Fair trade and small scale retail stores such as vintage and used clothing stores rely heavily on communication networks and building and maintain social relations between producers, consumers, and communities. The same is true with organizations that focus on recycling. This page provides resources and information for those interested in learning more about fair trade, reuse retailing, and recycling. Fair Trade provides a conceptual overview of the fair trade movement, its values and operation principles; information on governance and identifying fair-trade networks, including how to become fair trade certified; cooperative involvement, which offers an overview of how worker democracy enhances the fair trade movement; and a mini list of fair trade vendors. Reuse Retail provides a mini directory including important vendors by product area, with a specific emphasis on reuse retail in Arizona. Recycling provides an introduction to recycling, a directory of recycling drop off points, and information about how to start a recycling program, including a comprehensive list of resources for Arizona.
Fair trade is a concept that calls for social as well as economic equity in exchanges between producers, especially in the developing world, and those that sell and buy their products. In this current era of globalization, there are concerns that profit and pricing are contributing to production practices that are exploitative and dangerous to laborers. While retailers reap revenue and consumers obtain goods, they do so at the expense of keeping producers and their communities in perpetual poverty. Mindful of this, many social economy organizations have assisted producers in obtaining ethical working conditions and receiving monetary compensation that is more reflective of their labor value. To achieve producer equity the movement has created networks of solidarity between consumers and producers as well as labeling initiatives that expose and grow the fair trade market. The objective is to have purchasing power produce livable income for impoverished workers.
World Centric has a basic overview on the fair trade process
For more conceptual background on fair trade see the following books and articles:
Becchetti. L. (2010). “The Fair Trade Debate and Its Underpinnings” in The Economics of Social Responsibility. NYC, USA: Routledge.
Leclair, M. (2002). “Fighting the Tide: Alternative Trade Organizations
in the Era of Global Free Trade.” World Development 30: 949-958 click for pdf
Raynolds, L. (2007). Fair Trade: The Challenges of Transforming Globalization New York City, USA: Routledge
Timmerman, K. (2012). Where Am I Wearing?: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories and People That Make Our Clothes Hoboken, USA: Wiley
Witkowski, T. (2005). “Fair Trade Marketing: An Alternative System for Globalization and Development.” Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. 13: 22 click for pdf
Fair Trade Retailers
This subsection contains a small list of vendors in key sectors that are conducting innovative fair trade practices.
Food and Beverage
BuyWell International: sells organic coffee that is shade-grown in a sustainable manner and procured by fairly compensated growers.
ECO TEAS: a small grassroots company that aims to deliver a variety of tea products grown sustainably and fairly
Etica: a business that sells wine and spirits made sustainably by producers with livable wages.
Fair Trade Café: a downtown Phoenix establishment whose coffee is organic, internationally imported, fair trade certified and hand roasted by local small businesses. Along with supporting equitable exchange, the café participates in the Artlink program and has a public gallery.
Bunna Coffee and Tea: a café; and market located in Tempe that sells fair trade product from around the globe.
Savaya: serving Tucson since 2009 with organic coffee from producers around world, Savaya boasts its beans were acquired at “higher than standard fair trade prices.” Along with its commitment to social justice and quality taste the shop also is a fixture of the community displaying local art and offering brewing classes.
Crafts and Clothes
Ten Thousand Villages: a founding organization of the WFTO that makes it possible for artisans in developing areas to make a living. This is achieved by buying and later on selling their handmade art, jewelry, and furnishings in company stores and affiliated vendors in North America, establishing a market for these products in affluent areas. Profits go toward dependable income for these impoverished artisans.
Global Exchange: provides clothes, jewelry and other personal accessories as well as food gifts made by producers from various countries who met stringent requirements in environmental sustainability and labor equity.
Traidecraft: constantly looking for innovative ways to establish fair trade relationships with developing-world producers and global consumers as well as lobbying in the political arena for ethical trading practices
Las Oltras Hermanas (LOH) Boutique: located in Phoenix, the boutique sells clothes, accessories and gifts that were manufactured with ethical standards and compensation that can alleviate poverty in communities.
Hand to Hand Project: an outreach program by the World Hunger Education, Advocacy and Training organization (WHEAT) that sells hand craft items that benefit the living income of artisans and their families. In the past revenue has supported 48 families with sales going up to $15000 helping every 4th family.
Rainbow’s End: a Flagstaff boutique that has fair trade clothes as well as locally made accessories that directly support the city"s artisan community.
Fair Trade Flagstaff: a non-profit working to establish and preserve ethical working conditions and wages locally and around the globe especially for women with projects such as The Girl Effect.
Caravanserai: a Tucson base store that sells imported home décor and accessories that are recognized as fair trade by overseers such as the FTF. On a rotating basis Caravanserai also displays profiles of the cooperatives and individuals from around the world they partner with.
Toque de Pasion: a Tucson boutique that sells fair trade clothes and organic chocolates and promotes producer independence through equitable wages. The boutique also hosts events and partners with other local like-minded businesses.
Minerals & Other Natural Resources
Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM): global initiative that works to establish ethical environmental and labor practices among mineral producers.
Environmental Justice Foundation: a registered charity that provides education and advocacy training to organizations that works toward ecological and economic justice in the production of resources.
Fair Trade Timber Development Foundation: a non-profit that supports forestry producers in organizing and negotiating. The foundation also seeks to promote the presence of fair-traded timber in the market.
Governance & Networks
The following subsections contain a list of international and regional organizations that cover fair trade operations in North America. Each organization has resources for incorporation, training, marketing and advocacy.
(*) indicate certified FLO Labels
Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO): main objectives are to establish fair trade standards and support producers to get certification including financing and training.
*International Fairtrade Certified Mark: product label established by the FLO and monitored by FLO-CERT
*Fair Trade Certified Mark: label also monitored by FLO-CERT and currently in use by both the TransFair USA and TransFair Canada, both of the FLO
World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO): a global network of retailers and producers committed to fair trade principles with its own certification system among members.
Fair Trade Federation (FTF): independently funded non-profit association of North American fair trade organizations. Members are encouraged to use the FTF logo to denote its fair trade ideology, but it is not to be taken as product labeling.
Promotion, Support and Advocacy
International Resources for Fairer Trade (IRFT): works at both supply and demand areas to form fair trade relationships. Within producing circles IRFT develops laborers’ skills and conducts ethical conduct reviews on factories and farms. Meanwhile IRFT works with corporate retail chains such as Nike, Burberry, and Levi Strauss to incorporate fair trade products.
Fair Trade Resource Network: works to collect educational material for distribution among fair trade institutions.
United Students for Fair Trade (USFT): association of student groups that advocate fair trade products and policies by disseminating information and providing internship and employment opportunities with fair trade organizations.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS): a humanitarian agency within the Catholic community of the United States that has been working to connect fair trade businesses with local consumers, forming relationships of economic solidarity that forward social justice. Along with networking, CRS also has informational resources on fair trade products
Better Beans: a joint project by Equal Exchange and the American Jewish World Services (AJWS) that connects consumers with community owned grower co-ops by exchanging livable wages for kashrut certified beans. AJWS also advocates for equitable food system policies.
Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE): an NGO relief agency that has run various projects to curb global poverty. In the area of fair trade CARE continuously reviews food aid distribution. Other activities include raising money for poverty stricken areas through Full Circle Exchange sales donations and program to benefit fruit producers in Africa.
See http://www.care.org/newsroom/articles/2010/11/full-circle-exchange-partnership-coffee-20101129.asp / http://www.care.org/careswork/projects/GHA033.asp
Oxfam: since 1942 this global syndicate has worked to stem the causes of poverty and injustice. This includes campaigns for fair trade initiatives and policies
Though both are elemental movements in the social economy, cooperatives and fair trade play distinctive roles in spreading economic justice and collective welfare. According to Develtere and Pollet’s paper (see below) cooperatives are social and economic “agents.” Fair trade as a new alternative form of exchange is a social and economic “process.” However, both share a common ground in creating producer equity and increased social value in products. In recent times the link between cooperative organizations and fair trade practices has grown stronger. Cooperatives have cultivated a more distinguished market identity by embracing the fair trade label. This allows fair trade products greater exposure in the market.
The following resources contain more information about the relationship between cooperatives and fair trade:
Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives. (2005). Cooperatives and Fair Trade. Berlin, Germany. Develtere, P. & Pollet, I. click for pdf
Brokering Fair Trade: coffee cooperatives and alternative
trade organisations – a view from Costa Rica from www.retthinkingeconomies.org/uk
click for pdf
Crowell, J. & Reed, D. (2009). “Fair Trade: A Model for International Cooperation among Co-operatives?” Cooperatives in a Global Economy: The Challenges of Cooperatives Across Borders. Cambridge Scholars Publishing
These cooperatives not only sell fair trade products but have also established support relationships with their producers, some of who are also cooperatives. They purchase as well as advocate for their producers.
Equal Exchange: envisioning a food system that empowers farmers and consumers, supports small farmer co-ops, and uses sustainable farming methods. Laborers in affiliated co-ops are paid living wages and work in humane conditions.
Green America (formerly Co-op America): a member owned non-profit organization that educates consumers on fair trade practices and has profiles of associated producers.
Canaan Fair Trade: a collection of women’s cooperatives that enables small scale producers from Palestinian communities in the Middle East to sell olive oil, nuts, seeds and spices at equitable prices.
Vendors are finding more and more the benefits of reusable material. Not only does selling used goods minimize waste it can also produce profit. The term "used" is losing its negative connotation of being dirty or worn, but gaining value due to fashion trends, the need for cheap products and in some cases the chance to obtain classic material such as out of production styles, records and books.
Tips for Helping Retailers Go Green
1) Contact the local utility company for an energy audit
2) Create categories of recyclable material
3) Compress material such as cardboard for easy storage and transportation
4) Educate employees on recycling practices
5) Inform maintenance crews on proper waste separation
6) Provide a drop-off area for reused items
If you are interested in literature on reuse retail and sustainable business practices, look for a copy of The Way of the Buffalo, a compilation of the writings of Spencer Block, founder of Buffalo Exchange. Block wrote about his experience of maintaining a business which was based on principles of sustainability. Copies can be found in your local Buffalo Exchange, Bookman’s, Antigone’s Books, and Mostly Books.
Clothes and Shoes
Soles for Souls: a non-profit organization that collects donated shoes for communities experiencing disasters and supports micro-business practices in impoverished areas.
Best Used Clothing: has been selling used apparel and accessories for nearly 20 years
Project Repat: specializes in reselling of used t-shirts with clever and original design that were donated to Goodwill, resold to a middlemen in the developing countries and then returned to the United States. Each t-shirt is stamped with the logo indicating the trip the t-shirt took before coming back to the United States.
Buffalo Exchange: originally a small single store in Tucson, this reused clothing business now serves communities all around Arizona and in 15 different states. They sell apparel that satisfies local customer tastes. Patrons looking to clean their closet can sell or donate their items.
Threads and More: sells a wide variety of used items such as utensils, entertainment systems, music, and movies along with their array of clothing styles for men, women, and children.
My Sister’s Closet: a resale store that works to create a warm environment for women shopping for used designer labels.
A Second Look: a highly selective consignment store that carries clothes, books and equipment.
Flagstaff Sports Exchange: gives trade credit to customers who bring in gently used athletic and outdoor gear.
Powell’s Books: a social and business fixture in Portland, Oregon the “City of Books” is made up of three stories and covers a whole city block to house an array of used and rare literary material. Powell’s also has a delivery service for those not in the Portland area.
Moe’s Books: a beloved icon since 1959 Moe’s has served the Berkeley community with well-conditioned and interesting books freshly stocked. The store was one of the first to run online sales and has a very active in-house reading series.
Half Price Books: true to their original motto Half Price Books will “buy and sell anything printed or recorded except yesterday’s newspaper.” Originally out of Texas this family-owned business operates throughout the country with many stores and an online system
Strand Books: since 1927 Strand has sold used and rare books in the city of New York
Bookmans: for nearly 30 years Bookmans has been Arizonans’ location to buy and sell books, movies and music
Bards Books: with a strong sense of community Bards is a home for book connoisseurs and has partnerships with various local businesses.
Changing Hands Bookstore: a new and used bookstore, established in the Phoenix/Tempe area since 1974.
Dog-Eared Pages: closely inspects all used books to sell to Phoenix patrons.
Bent Cover Books: has a collection of hard cover and paperback works along with a quaint café.
Mostly Books: serving the Tucson area with used book sales and even partnering with TUSD to supply classrooms.
Amoeba Music: with stores across the California coast Amoeba stocks various used music records and movies and works to build relationships with its customers. A portion of sales proceeds goes to efforts to preserve tropical rain forests.
Gemm: a global used and rare music retail that has a notable collection of out of print music.
Second Spin: boasts one of the largest collection of used music, Second Spin ensures low defects in its products with stores spread out across the West Coast.
Stinkweeds: independently owned and operated in uptown Phoenix with helpful and knowledgeable staff.
Zia Record Exchange: serving Arizona for 30 year as a place to find any and every music record.
Twist & Shout: Tucson’s location for new, used and rare LPs, CDs, and 45s
Les Livres The Books: is certified Green being a Flagstaff center for used books.
Ecycling Tools: to prevent what it calls “e-waste,” Ecycling accepts virtually anything with a circuit board to conserve technological material and reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals e-waste accumulates.
EcoSquid: a virtual market where people can sell their tech material to buyers.
eRecycle: an initiative to reduce technological waste and create jobs in California.
Refresh Glass: an online retail store for upcycled glass to use as cups and vases.
Other Great Stuff
Freecycle: an online community connecting recycling groups with consumers
Craigslist: network of online communities that is common resource for reused goods
Though mainly framed as an ecological measure, recycling also has economic benefits too. First in terms of the environment, recycling lowers the need for natural resources, saving non-renewable materials such as metals and sparring the earth from obtainment practices such as drilling and mining. Economically recycling can be a boon. With the current concern over employment growth, recycling also has the ability to produce jobs. According to Rumpke Recycling (see link below) while landfills and incineration only produces 1-6 jobs, the process of collecting, separating, cleaning and manufacturing recycled goods can create up to 36 different jobs. The EPA reports that recycling and re-manufacturing brings in around $1billion in profits. As a sustainable, economically beneficial practice, there is an increased importance for more accessibility and means for communities to take part, especially with the growing scarcity in resources and issues over financial stability.
For more info see http://www.rumpkerecycling.com/education/why_recycle.aspx
Confused about the Different Types of Recycling and Recyclable Products?
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): a government agency tasked with enforcing legislation concerning human and ecological health. The EPA website outlines the recycling process from collection to manufacturing, as well as lists different recyclable materials.
Confused about the specialized terminology related to recycling?
Rumkercycling has a great dictionary that provides a quick overview to help make sense of key terms
How do I locate a recycling program near me?
Ecology Action of Texas is a nonprofit membership organization working to educate and empower people to create a healthier environment through waste prevention, accessibility to recycling and cooperation. To learn more about this organization and the areas they serve, follow the link: http://ecology-action.org/index
To find Material Recoveries Facilities (MRF), the business directory Zibb has a list of Arizona companies that take in office waste material.
For information on drop-off centers for rechargeable batteries and cell-phones go to Call 2 Recycle. See http://www.call2recycle.org/drop-off-your-old-batteries.php?c=1&d=513&w=9200&r=Y
Those looking to sell their old electronics, digitaltips helps you find stores nation wide that will assist. See http://www.digitaltips.org/green/default.asp
Another great local resource is the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) which has a search engine for recycling locations.
Check out this video from Earth 911 to see The Recycling Process
To learn more about programs in Arizona
The City of Tempe offers information and resources on local recycling practices at their website, http://www.tempe.gov/recycling. They also have a Recycling Hotline, which can be reached at (480) 350-8145.
ADEQ has an informational brochure on Arizona’s waste management programs as well as an overview of its used fuel oil procedures and locations. click for pdf
Valleywide Recycling Partnership has offices in 20 different cities to help curb landfill growth.
Want to start a recycling program?
Check out the EPA’s How to Start or Expand a Recycling Collection Program, for where and how to obtain recyclable materials. click for pdf
The non-profit company Earth 911 helps connect consumers with recycling resources such as its guide to starting a program
Another helpful resource is Rumpke Recycling, a family run waste management company from Cincinnati that have gone green, seeking to help businesses and companies to find ways to get involved in recycling. Their website has educational resources such as tips for schools to get involved and has comprehensive directories to find local recycling centers. See http://www.rumpkerecycling.com/
More Resources in Arizona?
Pledged to improve recycling in both the public and private sector the Arizona Recycling Coalition has networks and lobby committees.
Occasionally, Arizona offers grants for recycling programs and projects involving assistance, education and research.
To find out what is being offered currently go to
Using state-wide partnerships and educational programs, Keep Arizona Beautiful has volunteer opportunities for those that want direct hands-on involvement.
Providing leadership in environmental stewardship the Arizona Environmental Strategic Alliance promotes sustainability, protection legislation and recognizes outstanding work in the ecological preservation.
Working in both the private and public sectors, Sustainable Arizona employs volunteers and professionals to run studies, publish reports and run education programs for communities. http://www.sustainablearizona.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=30&Itemid=46
Arizona State University Recycling Program has a list of recyclable material and resources for collection efforts.
University of Arizona Recycling and Waste Management also has a list of collection materials and methods.
Northern Arizona University Recycling Program is unique in its outreach to the greater Flagstaff community in promoting and assisting in reuse efforts.
Want to learn more? See the following resources
A grassroots online community EnviroLink provides updated information and news on environmental conservation efforts. See http://www.envirolink.org/
With an interactive website Recycle City helps educate youths on the importance of recycling. See http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/
With comics, forums and news links, Green Planet 4 Kids is great comprehensive resource for getting future generations involved in eco-friendly practices