Fair Trade or locally grown?

Some of our Sustainability Advantage Tertiary Cluster members are working towards a Fair Trade Community recognition. There are agreements available through The Fair Trade Association for schools, universities, faiths, workplaces and even towns. This is a good way to bring to your stakeholders' attention your commitment to supporting fairer trade conditions for developing communities.

Some organisations and individuals endeavour to support locally grown produce, though the definitions of locally grown can be a little vague, and the availability of produce may be limited or patchy in some areas. We're not aware of any certification of a commitment to buying local in Australia, though there is a Local Sustainable Food Certification in Canada. There are of course other food product certifications such as organic or biodynamic. In the USA and Australia there is "Certified Humane" , Certified Sustainable Seafood. There's even a "trustea" code that is designed to evaluate the social, economic, agronomic and environmental performance of Indian tea estates, smallholders and Bought Leaf Factories (BLFs).

All of these programs are of value to certain customers or stakeholders, but could be quite confusing, time consuming and costly to achieve, and difficult to maintain compliance with. 

We'd love you to post your thoughts on what is important to your organisation or you as a customer, how you demonstrate your commitment simply and effectively, and how you are seeing your more sustainable purchasing decisions impacting your business/community/stakeholders.