Chicago Fair Trade is far from the only organization working on issues of workers’ rights, sustainability, economic empowerment, and conscious consumerism. We invite you to check out the websites of a few of our allies in the movement to learn more about the great work being done in the United States and around the world.
Fair Trade Campaigns:
Fair Trade Campaigns is a grassroots movement that aims to normalize Fair Trade practices globally by developing Fair Trade tools, resources, and support events in individual communities, specifically towns, universities, schools, and congregations.
Fair Trade Federation:
The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is a trade association that fortifies and advances North American organizations which are fully committed to fair trade in order to improve the lives of farmers and artisans in developing countries. (We recommend checking out the list of FTF member businesses as a starting point when seeking out fair trade products! Browse their member lists here.)
Illinois Fair Trade Campaign:
The Illinois Fair Trade Coalition (IFTC) was formed in January of 2013 to voice the concerns of the people of Illinois about the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. IFTC is comprised of labor, faith, farm, environmental, and human rights organizations. Its goal is to instruct and mobilize around legislation as well as to cultivate a culture of global solidarity regarding worker exploitation. IFTC is nationally affiliated with the Citizens Trade Campaign.
Oxfam America is a global organization, one of 17 member of the International Oxfam Confederation, that envisions a just world without poverty. It strives to achieve this world by working in more than 90 countries to develop lasting solutions to the problems of poverty, hunger, and injustice. Oxfam works to save lives when disaster strikes, invests in social programs, campaigns for social justice by working to change laws and practices, and strives to educate the public in order to change perceptions of poverty.
World Fair Trade Organization:
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a global network of organizations that advocates for producers, particularly small farmers and artisans, sharing the same mission, principles and practices as those of the Fair Trade Federation. It operates in over 70 countries across five continents, with the head coordinating office located in Culemborg, the Netherlands. WFTO works to facilitate membership applications, enforce the 10 Principles of Fair Trade through the Guarantee System, improve the Fair Trade Standard, and to create opportunities for people along the product chain, from producer to consumer, to collaborate.
Green America’s mission is to harness economic power – the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace – to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. They are working for a world where all people have enough, where all communities are healthy and safe, and where the bounty of the Earth is preserved for generations to come. Check them out if you’re looking for ways you can personally take action to make the world a better place and fight against economic and environmental injustice.
International Labor Rights Forum:
International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) is a human rights organization that advocates for workers globally. ILRF works with allies and networks around the world – labor unions, consumer activists, religious and community-based organizations, human rights organizations, and student groups – to demand dignity and justice for workers. They build transnational campaigns in consultation with the workers who stand to benefit directly, and they have long term partnerships in key countries with the groups most committed to worker empowerment and able to advocate solutions.
Sweatfree Communities, a campaign of the International Labor Rights Forum, assists sweatshop workers globally in their struggles to improve working conditions and form strong, independent unions. Campaigns for sweatfree procurement policies foster sustained local activism and strong coalitions of labor, student, solidarity, peace and justice, and faith-based groups. Chicago Fair Trade is proud to have run successful Sweatfree Campaigns in Chicago in 2014, and in Cook County in 2015.
Sweater Purchasing Consortium:
The Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium is a membership organization for public entities that seek to purchase apparel and related products made in decent working conditions. The Consortium’s mission is to end public purchasing from sweatshops and help its members make sweatfree purchases more effectively and less expensively than any single one could accomplish on its own. The Consortium coordinates and represents public officials and others who seek to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not spent on products made in sweatshops, and serves as a coordinating body and resource center for public entities and other organizations that share this goal.
Workers’ Rights Consortium:
The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) is an independent labor rights monitoring organization, conducting investigations of working conditions in factories around the globe. Their purpose is to combat sweatshops and protect the rights of workers who make apparel and other products. The WRC conducts independent, in-depth investigations; issues public reports on factories producing for major brands; and aids workers at these factories in their efforts to end labor abuses and defend their workplace rights.
Clean Clothes Campaign:
The Clean Clothes Campaign is dedicated to improving working conditions and supporting the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries. The Clean Clothes Campaign is an alliance of organisations in 16 European countries. Together, they educate and mobilise consumers, lobby companies and governments, and offer direct solidarity support to workers as they fight for their rights and demand better working conditions.
Ethical Fashion Forum:
In 2011, the Ethical Fashion Forum launched the SOURCE, a groundbreaking database, network, and intelligence base that allows consumers and businesses in the fashion and textile industries easy access updated information and contacts regarding sustainable business practices, designers, and brands.
Fashion Revolution is a global movement to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion and to change the fashion industry so that it values workers, the environment, creativity, and profits equally. It emphasizes everyone’s responsibility to make this happen, from designers to consumers. April 24 has been selected as the annual Fashion Revolution Day, in honor of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse on April 24, 2013, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed more than 1100 workers and injured thousands more.
Conscious Consumerism/Ethical Business
B Corps are businesses that are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,000 Certified B Corps from 33 countries and over 60 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.
Fair Tuesday is an ethical shopping initiative that was founded in 2013. The goal of Fair Tuesday is to inspire conscious consumerism and show how an everyday purchase can change lives in communities worldwide. Fair Tuesday takes place every year on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and fair trade brands and consumers participate in making the movement successful.
DePaul Fair Trade Committee:
The DePaul Fair Trade Committee seeks to promote not only conscious consumerism but globalized justice for workers and producers. Through collaboration with students, faculty, school departments, and local and global organizations, they work to provide awareness about and education to increase equity in international commerce and promote a globally consciously engaged student population.
United Students Against Sweatshops:
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is a grassroots organization run entirely by youth and students. They develop youth leadership programs and run strategic student-labor solidarity campaigns with the goal of building sustainable power for working people. USAS envisions a world in which society and human relationships are organized cooperatively, not competitively. They struggle towards a world in which all people live in freedom from oppression, in which people are valued as whole human beings rather than exploited in a quest for productivity and profits.
United Students for Fair Trade:
United Students for Fair Trade is a grassroots network of students and youth working in solidarity with cooperative communities and workers to promote fair trade principles and models. They work through running nationally coordinated campaigns and projects and by supporting local initiatives and solidarity campaigns with partner organizations. Some of this work includes partnering with fair trade cooperatives, coalition building with other related organizations, shifting campus supply chains to fair trade sources, or fighting free trade policies that encourage exploitation and growing corporate power.
Fair Trade at Northwestern:
The Northwestern fair trade committee is dedicated to making Northwestern a catalyst for change through education of fair trade, increasing the use and sales of fair trade products, and advocacy within the larger Evanston-Chicago community. Through events on campus and within the Chicago community, articles in student publications, and partnerships with other student groups at Northwestern, the committee has made strides towards certifying Northwestern as a fair trade University.