York, Dallas, Miami and Atlanta.
  10. There are probably sweatshops in every country in the world - anywhere where there is a pool of desperate, exploitable workers. Logically, the poorer a country is, the more exploitable its people are. Labor violations are, therefore, especially widespread in third world countries.
  11. Many Americans believe the clothing they purchase is manufactured in America. In fact, the majority of private label clothing is manufactured in at least 48 countries around the world, not in the U.S.

Great list—you should also check out this post we did in April on Nike’s sweatshop policies: Dear Nike, Your workers deserve a living wage

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade is an alternative approach to conventional trade that is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. It provides better terms of trade and ensures the sustainability of production and trade, even in times of economic instability. The Fair Trade standard aims to correct the imbalance of power that has been created through trading relationships and to redress the injustices of conventional trade.

For producers, Fair Trade means prices that aim to cover the costs of sustainable production, an additional Fair Trade Premium, advance credit, longer term trade relationships, and decent working conditions for hired labour. (

Fair Trade rewards and encourages farming and production practices that are environmentally sustainable. It also encourages producers to strive toward organic certification. Producers are required to:

  • Protect the environment in which they work and live, including areas of natural water, virgin forest, and other important land areas as well as dealing with problems of erosion and waste management.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor an operations plan on farming and techniques that reflects a balance between protecting the environment and good business results.
  • Follow national and international standards for the handling of chemicals (there is a list of chemicals which are prohibited).
  • Avoid (intentionally) using products which include genetically modified organisms (GMO)
  • Monitor what affect their activities are having on the environment then make and implement a plan for how to lessen the impacts.


There are two distinct sets of Fair Trade standards—one set applies to smallholder producers that are working together in cooperatives or other organizations with a democratic structure. The second set applies to hired labors/workers whose employers pay decent wages, guarantee the right to join trade unions, ensure health and safety standards, and provide adequate housing where relevant. The standards also cover terms of trade, which most products having a set Fair Trade Price, which is the minimum price that must be paid to producers. This price aims to ensure that producers can cover their average costs of sustainable production. It provides a safety net for farmers when the world markets fall below the sustainable level and protects against vulnerability. When the market price is higher than the Fair Trade minimum, the buyer must pay the higher price.

Producers also receive a Fair Trade Premium, which is an additional sum that producers use to invest in their communities. The money goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers, which is used to improve social, economic, and environmental conditions. The use of this money is decided upon democratically by productions within their farmers organization or by workers on a plantation. It may be invested in education, healthcare, farm improvements to increase yield or quality, or processing facilities to increase income. The broader community outside the producer organization often benefits from these improvements as well.

Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Its purpose is to create opportunities for producers and workers who have been economically disadvantaged or marginalized by the conventional trading system. If fair access to markets under better trade conditions would help them overcome barriers to development, they can join Fair Trade.

Trade operators can join Fair Trade if they are committed to supporting these Fair Trade objectives. This standard should be viewed as the minimum requirement on traders for demonstration of their commitment to Fair Trade.

Companies trading Fair Trade products must:

  1. Pay a price to producers that aims to cover the costs of sustainable production (i.e. the Fair Trade Minimum Price)
  2. Pay an additional sum that producers can invest in development (i.e. the Fair Trade Premium)
  3. Partially pay in advance when producers ask for, thereby providing advanced credit.
  4. Sign contracts that allow for long-term planning and sustainable production practices.

For a full list of Fair Trade Standards, visit Fairtrade Standards.

For more information on where to find Fairtrade products, visit Fairtrade Products.


Fair Trade Fashion:

Nicole Miller has partnered up with Indego Africa to create a fair-trade clothing & jewelry line. 15% of the profits will be donated to Indego Africa (an innovative social enterprise that partners with women artisans in Rwanda on a fair trade basis to drive forward a sustainable, long-term solution to poverty in Africa ) The pieces are stunningly beautiful and worth every penny check out Nicole Miller’s Website for more info.

Thank you Refinery29 for this great find!


Fantastic! :)

We love Ben & Jerry’s because…

There are plenty of reasons to love Ben & Jerry’s, not least of which being their delicious and creative ice creams and sorbets. But Ben & Jerry’s really receives a gold star in our book because of the way they have chosen to do business. They have provided a brilliant model for ethical business practices—one we hope others will emulate. Here are some of our top reasons for loving Ben & Jerry’s:

  1. They pay their workers a livable wage. All full time manufacturing employees are paid enough to allow for a quality of life that includes decent housing, health care, transportation, food, recreation, savings, and miscellaneous expenses. In recent years, Ben & Jerry’s livable wage has been more than twice the national minimum wage.
  2. They are committed to community service. In recent years, they have cooked, boxed, and planted food for the Vermont Food Bank, rebuilt houses in New Orleans, and built a playground in a low-income neighborhood in Berlin, Germany. In company-owned Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops, they have also created programs with nonprofit partners to help young people facing big challenges to learn job and life skills. Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen once said, “Business has a responsibility to give back to the community.” And we agree.
  3. They give $1.8 million to nonprofit organizations every year through the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. This philanthropy is employee-led by non-management, employee advisory groups who consider proposals and recommend grants. Some of the funded organizations include the Center for Immigrant Families, the United Workers Association, Farm Worker Pesticide Project, and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.
  4. They have a PartnerShop program that offer job and entrepreneurial training to youth and young adults that may face barriers to employment. PartnerShops help people build better lives. They are independently owned and operated by community-based nonprofit organizations. And Ben & Jerry’s waives the standard franchise fees and provides additional support to help nonprofits operate strong businesses. As PartnerShop operators, nonprofits retain their business proceeds to support their programs.
  5. They work to reduce their impact on the environment. They have created “the clean, green freezer” that use hydrocarbon gases. These freezers do not contribute to global warming or the depletion of the ozone layer. They are also a partner of the Dairy Stewardship Alliance, which promotes sustainable farming practices. They have created toolkits to helps dairy farmers assess their own practices and move toward economic, social, and environmental well-being. They also monitor their impact on global warming and invest in programs and projects that try to offset carbon emissions. Ben & Jerry’s is “passionate about making their waste less wasteful” by finding creative ways to reuse or repurpose their production waste. And finally, they source all of the paperboard for their cartons from a supplier that uses pulp from sustainably managed forests, and are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
  6. They use Fair Trade certified ingredients. Many of Ben & Jerry’s ice creams use Fair Trade certified vanilla from Uganda, Fair Trade certified cocoa powder from Cote d’Ivoire, Fair Trade certified cocoa powder from the Conacado cooperative in the Dominican Republic, and/or Fair Trade certified coffee beans from the Huatusco cooperative in Mexico. They also use ethically sourced macadamia nuts from Malawi. They are also in the process of expanding their use of fair trade ingredients in their product lines.
  7. They use ethically sourced (local) ingredients and support ethical businesses. All of the dairy used in their products come from family farms that have pledged not to treat their cows with artificial growth hormones. Plus, many of these farmers participate in their Caring Dairy programs that pursue more sustainable practices on the farms. And (one of our favorite aspects), the delicious brownies they use in many of their most popular flavors always come from the Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, NY. Greyston Bakery is a model for corporate ethics—they hire and support low-income people who are making the transition towards economic self-sufficiency. They provide housing for the homeless, childcare, employment training, jobs, and comprehensive health care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Through these programs, Greyston is able to reach (and change the lives of) over 2,000 people every year.

There are many more reasons that we love and respect Ben & Jerry’s. While no company is perfect, we recognize and commend Ben & Jerry’s for their incredible dedication to corporate ethics.

And did we mention their incredible flavors? Rock on, Ben & Jerry’s. You guys understand how to be a force for freedom.

Slavery-Free Chocolate List


About six months ago I posted a list of slavery free chocolate companies. This is an updated list from Stop The Traffik, and is by region. Check it out, and remember that even though it is hard to avoid Hershey’s and Nestle, it is worth the sacrifice to enjoy chocolate that doesn’t come from enslaved children.

Great resource for chocolate lovers. :)