Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fair is Fair is…Fashion

By Courtney Wantink - FASHIONING CHANGE

Eco-friendly fashion has suddenly made a leap into areas I never could have predicted or imagined. But for a girl whose closet is full of thrift-store deals, I tend to ignore this progress. Well…I used to. However, my passion for fair trade and the positive effect it can have in so many ways has ignited in me an irreversible interest in all things ethical and eco-friendly. The fair trade coffee? Check. Fair trade chocolate? All stocked up. When it comes to fashion however, I find my fair choices to be more limited.

A relatively recent step by Fair Trade USA (formerly Transfair USA), as of December 2010, was to announce an Ethical Fashion Certification Label. This, of course, requires members to meet standards regarding the environment, labor/wages, manufacturing, and more. As of yet, there are only four approved retailers. While this is a great beginning, I know there are many others out there making great efforts to be ethical in their production of clothing. Both within and outside of the US, designers and brands are working to localize production, meet environmental standards, pay fair wages, and even create clothing whose life cycle is limitless. Such steps as natural dyes, sustainably-grown fabrics, and cradle-to-cradle design are emerging rapidly in an industry infamous for its impact on the world.

Through the course of my work at Fashioning Change, I’m finding that many ‘green’ brands exist that haven’t achieved the fair trade status - largely because of certification costs. Yet often, non-certified brands are equally fair and transparent in showing the life cycle of their products. It’s important, then to keep an open mind when searching for ‘fair trade’ apparel - it may not have the label, but could very well be doing many things right.

Fashioning Change is working to bring visibility to eco-friendly and ethical brands that have not necessarily achieved fair trade status. Part of our vision is to recognize those consumers who seek to truly be green and fair, and connect them with information that will allow them to both live and shop as such. We seek to look after health, the earth, and human rights all at once; we strive to implement a systemic change in the way consumers shop and retailers provide. Everyday brings more information, more retailers anxious to have a positive impact (and not just on their own bank accounts). Through Fashioning Change’s green shopping intervention app we will make it easy for shoppers to easily find authentic ethical and eco-friendly clothing and products (sign-up now for a sneak peak).

Fashion has always been an evolving industry- season to season I have scarcely been able to wrap my head around new trends. Regardless of what color you’ll put in your wardrobe this spring, the good news is that it CAN be ethical.

Fair Trade San Diego asks consumers to look for the fair trade label when making their purchases.  However, since fair trade clothing is so limited in terms of certification, (click here to see which brands are fair trade certified in the US) we encourage shoppers to make ethical choices when purchasing clothing. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Maya Vinic – A Fair Trade Coffee Co-op in Chiapas

The University of San Diego and Catholic Relief Services (Mexico) have committed to an ongoing relationship with Maya Vinic, a fair trade coffee co-op in Chiapas, Mexico. This opportunity and process has been a unique journey for USD and CRS as partners for the purpose of educating university students and in creating a relationship built on the intention of solidarity with a specific fair trade coffee cooperative. 

Most recent developments will be the arrival of a cooperative member and CRS Mexico staff to San Diego on April 25th. USD, with the support of CRS West, have organized a cupping event through the gracious hosting of Cafe Virtuoso to explore the possibilities to diversify the market for Maya Vinic and to discuss the realities of trade and sales for fair trade cooperatives with local roasters and coffee shop owners. The trip will culminate with a presentation on the campus of USD given by the co-op member and CRS staff on April 26th at 6:30 pm in the University Center. All are welcome to attend.
For any info or questions, please email or visit Fair Trade San Diego on our Facebook page.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Craving Something Salty or Sweet?

Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade

Those of you who happened to be up at 12:30 am on March 3, 2011, may have seen the debut of Ben & Jerry’s newest flavor on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, aptly named Late Night Snack.  It’s a euphoric flavor made with Fair Trade Certified vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and fudge-covered potato chip clusters. Late Night Snack is the latest line of Fair Trade flavors by Ben & Jerry’s who is committed to transitioning all eligible ingredients in their ice cream to Fair Trade Certified. 

Why Fair Trade? Jerry Greenfield says, “Fair Trade is about making sure people get a fair share of the pie. The whole concept of fair trade goes to the heart of our values and the sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.” Ben, Jerry and the company as a whole, has continued to display this type of social leadership over the years, and was recognized in January with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center’s Annual Salute to Greatness Award. 

Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village is proud to share in the good values of Fair Trade. In September 2010, Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village raised awareness of its growing number of Fair Trade flavors by serving over 600 Fair Trade ice cream scoops in the Annual California Coastal Clean Up Day at Mission Bay High School. The goal of the Seaport Village Ben & Jerry’s is to have all flavors certified Fair Trade by the end of 2013, but in the meantime, Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village is committed to making San Diego a more Fair Trade city by working with offices, schools, community organizations, like Fair Trade San Diego and retailers promoting the values of fair trade. “Ben & Jerry’s is glad to be part of the growing movement, which allows socially conscious consumers to have a positive impact on the people and communities in the developing world.”

April 12, 2011, Ben & Jerry’s is having its annual Free Cone Day from 12:00 – 8:00 PM nationwide. It’s in honor of Ben & Jerry’s 33 years of being in business. However, more importantly, it’s a day we thank our valued customers for their continued support. In keeping with Ben & Jerry’s social mission, we have partnered with a non-profit organization to raise awareness and funds for their good work. So if you have a craving for ice cream the 2nd Tuesday in April, come down to Seaport Village and enjoy a scoop of Chocowlate Chip, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, Milk & Cookies, Chocolate, Coffee, Vanilla or even the vaunted, Late Night Snack. It’s FREE and FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED. Don’t forget to take a picture with “Fair Trade Nellie.” 

Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village, 859 A West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fair Trade San Diego 2011 Local Shopping Guide & Resources

Fair Trade San Diego is happy to announce its 2011 Local Fair Trade Shopping Guide.  This guide offers a long, though not exhaustive, list of places to buy Fair Trade goods in San Diego County. It is exciting to see the many different options concerned shoppers have when purchasing Fair Trade. The list features both vendors with storefronts and online, and also has a list of websites offering information and resources on Fair Trade. 

To access this great list click on the ‘Resources’ button on our blog.

Do you know a shop selling Fair Trade that isn’t on our list? Let us know their information and we will be happy to add them!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hershey announces it will go 100% Fair Trade by 2012!


Hersey has not gone fair trade, let alone 100% fair trade…yet! can help make this dream a reality by supporting the Raise the Bar campaign to make Hersey fair trade!  There are many great ways that you can participate in and promote this very important campaign.  

Visit and click on ‘Take Action’ to learn what you can do to send the message to Hersey that you would like all of its chocolate to be fair trade.

According to the Raise the Bar campaign, Hersey chocolate accounts for 42.5% of the US market and countless people work for Hersey in abysmal conditions. Just imagine! If Hersey begins implementing fair trade principles innumerable people would see better working conditions and pay.

Thanks for being a good sport!  Now, will you please play this little prank on your friends and followers?