Los Angeles Becomes Largest Fair Trade City in North America

Kylie Nealis September 1, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA – September 2nd, 2020 Fair Trade Los Angeles is proud to announce Los Angeles’ official designation as the largest Fair Trade City in North America, and the fourth largest in the world, behind Seoul, Rio, and London. We join over 45 other municipalities across the U.S. already recognized as Fair Trade Towns. The movement started in England in 2000 and has quickly spread. Today, there are over 2000 Fair Trade Towns worldwide.  

On August 25th, 2020, Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to become a Fair Trade City, celebrate World Fair Trade Day every year on the second Saturday in May, and take the necessary steps to include Fair Trade principles in City purchasing. The Fair Trade resolution and motion introduced by Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Mike Bonin, and Joe Buscaino encourages diverse businesses and organizations to increase the citywide understanding of Fair Trade, grow the availability of Fair Trade products among retailers, and add Fair Trade principles to the City government’s Environmentally-Preferable Purchasing Program.

To become an official Fair Trade Town as recognized by Fair Trade Campaigns USA, applicants must build retail availability and show that Fair Trade products are available in local stores as well as in institutions, like places of worship, schools, and offices. Additionally, the town must have a vibrant coalition that meets regularly and plans interactive events that promote awareness, advocacy, and engagement with Fair Trade. Finally, the city council must pass an official resolution in support of Fair Trade as an issue important to its government and residents, with plans to implement that support in concrete ways. These criteria are designed to empower citizens to develop a permanent platform in their communities for continued outreach and advocacy beyond the completion of the campaign. These criteria have now officially been met by the City of Los Angeles.

“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 rain forest, said Councilmember Paul Koretz. 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 tremendous purchasing power we have as the nation’s second-largest city offers us both opportunity and responsibility,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin. “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 Los Angeles to purchase only goods produced with fair labor practices, healthy and safe work environments, fair prices, worker empowerment, community investment, and environmentally sustainable practices and products.” 


“Today the City of Los Angeles joined the ranks of over 2,000 Fair Trade Cities around the world,” said Councilmember Joe Buscaino. “This action is long overdue and will ensure that Los Angeles will continue to promote fair wages, safe work environments, and environmentally sustainable practices throughout our procurement process.” 

The LA Campaign has been underway since 2014, and many Fair Trade advocates have taken part in making this a reality.

“Los Angeles is a city with a huge purchasing power and international influence. The impact of our Fair Trade purchases has a ripple effect across the nations, said Elisha Chan, Executive Director of Fair Trade LA. “We have the power in this city to support a working model to alleviate poverty through job creation, and end human trafficking, especially labor trafficking in the most vulnerable developing communities around the world.”

Joan Harper, one of the Founders and the former Executive  Director of Fair Trade LA, expresses her gratitude to the countless individuals, organizations, and businesses that have supported this effort throughout the years, committed to purchase Fair Trade products, and educate others about this movement. She also expresses appreciation to the Los Angeles City Council for their vision and leadership. 

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About Fair Trade: Fair Trade is an effort to empower consumers to vote with their dollars for fair prices, better working conditions, environmental stewardship, and brighter futures for the people who make the high-quality products that we buy every day. Essential, it’s the belief that everyone should be fairly compensated for the work they do.

About Fair Trade LA: Fair Trade LA is on a mission to educate and inspire consumers to embrace Fair Trade products so global farmers and artisans have the opportunity to earn a fair and sustainable living.  Fair Trade LA is an educational nonprofit and a grassroots organization that consists of citizens, community groups, and ethical businesses that work to widely increase the awareness, availability, and use of Fair Trade products throughout Los Angeles and its greater area. We are a part of a nation-wide organizing effort called Fair Trade Campaigns. To join or support Fair Trade Los Angeles, visit us online at www.FairTradeLA.org.

About Fair Trade Campaigns: Fair Trade Campaigns raises consumer awareness, increases the availability of Fair Trade products, and drives sales in order to help lift farmers and workers out of poverty. Fair Trade Campaigns is a grassroots movement mobilizing thousands of Fair Trade advocates on campuses and in communities across the United States.  Fair Trade Campaigns recognize towns, colleges, universities, schools and congregations in the US for embedding Fair Trade purchasing practices and principles into policy, as well as in the social foundations of their communities. Project collaborators include Fair Trade USAFair for Life and Fairtrade America, third-party certifiers of Fair Trade products in the United States, and the Fair Trade Federation, a North American trade association of organizations fully committed to Fair Trade.  Visit www.FairTradeCampaigns.org for more information.

Media Contact:

Elisha Chan

Executive Director, Fair Trade LA

Phone: 415-312-2829

Email: fairtradela@gmail.com

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Kylie Nealis,