News Updates

  • One Month Challenge 2011

    Posted January 18th 2011

    The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) and its Fair Trade Manitoba (FTM) program are excited to present our fifth annual Fair Trade One-Month Challenge!  Manitobans are invited to take up the challenge by consuming fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate - rather than conventional brands - for the period of from Valentine’s Day, February 14th to March 15th.  CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP Read More »

  • Environment, Social Causes Play a Role in Holiday Giving

    Posted December 10th 2010

    It’s that time of year again!  A recent market study, done by eBay Canada, showed that more that one quarter of working Canadians have considered, or actually have called into work with the “holiday shopping flu”.  Many consumers told the survey that their jobs, and even their families, got in the way of needing to get their shopping done.  Of course, the on-line retail companies, through, argue that you don’t need to avoid your office or your home!  You can shop from the comfort of your computer terminal and, unless your co-workers or your family members are shadowing you, no one will be the wiser and everyone ultimately will be the happier. Read More »

  • Shoe Industry Treads on Child Workers’ Rights

    Posted November 1st 2010

    Our youngsters will be going door to door on Halloween, putting lots of “mileage” on their shoes in order to collect treats from neighbours.  Little do the kids or their parents (us) know that many of our shoes are the product of exploited children toiling in Third World workshops.  The UN’s International Labour Office (ILO) estimates that over 250 million children between the ages of five and fourteen work in developing countries.  Almost two-thirds of these child workers can be found in Asian factories, making items such as shoes, clothing, rugs and sports balls.  The other one-third works in agricultural production in Africa and Latin America.  Many of our foods and other everyday items are supplied by them at the cost of their health, education and human rights. We commonly call these factories where shoes, rugs and clothing are made “sweatshops”.  They predominate in Pakistan and India in South Asia and are characterized by very poor or no wages, no benefits, unhealthy working conditions, and abuse (verbal, physical and sexual).  As young workers never make any money, never get any education, and are worked until they are physically spent, they are caught in a cycle of poverty from which they never emerge. Read More »

  • Halloween A Celebration of Children, Not Child Slavery

    Posted October 15th 2010

    A lot of chocolate goes into circulation during Halloween, from the cocoa plantations of West Africa to the processors mainly in Europe, to the grocery stores of Western countries, and into the pillow cases, bags, hands and mouths of consuming children and their parents.  Among shoppers and sweet-toothed chocoholics, Hershey’s brand is considered a delicacy, with a recognized name, a Pennsylvanian tradition, but an unknown reality of supporting child labour overseas and job cuts at home to keep production costs down. Global Exchange, a US-based non-governmental organization with a well-known brand as an educator on world issues and a tradition of campaigning against corporate power in the food industry, produced a corporate social responsibility report last month on Hershey’s, “Time to Raise the Bar”.  This document calls upon Hershey’s to take real action on human rights violations in its cocoa supply chain, including independent verification that no forced labour or child trafficking is taking place, a commitment to converting one of its top five selling bars to 100% fair trade sourced, and a plan for future fair trade conversion of its products. Read More »

  • Celebrating the ‘Global’ and ‘Local’ in Fair Trade: The Harvest Moon Festival’s Fair Trade Fair

    Posted September 16th 2010

    There is an emerging trend in our society to view our support of trade as either “global” or “local”—a dichotomy that may not necessarily be accurate when we ask: What is fair trade? Does it refer only to products traded from the Global South that are approved by a fair trade labelling organization? Or can it also apply more broadly to sustainably-produced goods whose producer is being fairly compensated for their labour? At the Harvest Moon Festival, held September 17th-19th in Clearwater, Manitoba, both global and local are celebrated through the “Fair Trade Fair”. The Fair will be held from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, September 18th, and will feature internationally-traded and locally-produced goods, with the aim of raising awareness about fair trade and providing a way for festival-goers to participate in a system that supports these vendors! This fits with the Harvest Moon Festival’s goal of supporting sustainable, local food production and rural communities, who are largely struggling to be heard in a quickly-changing world market—but also acknowledges the parallel lives of small-scale producers in the Global South, many of whom are also struggling to make ends meet. Read More »

  • Fair Trade Cadbury Bars Now Available

    Posted September 13th 2010

    This summer, Cadbury chocolate made the decision to ‘Go Fair Trade’ with their Dairy Milk bars - marking a huge step forward in the incorporation of fair trade into the ‘mainstream’. The announcement came on Cadbury’s 100th anniversary of their first cocoa crop in Ghana “This pioneering announcement is deeply aligned with our values and principles and is a natural evolution of the work we have done in Ghana for over a century,” said Cadbury on their website. “Fair Trade Certification of Cadbury Dairy Milk is the largest Fair Trade chocolate announcement in Canadian history, bringing Fair Trade chocolate to virtually every corner of Canada.” The bars are now available for purchase in most supermarkets. Cadbury predicts that this movement will quadruple the sales of fair trade cocoa from Ghana. Read More »

  • World Cup Football a Potential Path to Peace, Fair Trade

    Posted June 28th 2010

    Article for Brandon Sun “Small World” Column, Saturday, June 26/10 by Zack Gross Life didn’t have to end for sports enthusiasts this spring after two months of Stanley Cup hockey playoffs.  Within a couple of days, a month of World Cup football, or what we call soccer, began.  However, for the very poor people who do the hard work in the world sports ball industry, unfair labour practices is a source of grave concern.  Fair Trade activists are targeting the NEXT World Cup, in 2014 in Brazil, to attempt to make the sport more socially responsible.  In the meantime, some of the sports’ greatest stars are having some impact in calling on their countries to end internal conflict and pay attention to social and human rights concerns. Read More »

  • Fair Trade Advocates for Avocado Producers

    Posted April 26th 2010

    The benefits of “fair trade” are many.  Fair prices mean that farmers benefit from pre-financing, have their production costs covered and receive decent wages.  The “fair trade premium” is a bonus that goes to co-operatives and communities to fund such projects as clinics, schools, training courses and needed equipment.  There is no child labour and efforts are made to ensure that women are full partners in any venture.  Environmentally-friendly farm practices are encouraged – for instance, 85% of all fair trade coffee is organic.  Foreign markets are found for fair trade crops and this trade, not aid, helps farmers produce their way out of poverty rather than being victims of predatory trade policies and dependent on aid programs. Read More »

  • Organic Planet Worker Co-op: Manitobans ‘Go Bananas’ for Fair Trade Produce!

    Posted March 16th 2010

    Organic Planet Worker Co-op could be seen as a trailblazer on a variety of paths. Founded as a worker-owned co-operative in 2003, the grocery, vegan deli and health product retailer has been a leader in providing organic and locally-sourced food products to customers—and recently, they’ve added ‘fair trade’ to their list of sustainable contributions. Located in the heart of Winnipeg’s Wolseley area, at 877 Westminster Avenue, Organic Planet Worker Co-op has committed to building a strong neighbourhood through adhering to the principles of Community Economic Development, while running on a non-hierarchical system of consensus and worker equality. However, you don’t have to have a ‘membership’ to shop at Organic Planet—their sales are open to the public! Read More »

  • Fair Trade Wines

    Posted February 24th 2010

    MCIC’s Fair Trade Manitoba program congratulates the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) for its commitment to sourcing Fair Trade Certified wines.  There are now almost twenty different fair trade wines from Argentina, Chile and South Africa available in red and white at most Manitoba Liquor Marts in Winnipeg and around the province. They can be identified by the international fair trade logo and by “shelf talkers” (signs that describe the item) affixed below them in stores.  Read More »

This program was made possible with financial support of the Government of Manitoba,
and was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

Government of ManitobaGlobal Affairs Canada