Los Angeles Becomes the Largest “Fair Trade City” in North America

City Council Passed Resolution Promoting Fair Trade Availability, Growth and Education, Making it the 46th Fair Trade City in the Country
Sep 14, 2020 8:50 AM ET
Press Release

OAKLAND, Calif., September 14, 2020 /3BL Media/ - Fair Trade USA® is pleased to announce that the Los Angeles City Council has voted to become an official Fair Trade City, celebrate World Fair Trade Day every year on the second Saturday in May, and take the necessary steps to include Fair Trade principles in City purchasing. In January of this year, Councilmembers Paul Koretz (CD5), Mike Bonin (CD11), and Joe Buscaino (CD 15) introduced both a motion and a resolution encouraging diverse businesses and organizations to increase the citywide understanding of Fair Trade, grow the availability of Fair Trade products among retailers, and add Fair Trade principles to the City government’s Environmentally-Preferable Purchasing Program.

The core principles of Fair Trade ensure fair labor practices, healthy and safe work environments, fair prices, worker empowerment, community investment, and environmentally sustainable practices and products. They protect children and women from trafficking and slavery and allow those who produce the goods we consume to live and work in more dignified conditions. Fair Trade Certified™ products include: coffee, chocolate, honey, bananas, other fruits and vegetables, nuts, rice, sugar, tea, and wine.

“We’ve been working hard lately revamping our purchasing policies, including moving away from any Brazilian products due to the intentional and insane wildfires still today being set in the Amazon rainforest, said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “Given the chaos that’s been going on in 2020, and the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of women’s suffrage, I believe this is exactly the right moment to bring forward this fantastic Fair Trade vision to guide us into a purchasing future that is more sane, more just and more fair to all the City’s partners around the globe.”

"The tremendous purchasing power we have as the nation's second-largest city offers us both opportunity and responsibility," said Councilmember Mike Bonin. "Today's action moves us closer to not just declaring Los Angeles a fair trade city, but to leading by example and updating our purchasing policies to require LA to purchase only goods produced with fair labor practices, healthy and safe work environments, fair prices, worker empowerment, community investment, and environmentally sustainable practices and products."

"Today the City of Los Angeles joined the ranks of over 2,000 Fair Trade cities around the world," said Councilmember Joe Buscaino. "This action is long overdue and will ensure that Los Angeles will continue to promote fair wages, safe work environments, and environmentally sustainable practices throughout our procurement process."

“Passing this Fair Trade legislation makes Los Angeles the largest Fair Trade City in America! Los Angeles is a city with a huge purchasing power and international influence. The impact of our Fair Trade purchases has a ripple effect across the nations,” said Elisha Chan, Executive Director of Fair Trade LA. “Fair Trade is a national and international movement to ensure that the farmers and producers behind the products we purchase are paid a fair wage and working in a safe environment with no child labor. Fair Trade is not only a working model for ending poverty through job creation, but it is also a solution to ending human trafficking, especially labor trafficking in the most vulnerable developing communities.” The five criteria to receive a Fair Trade City designation, as recognized by Fair Trade Campaigns nationally, are as follows: 1) An independent local Fair Trade Steering Committee is formed and meets regularly, with the aim of increasing awareness and building demand for Fair Trade products through education, outreach, and public events; 2) A range of Fair Trade products is available in local stores, cafes, and other venues. This includes Fair Trade Certified (™) products and products sold by retailers who are members of the Fair Trade Federation; 3) Fair Trade products are used by a number of local organizations, including places of worship, schools, hospitals, and offices; 4) The local Fair Trade campaign attracts media attention and visible public support; 5) The City Council passes a resolution supporting Fair Trade and the local campaign and will consider a Fair Trade option when making purchases on behalf of the City. Criteria 1-5 have now officially been met by the City of Los Angeles.

“This incredible accomplishment is a reflection of the passion, dedication, and persistence of the incredible community that Fair Trade Los Angeles has cultivated," said Billy Linstead-Goldsmith, Director of Fair Trade Campaigns.  "It an encouraging example of how we can coalesce a movement based on our values and intent to make a positive impact in the world, and advocate for those values at an incredible scale. We are inspired by the leadership shown by the hard-working advocates of Fair Trade Los Angeles and appreciative of the city’s leadership for putting a stake in the ground for equity and fairness.”

The inaugural kick-off of World Fair Trade Day in Los Angeles will occur on May 8th, 2021. More details can be found at FairTradeLA.org/pages/la-campaign.

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About Fair Trade Campaigns

Fair Trade Campaigns is a grassroots movement mobilizing thousands of Fair Trade advocates on campuses and in communities across the United States.  Fair Trade Campaigns recognize cities and towns, colleges, universities, schools and congregations in the US for embedding Fair Trade purchasing practices and principles into policy, as well as in the social foundations of their communities. Visit www.FairTradeCampaigns.org for more information.

About Fair Trade USA   

Fair Trade USA® is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ seal on a product signifies that it was made according to rigorous fair trade standards that promote sustainable livelihoods and safe working conditions, protection of the environment, and strong, transparent supply chains. Rather than creating dependency on aid, Fair Trade USA’s model empowers farmers, workers, and fishermen to fight poverty and earn additional money to improve their communities. Winner of Fast Company’s Social Enterprise of the Year Award and recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation, and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also helps brands and retailers tell their stories of impact and educates consumers about the power of their purchase. 

Billy Linstead-Goldsmith, National Director
Fair Trade Campaigns