Today, the TTG Bay Area office team had the exciting opportunity of visiting the Fair Trade USA headquarters in Oakland, CA. The lovely and inspiring Katie Barrow greeted us and took us on a tour of their offices. We visited with Fair Trade USA team-members Skyping with farmers, designing promotional materials and the brilliant Nora Pittenger who insisted she had her dream job (as Senior Manager for Consumer Packaged Goods), surrounded by tea, coffee and chocolate at her desk! It was a blast strolling through their clean, modern, open office space, complete with “Innovation” and “Wellness” rooms! We’re not sure if it’s that, or the awe-inspiring “Product Wall” (pictured above) but they’re doing something right over there, as the largest certifier of Fair Trade goods, nationwide.
What is Fair Trade? Watch this quick video from Fair Trade USA
The work being done at Fair Trade USA is consciousness embodied. Their certification aims to improve factory and farm working conditions and empower brands to meet the highest of ethical standards. Looking for the Fair Trade USA certification label on products, where ever you shop, is a huge step towards being a more conscious consumer.
After our tour, we sat down with Parker Townley, National Organizer of Fair Trade Colleges and Universities to talk about bringing it back to our programs at TTG and each of our campuses. Believe it or not, there are Fair Trade campuses and student groups at schools across America. Find out how you can be and advocate for change on your campus, on their site! We munched on some DELICIOUS Alter Eco truffles and brainstormed, big time. My mind was on my home campus, New York University (go Violets!). As New Yorkers, my fellow students and I are faced with consumer choices every time we walk out the door. We consider what’s in, what’s out, what’s on sale, and what’s made by a designer. Not to mention nutritional
information, calorie counts and value — but we need to be considering imperative conscious consuming factors like Fair Trade certification as well. How can you advocate for Fair Trade products on your campus? That’s something I’ll be thinking about a lot.
Here in the office, and within all of our programs, we talk so much about the impacts of what we consume — food, water, electricity, clothing, cars. When you look for a Fair Trade alternative, you are consuming for good. There are already so many Fair Trade certified products out there but, the more demand created by seeking that ethical quality when we shop and the more we recognize retailers that are moving in the right direction, the more diversity we’ll see!
We had a wonderful morning at the Fair Trade USA headquarters, leaving armed with inspiration and some amazing Fair Trade swag! Shout out to our trailblazing partners we spotted on the Product Wall: Nutiva, Prana, & Numi Tea!
(left to right) Madeleine Welsch, Jenna Zimmerman (me), Ashley Ugarte, Jonny Yau, Anna Rhoads, and Alice Beittel with our favorite Fair Trade USA certified products. Mine? Equator Coffee! (fitting the New Yorker stereotype, consciously)
Change the World. Please, and Thank You. – Jenna xx