Is Fair Trade Also Big Corporate Business?

This is no grassroots campaign to singularly help the 3rd world underclass. It now reflects a full scale corporate marketing plan utilizing unknowing local jurisdictions.

With only a few minutes of on-line time, anyone can find that the Fair Trade Towns (FTT) movement is supported with donations from at least one big corporation, (GMCR) Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, a publicly traded for-profit business selling heavily to Fair Trade inclined consumers. (http://investor.gmcr.com/)

One million dollars was donated this year alone by GMCR to FTT. Their brands include Green Mountain, Tully's, Timothy's, Newman's Own Organic, Caribou and Keurig.

A little more research will show the leader of the FTT movement is linked to GMCR  and has developed a comprehensive plan to utilize churches (http://boulderfairtrade.blogspot.com/2011/07/churches-communities-engaging-through.html) to promote Fair Trade. So it would seem the Fair Trade movement, is actually sponsored in part by a for-profit corporation that will financially benefit from increased Fair Trade exposure as cities like La Mesa, and now Encinitas too (http://www.fairtradetownsusa.org/towns/ca/encinitas/), are cajoled into providing endorsing resolutions. The GMCR financial reports of the 4th quarter just ending show they earned $75.4 million profit, or 47 cents per share. That's compared with $27 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. Green Mountain's revenue increased 91 percent to $711.9 million.

Do any of the Fair Trade national leaders, local leaders or local promoters own stock in GMCR?

And with big dollar for-profit corporate donations there is no mystery as to how and why the Fair Trade organizations are able to put up such professional glossy websites and endlessly promote their cause. This is a grassroots campaign to singularly help the 3rd world underclass? It likely also reflects a corporate plan utilizing unknowing local jurisdictions.

It's quite a marketing scheme where for-profit publicly traded and private corporations uses the banner of social justice to mobilize church based good hearted citizens into persuading local governments far and wide to use public resources to help sell their product and make a profit.

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Bob W November 12, 2011 at 11:30 PM
Of course it is! I was delighted to see the majority of our city council members vote this down. I understand the church workers actively seeking to help others, but agree, this Fair Trade issue is not what it appears to be. Thank you for sharing what you found Scott.
Scott H. Kidwell November 13, 2011 at 03:13 AM
Yup, it's been a rough Fiscal 2011 year for GMCR. It doesn't sound like so much when a financial report states net sales of $2,650.9 million rather than $2.65 Billion. There are other corporate and foundation giants you can also find involved in jumping on the FT money making bandwagon early as supporting or as parent organizations in Fair Trade as there is profit to be made through sales and government backed loans to underwrite. Sara Lee, North American Philips, Goldman Sachs, The William J. Clinton Foundation, SEEDCO, Smuckers, Trader Joe's, Ben & Jerry's (Unilever), Whole Foods Market, Sam's Club, Target, Bradmer Foods, Imperial Sugar Company, Mars (M&M's), Hershey, Danisco Sweeteners (DuPont), etc, etc, etc, I have no doubt as to the sincerity of the local Fair Traders to promote a better world and would not deny them the opportunity to perform that service.But this movement simply does not need taxpayer funded local resolutions.
Jimmy Sanders November 13, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Big corporate and big religion. Between those two they have plenty of money to advertise. Keep the city out of it!
Kevin George November 14, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Nice work Mr. kidwell!


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