Advocates for environmental sustainability would all agree that long-term solutions are going to require changes in consumer behavior. But even the most conscientious consumers sometimes find themselves stumped by confusing labeling and policies that get in the way. Our two guests this week on Sea Change Radio are each trying to make it easier to be a responsible consumer. First we will hear from Rodney North of Equal Exchange, the first organization that promoted socially responsible goods as “fair trade.” He provides the background and discusses some of the controversies around fair trade labeling of goods. Next, host Alex Wise talks with the Sierra Club’s Evan Gillespie, who’s leading a campaign to push for energy reform in California, including a solar bill of rights.
Cadbury, the popular British chocolate maker, just agreed to source Fairtrade cocoa for Cadbury Dairy Milk, the top-selling chocolate bar in the UK. The move effectively triples sales of Fairtrade cocoa for farmers in Ghana, where Cadbury sources from Kuapa Kokoo. It was one of the first cooperatives there to be Fairtrade certified in the ’90s. In the late ’90s, Kuapa Kokoo also started its own brand, Divine Chocolate, to keep more of the value that typically gets skimmed by middle-men and big chocolate companies. Erin Gorman, CEO of the Divine Chocolate USA, welcomes the move, which validates its model of Fairtrade sourcing. Bama Athreya, executive director of the activist NGO International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), also supports the development.
WorldBlu recently announced its first list of the Most Democratic Workplaces. Bill Baue speaks with Rodney North, whose official title is The Answer Man at Equal Exchange, the oldest and largest for-profit Fair Trade company in the US. Equal Exchange was one of four worker-owned cooperatives and one of 34 organizations in all to win the award. The discussion addresses democracy in the corporate workplace and in the capitalist system more broadly speaking, transforming it into a more cooperative economy.