The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Fair Trade and Climate Justice

Please take a moment to join the Fairtrade fight against the climate crisis. Add your name to the petition at The Fairtrade Foundation and spread the word to your family, friends and associates.

Fairtrade is more than a Mark on a product. It’s a call for change.

With the next UN Climate Summit taking place in Glasgow in November 2020, it’s critical we all make sure producers’ voices are heard in the UK and beyond. That is why the Fairtrade Foundation is part of the Climate Coalition, a group of over 130 organisations across the UK, working towards a truly green and sustainable world.


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Fair Trade – A Growing Movement

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published some interesting statistics pertaining to the fair trade global movement.

The fair trade movement comprises over 2.5 million producers and workers from 70 countries, over 500 specialized importers, 4,000 world shops and more than 100,000 volunteers – figures that are growing, according to Mr. Corbalán.

Global sales of fair trade certified goods climbed 15% in 2018 to reach €9.8 billion ($10.9 billion), according to Fairtrade International’s annual report 2018-2019. The profits put an additional €177 million ($196 million) in the pockets of 1.7 million farmers and workers.

Mr. Corbalán cited work done with governments to ensure equitable distribution of benefits in value chains in countries such as Kenya, where efforts to promote living wages for flower workers are bearing fruit.

The fair trade movement has also helped improve incomes of cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, the working conditions of Haitian migrant workers in banana plantations in the Dominican Republic and tackled child labour in the sugar sector in Belize.

 


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Coop Helps Improve Environment

Some of you may have already heard of Fertile Ground out of Oklahoma. I feel like I’ve come across that name before. In any case the company came up in my news feed when an Oklahoma City station aired a segment about them. It seems the company that had been contracted by three local cities to recycle their waste announced they would no longer be accepting glass.

Fertile Ground Cooperative stepped in to see what they could do.

As an environmental co-op, Fertile Ground worked to cut out that corporate middleman.

“We were able to find a solution where we can immediately start recycling glass, right here in Oklahoma, with an Oklahoma-based company,” Singer said.

I found the idea of an environmental co-op intriguing and went to their website to learn more about Fertile Ground. Not only was the business established to improve and protect the social and natural environment, but they structured their organization as a cooperative toward that goal.

WHY are we a WORKER COOPERATIVE?

A worker cooperative is a values-driven business that puts worker and community benefit at the core of its purpose. The central characteristics are that workers own the business and participate in its financial success on the basis of their labor contribution to the co-op, and that workers have representation on and vote for the board of directors, adhering to the principle of one worker, one vote.

Worker-Owners enjoy work because they have control over the conditions of their labor.  Because worker-coops are locally owned, workers don’t pollute their own backyards, they are more inclined to pay themselves fairly, take care of their safety, and contribute to the local economy.  Worker co-ops are also more productive than traditional workplaces because workers have greater buy-in and receive a portion of the surplus (profit).

We love worker co-ops because they can be a tool to empower people who are locked out of the mainstream economy.  Checkout institute.coop for more info about worker co-ops!


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Documenting the most Striking and Inspiring Cooperatives in Five Continents

They say the best way to learn is to teach.  It couldn’t be more true.  Writing a blog post is the process of condensing a lot of information into an easily digestible form.  As a result, I’m learning right along with my readers.  Here’s something I didn’t know:

Cooperatives are not a marginal phenomenon:

  • More than 12% of humanity is part of any of the 3 million cooperatives in the world!
  • The Top 300 cooperatives and mutuals report a total turnover of 2,1 trillion USD, according to the World Co-operative Monitor (2017).
  • Cooperatives contribute to the sustainable economic growth and stable, quality employment, employing 280 million people across the globe, in other words, 10% of the world’s employed population.

You might also be interested to know the Italian researcher Sara Vicari and filmmaker Andrea Mancori, have set a goal of visiting and documenting, in a series of short films, some of the most striking and inspiring cooperatives from different economic sectors in five continents.  They started the aroundtheworld.coop project in January.  You can get more detailed information about the project on their blog,

All the videos will be made available on ICA’s youtube channel


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Are you interested in starting a coop?

From the large amount of material coming into my feed daily, it appears more and more grassroots organizations are springing up around the country dedicated to building a robust cooperative sector.  United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives is just such an organization.

The USFWC was founded in 2004 when a core of worker co-op members came together with co-op developers, scholars, community organizers, and supporters from the broader co-op sector to strengthen worker co-ops through a national, sector-specific organization. Building on growing momentum, this founding event brought together worker co-op practitioners from the existing Western Worker Co-op Conference and the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, as well as key players in Midwest and Southern states, to galvanize and support rising interest in the worker co-op business model.

This is a great organization if you want to learn more about cooperatives or are interested in starting a coop. They have many resources available including a Co-op movement study guide.


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Covilli Brand Organics inaugurates health clinic for workers

You can make a huge difference in workers’ lives by purchasing fair trade. Tad Thompson tells us how Covilli Brand Organics invests its fair trade dollars to improve the health of their workers and the community as a whole…

Earlier this year the Fair Trade program of Covilli Brand Organics Inc. inaugurated a health clinic in Triunfo de Santa Rosa, which is the village where the farm is located, about an hour from Guaymas, Sonora. The project was three years in the making.

Iris Montaño-Madrigal, Covilli’s marketing manager, said the facility offers farmworkers — and local citizens — generalized medical services and dentistry. Very soon the facility will have specialized care.

…Workers receive preference at the facility, which is also available to as many as 9,000 local citizens.

 


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Alternative Economy Promotes Gender Equality in Northern Syria

There is so little positive news coming out of Syria these days that I was surprised and heartened when I found this article published in Kurdishquestion.com.  Although it specifically covers the efforts in Rojava, a region in Northern Syria, to establish grassroots assemblies and cooperatives, it speaks to the larger question of how to democratise all sectors of society, including the economy.  For example, local cooperatives provide:

 …alternative means and avenues that allow traditionally marginalised groups such as women to actively participate and engage with the market…Further, this alternative model allows society to bring the lived experiences of democracy to the grassroots level by devolving and disempowering the capacity of the state to control and direct the market. But cooperatives allow the community to create jobs on the local level, produce locally sourced and generated products, create jobs that do not require specialised skills and allows unskilled workers to gain skills and access to the market.