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EarthTalk Tuesday: How to "Fair Trade Your Supermarket"

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine


Dear EarthTalk: What is the “Fair Trade Your Supermarket” campaign?
-- Brian Howley, Washington, DC

A project of the non-profit Green America, the “Fair Trade Your Supermarket” campaign aims to empower consumers to advocate for more “Fair Trade” products on store shelves at their local supermarkets. Fair trade is a system of exchange that honors producers, communities and the environment by ensuring that farmers and artisans throughout the developing world are paid fair prices for their work and have direct involvement in the marketplace. The goal of the wider Fair Trade movement, according to Green America, is to build real and lasting relationships between producers in developing countries and businesses and consumers around the world.

And that’s where your neighborhood grocer comes in. “While the Fair Trade movement is gaining steam nationwide, most of our supermarkets still carry few–if any–Fair Trade products on their shelves,” reports Green America. “Together, we can put Fair Trade products within reach for millions of Americans.”

And just how does Green America expect us to do this? “First, take stock of Fair Trade products in your supermarket—look for coffee, tea, chocolate, rice, sugar, honey, wine, fresh fruit, and olive oil.” Scan the relevant aisles for third-party certifier Fair Trade USA’s distinctive black-and-white “Fair Trade Certified” label, which is only attached to imported goods where the producers receive fair prices for their products and where strict socio-economic and environmental criteria are met during production. Alternatively, look for the logos of other third-party certifiers such as “Fair for Life” or “Fair Trade Federation” on product labels if you think fair trade versions may be available in a given product line.

“Then, you can encourage the store to stock more Fair Trade products by talking to the store manager as a loyal customer,” adds Green America. They suggest using comment cards, which can be key to getting a store with no Fair Trade items to start carrying them. “Every time you go grocery shopping, drop a comment card in the box asking your manager to stock Fair Trade items.” Of course, talking to a store manager in person may be even more effective, especially if you are armed with a pile of your receipts from the store from the previous month or two to show how much spending power you alone would be able to allocate toward Fair Trade versions of the items you are buying there.

Another creative way to spread the Fair Trade gospel would be by volunteering to hand out free samples of Fair Trade products that the store already sells in order to raise awareness and build consumer demand. “Stores sell more of a product when a sampling table is set out, and if you, your friends and family are working the table, the labor is free for the store too.”

But why stop with your local market? If there is a chain supermarket outlet in your area, take it to the top by writing an e-mail, letter or postcard to corporate headquarters informing them of your desire to buy Fair Trade items in all of their stores. Check out the Fair Trade Your Supermarket website (link below) for more tips on how to make your next shopping trip fairer to the planet and its people.

CONTACTS: Fair Trade Your Supermarket, www.fairtradeyoursupermarket.org; Green America, www.greenamerica.org; Fair Trade USA, www.fairtradeusa.com.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.


DiálogoEcológico
De los Redactores de E/La Revista Ecológica

Querido DiálogoEcológico: ¿Qué es la campaña "Comercio Justo Para Su Supermercado?”
-- Brian Howley, Washington, DC

Un proyecto de Green America [América Verde], un grupo sin fines lucrativos, la campaña "Comercio Justo Para Su Supermercado" intenta ayudar a los consumidores a recomendar más productos de "Comercio Justo" para los estantes de sus supermercados locales. El comercio justo es un sistema de cambio que beneficia a los productores, comunidades y el ambiente al asegurar que agricultores y artesanos a través de mundo en vías de desarrollo sean pagados precios justos por su trabajo y tengan participación directa en el mercado. El objetivo del movimiento más amplio de Comercio Justo, según América Verde, es construir relaciones más reales y duraderas entre productores en países en desarrollo y negocios y consumidores alrededor del mundo.

Y ahí precisamente es donde entra su almacenero local. "Mientras el movimiento de Comercio Justo gana terreno por todo el país, la mayor parte de nuestros supermercados todavía llevan pocos–o ningún–productos de Comercio Justo en sus estantes," reporta América Verde. "Juntos, podemos poner los productos de Comercio Justo al alcance de millones de norteamericanos".

¿Y cómo espera América Verde hacer esto? "Primero, haga un inventario de los productos de Comercio Justo en su supermercado—busque café, té, chocolate, arroz, azúcar, miel, vino, fruta fresca, y aceite de oliva". Escudriñe los pasillos pertinentes en busca de la distintiva etiqueta en blanco y negro "Certificado Como Comercio Justo" del certificador independiente Comercio Justo USA, que sólo se aplica a bienes importados cuyos productores han recibido precios justos por sus productos y donde se han satisfecho estrictos criterios socioeconómicos y ambientales durante la producción. Alternativamente, busque los logos de otros certificadores externos como "Justo Para la Vida" o "Federación de Comercio Justo" en las etiquetas de productos si cree que versiones de comercio justo puedan estar disponibles en una línea de productos dada.

"Entonces, Ud. puede pedir a la tienda que venda más productos de Comercio Justo hablando con el director de la tienda en su calidad de leal cliente," agrega América Verde. Sugieren usar tarjetas de comentario, que pueden ser clave para conseguir que una tienda con ningún artículo de Comercio Justo empiece a llevarlos. "Cada vez que Ud. vaya de compras, deje caer una tarjetita de comentario pidiendo al director del establecimiento que venda artículos de Comercio Justo ". Por supuesto, hablando con un gerente de la tienda en persona puede ser aún más efectivo, especialmente si está armada con una pila de recibos de la tienda de uno o dos meses anteriores para mostrar cuánto poder adquisitivo usted podría asignar a versiones de Comercio Justo de los artículos que compra allí.

Otra forma creativa de expandir el evangelio de Comercio Justo sería ofrecerse para repartir gratuitamente muestras de productos de Comercio Justo que la tienda ya vende para despertar conciencia y fortalecer demanda de consumo. "Las tiendas venden más producto cuando se arregla una mesa de muestreo, y si usted, sus amigos y familia trabajan la mesa, el trabajo es gratis para la tienda también".

¿Pero por qué parar con su mercado local? Si hay una tienda de supermercado cadena en su área, llévelo a la cumbre escribiendo un correo electrónico, una carta o una tarjeta postal a la sede de la corporación expresando su deseo de comprar artículos de Comercio Justo en todas sus tiendas. Examine la página web de Comercio Justo Para Su Supermercado (enlace más abajo) para más sugerencias sobre cómo hacer su próximo viaje de compras más justo para el planeta y su gente.

CONTACTOS: Fair Trade Your Supermarket, www.fairtradeyoursupermarket.org ; Green America, www.greenamerica.org; Fair Trade USA, www.fairtradeusa.com.

EarthTalk® (DiálogoEcológico) es escrito y editado por Roddy Scheer y Doug Moss y es una marca registrada de E - La Revista Ecológica. (www.emagazine.com). Traducción española de Patrice Greanville. Sírvase enviar sus preguntas a: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Suscripción: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Pida un número gratis: www.emagazine.com/trial.

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