activist notes

Proposal – Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade by activistnotes
September 28, 2008, 11:22 am
Filed under: Fair Trade, Fair Trade Canada | Tags: , ,

Working Name:  Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade


Definition of fair trade:


Fair Trade is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that works towards greater equity in the global economic system. It contributes to greater social and economic equity and to the protection of the environment by offering better trading conditions for and by guaranteeing the rights of marginalized producers and workers, particularly the most marginalized, small-scale artisans and farmers in the Global South. Fair Trade Organisations actively commit to trading in solidarity with small, marginalized producers and to strengthening the connections between communities throughout the supply chain.


(or the FINE definition)




The Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade seeks to empower Canadians with knowledge about how trade can be a positive force to alleviate poverty; distribute power, risks, and rewards more equitably; and create opportunities for people to help themselves. It brings together activists, educators, students, businesses, non-governmental organisations, and other individuals and organisations to contribute to the successful expansion of Fair Trade in Canada.




Through events, networking activities, electronic and printed resources, and joint campaigns, members of the Coalition seek to

·         Offer a space for dialogue among the diverse actors interested in Fair Trade in Canada

·         Facilitate the development among members of broad common messaging, educational programs, advocacy campaigns, and public engagement events about Fair Trade, including celebrations of World Fair Trade Day, National Fair Trade Weeks, speaker and producer tours, and other activities

·         Facilitate the development of educational resources and public engagement campaigns to connect Fair Trade with larger development initiatives, such as the Millennium Development Goals, climate change, environmental sustainability, and broader trends in globalization

·         Explain Fair Trade’s approach and differentiate it from other approaches to responsible commerce, such as sweat-free, buy local, organic, and others, while working with these movements toward our shared goal of making trade and consumption more responsible

·         Support the work of existing organizations dedicated to Fair Trade, particularly the Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO), the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), TransFair Canada, and the Fair Trade Federation (FTF)

·         Mobilize the people of Canada to more frequently choose Fair Trade Certified products and products from Fair Trade Federation / IFAT members[1]

·         Limit duplication among groups working on Fair Trade in Canada

·         Support the development of regional networks of activists, educators, students, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and other individuals and organizations who collaborate to spread Fair Trade in their community

·         Include the perspective of marginalized small-scale producers in discussions about trade and justice issues in Canada





Mechanisms for participation:


Any individual or organization that affirms a commitment to the Coalition’s mission will be considered a member.


Through events, networking activities, electronic and printed resources, and joint campaigns, members of the Coalition would seek to engage members in a spectrum of opportunities, including the following.

  • National Calendar of Events – A web-based calendar(s) created to publicize events held across the country. All Coalition members would be able to post events, conferences, public rallies, and related activities. The calendar would not be moderated. Events calendars could be linked from the Coalition’s website and visible to the public. All Coalition members would also be encouraged to link to the calendar and to use it as a tool for collaborative projects and to limit duplication.
  • Topical and Geographic Listservs – Listservs would be established for key discussion topics and specific geographic regions. Volunteers would be selected to moderate each one, depending on their interests and involvement with the Coalition. The listservs would be open for any participant to post calls for cooperation, publicize research, disseminate resources that have been created, rally support for / participation in campaigns, provide details of speaker tours or events, and share other information.
  • Coalition website – All Coalition members could be listed on and linked from the Coalition’s website under an appropriate category. For example: on pages profiling trading members, businesses could be listed, linked, and described, including the percentage of items that they offer which are sourced according to fair trade principles and information about membership in FTF/IFAT or certification by FLO/TFCA where applicable. A research page could include citations of recent or appropriate publications, as well as details on researchers’ relevant areas of expertise and contact information. The website could also offer contact lists for regional networks and ways for individuals to become involved
  • Sponsorship – For an investment of at least $1,000 and/or 50 hours of volunteer time / year, organisations and individuals would be highlighted as sponsors. Sponsors would receive a prominent place on the Coalition’s website and recognition at Coalition activities. While sponsors could earmark funds for joint projects, they could not dictate the messaging from or approach of the Coalition or its members to any issue.
  • Annual Conference – Each year, the Coalition could gather members and partners together to share ideas, facilitate discussion, celebrate successes, and build momentum. This event could take place in conjunction with another conference or be convened independently, as decided by the Coordinating Committee. Ideally, the conference would change location each year, so as to be accessible to different areas of the country. Using suggestions and feedback from Coalition members, a committee of volunteers, preferably drawn from the appropriate regional group, could coordinate the agenda and details of the meeting.




Presently, a Coordinating Committee, comprising representatives of Fair Trade Organisations, non-governmental and advocacy organisations, and others, meets regularly to facilitate the development of the Coalition. Moving forward, stakeholders representing the diverse interests and backgrounds of Fair Trade in Canada would be (s)elected to serve on the Committee. The Committee will meet on a conference call every other month to consider the overarching needs of the Coalition. Other groups may meet at least once in the intervening months to address business.  At large members could be added to the Committee at its discretion. 


Instead of separate incorporation, the Coalition would contract an organisation with a similar mission who is involved in the Coalition to:

·         Manage the Coalition’s basic accounts (with an appropriate annual fee to address overhead costs as negotiated by the Coordinating Committee and the organisation)

·         Coordinate basic maintenance of a Coalition website, listservs, and calendars of events (unless a volunteer(s) was found)

·         Respond to general email (unless a volunteer was found)

·         Support the Coalition Coordinating Committee in the logistics of any meetings and/or other activities

[1] While the Coalition welcomes any organization or individual as a member, it must also seek to ensure that it can confidently say that the products or businesses it recommends to the public follow fair trade principles. When encouraging Canadians to more frequently choose fair trade, the Coalition will need to explain how it determined that these items are worthy of a consumers’ support – as the screening and certification processes of IFAT / FTF and FLO /TFCA do. By focusing on items from FTF / IFAT members and Fair Trade Certified products, the Coalition will also affirm its commitment to the key product- and business- level actors in the larger international movement. Building Coalition-specific processes to evaluate products and companies would not only be financially and administratively prohibitive, but also go against the spirit of inclusively that has been built for Coalition membership.


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