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Sourcing Fair Trade Products Challenges and Solutions?

Tori Curbelo March 1, 2016

Let’s work together!

What obstacles has your campaign faced while trying to source Fair Trade products?

Any tips for speaking to outlet managers? Any recommendations?

Please provide any insight below and let’s work out any problems together.

Community Answers

  1. *​*

    *What obstacles has your campaign faced while trying to source Fair Trade
    products? Obstacles we have faced is our outlet managers ignoring our
    requests for fair trade products claiming shortages and lack of brokers to
    get the available products. They have lied and been caught in lies while
    dragging their feet in operations. Sometimes they also claim budget issues
    or lack of demand, however we know that is false. Being able to find that
    the outlet services restock is another issue, they may only make one order
    per semester or month which is an nuisance. Any tips for speaking to
    outlet managers? Any recommendations? Getting the support of administration
    and faculty is key, if they have desires to get more product availability,
    then change will happen. In addition, having students sign a petition to
    get demanded products is a helpful tool to prove there is demand for these
    goods. The most important this is to come to the meeting prepared, know
    what distributors the outlet managers use and try to find partners or
    products in their order guides that are already available. Travis
    BrodbeckSiena College *​

    Travis Brodbeck from Fair Trade Colonie - 8 years ago
  2. What obstacles has your campaign faced while trying to source Fair Trade products?
    Our two biggest obstacles have been availability and our contract with Pepsi. The contract with Pepsi strictly states that no other beverage company can sell beverages on our campus which meant that we lost honest tea and were not able to try to bring Yerba Mate back. We have been informed that we should be able to brew hot Mate, but I am not hearing back from the people that i should be about this which makes things pretty difficult to move forward with. Fortunately Sodexo was on board right away with making sure we had a replacement for our honest tea which the only Pepsi beverage product we could find for now is Naked coconut water. Outside of our contract with Pepsi, our bookstore is ran by a company called Follett and we have been fortunate to have Alta Gracia sweatshirts in our bookstore, but they are just as difficult as Pepsi. We have been able to add Cliff bars which was a saving grace, but it appears that is the end of the road with Follett.
    Any tips for speaking to outlet managers? Any recommendations?
    The best advice I have for this is that it is important that you have done your own homework before reaching out to outlet managers. They are not very likely to spend the time finding you products to help with your campaign, but they are more likely to help you if you go to them with the products you know the distribution company they work with carry. Not only does this save time, but it is straight to the point. I also would recommend asking your outlet managers what they know about Fair Trade and how they feel about the movement, and whether or they would consider themselves supports or not. This gives you some leverage into what their personality is like and will be a driving factor for how you may approach them in the future. It is also very important to have a support system in place on campus. This should include support from administrators where they may be able to help you with managers if they are being stubborn. Lastly, if you are really in a bind then reach out to your adviser or your faculty member you find yourself most close to. The ins and outs of the operations of a campus are often hard to figure out, understand and follow, so reaching out to someone who is going to be on the more “know” side of things has definitely helped me out in the past!

    jgilmanvorm from California Lutheran University - 8 years ago

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