Initiative to Organize the N. America Fair Trade Movement Announces Next Steps

An initiative that started in late 2010 to organize and strengthen the Fair Trade movement in N. America, has announced next steps. Initially known as the N. America Fair Trade Stakeholder Council, the effort has changed its name to The Fair and Alternative Trade Alliance (FATA). FATA is now welcoming additional members as it creates a vision for the international Fair Trade movement, as well as a vision for the domestic Fair Trade movement. FATA will then propose ways the 2 movements can collaborate on common interests, and support each other on divergent interests.

Introduction
The Fair and Alternative Trade Alliance (FATA) is a group of stakeholder who have come together to organize the North American international and domestic fair trade movements under a coordinated infrastructure, strive for cooperation and accountability within these movements, and develop a clear external message. The name recognizes that we are a collaboration of organizations and individuals involved in varying forms of high-bar fair and alternative trade who are dissatisfied with business as usual and are modeling and advocating for a new way forward. We are primarily engaged with organizations who have market or advocacy activity in the US and Canada, but with a goal of global collaboration.
Participation
The initial group was formed after outreach conducted by the original organizing committee to identify key stakeholders in the international and domestic fair trade movements. In trying to balance the need to be inclusive while holding a high bar and without creating membership criteria, we have agreed on the following parameters for participation in FATA with the right reserved to revisit at a later date. In addition to current active members of FATA, we are opening participation to representatives of organizations that have market or advocacy activity in the US or Canada and are part of producer networks (such as CLAC) or the membership organizations Fair Trade Federation, World Fair Trade Organization, and Domestic Fair Trade Association. The exception is standard-setting, certification, or labeling organizations, though we will explore better collaboration with these stakeholders in other ways. We will also pay particular attention to producer participation and the organizing committee will facilitate producer feedback for specific projects when direct producer participation has not yet been possible.
Next Steps
In the coming months we will convene stakeholders of domestic fair trade and international fair trade separately to create papers describing each movement’s history and broader visions. The two groups will then come together to see where there are commonalities and where there are differences with the goal of producing a statement describing where the movements come together and can collaborate and where the movements diverge and can support each other.
After this initial step, the Alliance will set up a website hub to serve both internal communication and external education/communication needs and reconvene the accountability and verification group that began work in the spring on establishing high bar recommendations and expectations for all fair trade labels, standards, and certification programs.
In addition to these steps, Fair World Project is facilitating monthly meetings of the networks World Fair Trade Organization, Fair Trade Federation, Domestic Fair Trade Association, and CLAC—the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Fair Trade Producers with goals of information exchange and deeper collaboration among networks. Periodic updates will be shared with the Alliance and the public.