The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to become a “Fair Trade City,” to celebrate World Fair Trade Day every year on the second Saturday in May and take necessary steps to include fair trade principles in city purchasing.
The core principles of fair trade are to ensure fair labor practices and prices, healthy and safe work environments, to empower workers and to support community investment and environmentally sustainable practices and products, according to Councilman Paul Koretz, who proposed the policies in January along with Councilmen Mike Bonin and Joe Buscaino.
“We’ve been working hard lately, revamping our purchasing policies, including moving away from any Brazilian products due to the intentional and insane wildfires still today being set in the Amazon Rainforest,” Koretz said. “Given the chaos that’s been going on in 2020, and the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of women’s suffrage, I believe this is exactly the right moment to bring forward this fantastic fair trade vision to guide us into a purchasing future that is more sane, more just and more fair to all the city’s partners around the globe.”
The fair trade principles are intended to protect children and women from trafficking and slavery and allow producers to live and work in more dignified conditions, Koretz said.
Fair trade products include coffee, chocolate, honey, bananas, other fruits and vegetables, nuts, rice, sugar, tea and wine.
The council also passed a resolution to encourage diverse businesses and organizations to increase the citywide understanding of fair trade, grow the availability of fair trade products among retailers and add those principles to the city government’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program.
“The tremendous purchasing power we have as the nation’s second-largest city offers us both opportunity and responsibility,” Bonin said. “Today’s action moves us closer to not just declaring Los Angeles a fair trade city but to leading by example and updating our purchasing policies to require L.A. to purchase only goods produced (by fair trade).”
In order to become an official Fair Trade City, as designated by fair trade campaigns nationally, Koretz said Los Angeles had to form an independent local fair trade steering committee, make a range of fair trade products available at stores and ensure fair trade products are used by local organizations.
All of that criteria, among other standards, have now been met by Los Angeles, Koretz said.
“Passing this fair trade legislation makes Los Angeles the largest Fair Trade City in America,” said Elisha Chan, the executive director of Fair Trade LA. “The impact of our fair trade purchases has a ripple effect across the nations.”
The inaugural World Fair Trade Day in Los Angeles will occur May 8.
More details can be found at FairTradeLA.org/pages/la-campaign.