Thank you for your interest in Driscoll’s Fair Trade program. As part of Driscoll’s global Worker Welfare initiative, in January 2016 we partnered with Fair Trade USA to initially bring to market Fair Trade Certified organic strawberries and organic raspberries that are grown in Baja, Mexico. Based upon this initial success, Driscoll’s is expanding the program to include more independent growers, expanded retail distribution and increased sales of Fair Trade Certified™ to include organic blueberries and organic blackberries. In turn, more farmworkers in Baja California will benefit from the program and receive additional funds for community improvement.
A core benefit of Fair Trade certification is that additional funds are generated each time a consumer buys berries carrying the Fair Trade Certified label and 100 percent of those community funds are directed back to the farmworkers and the communities that grew the berries. More than 3,500 farm workers have been trained and two hundred thousand dollars in funds have been generated during the initial Driscoll’s Fair Trade Certified™ organic program. In the summer of 2017, the Fair Trade Committee elected health and educational needs as the areas to invest their funds:
More than 80 volunteers joined 38 doctors as well as more than 100 medical students across Baja California at the Restaurante Misión Santa Isabel in San Quintín on May 6th and 7th 2017 to provide hundreds of medical exams to community members and their families. As well, more than 500 contact lenses, 1,200 toothbrushes and toothpastes and dozens of education seminars to community members were offered at no cost. A second Health Fair is schedule for Fall of 2017.
More than 1.7 K packages of school supplies were distributed to Baja families with the intent to reduce the high costs associated with preparing their kids for going back-to-school. Volunteers came together to distribute the backpacks filled crayons, pencils, scissors, and basic stationery. Long-term the goal is to reduce the number of children who drop out of school.
The Fair Trade Certified™ process introduces a democratic system in which Fair Trade Committees made up of local farmworkers are elected to represent their communities and determine how funds raised through the premium will be invested. Through a combination of survey results and focus groups, the Fair Trade Committee elects the areas that will benefit them the most.
As part of best practices and to create understanding of the program’s full potential, the Fair Trade Committee also visits other Fair Trade USA farms within Mexico. Additionally, a more formalized Labor Committee was created through the Fair Trade Certified™ organic program to increase communication between the employees and farm management.
The Fair Trade Certified™ program is one of many initiatives Driscoll’s has implemented as part of its commitment to sustainable business practices. Fair Trade USA standards complement Driscoll’s existing independent and comprehensive global Worker Welfare standards, which were introduced in 2015. Driscoll’s Global Worker Welfare Standards represent criteria that apply where local laws do not exist, are not consistently enforced, or provide inefficient worker protection. Driscoll’s takes this commitment to worker welfare seriously and continually audits its many independent growers in order to ensure its standards are being upheld.
Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers; protects fragile ecosystems; and builds strong, transparent supply chains through independent, third-party certification. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ label signifies that rigorous standards have been met in the production, trade and promotion of Fair Trade products from over 80 countries across the globe. Recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also provides critical capacity-building programs at origin, and educates consumers about the power of their purchase.
Visit Fair Trade USA to learn more or see examples of how developing communities have used the funds from Fair Trade to improve their quality of life.
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