In episode 179, Kestrel welcomes Maya Spaul Johnson, the Vice President of Apparel and Home Goods at Fair Trade USA, to the show. Certifying and promoting fair trade products, Fair Trade USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, fishermen, consumers, industry, and the earth.

“I joined Fair Trade in 2004 — like 7% of people knew what Fair Trade was in the surveys we would do and the marketing testing, and now we’re over 60% of people in North America recognize that Fair Trade label.”
- Maya Spaul, VP of Apparel and Home Goods at Fair Trade USA

On this week’s show, Maya shares more on her background and how ethnobotany eventually led her to Fair Trade. She also guides us through a bit of history on Fair Trade USA, and how much the organization has grown and evolved over the last 21 years.

Also, Maya shares more on where we are at today with shopper recognition of the Fair Trade label. Kestrel + Maya talk about how bigger, so-called mainstream brands are now offering Fair Trade certified products today. Kestrel asks Maya whether she believes these brands are testing the waters with Fair Trade for their shoppers, or if they are truly in it for the long haul.

The below thoughts, ideas + organizations were brought up in this chat:

  • Ethnobotany, what Maya originally studied / is trained in; it’s basically the study of people and their relationship to plants and agricultural systems

  • Over Fair Trade USA’s 21 years in operation, companies have contributed over $500 million back to families in 72 countries that grow or produce these products

  • About 40 million certified products made in Fair Trade factories have been sold

  • At the end of last year (2018), about $11 million dollars in additional income had actually gone back to the factories

  • “You know, the retail landscape is changing so fast, and what I am seeing is that the companies that are investing in sustainability, they’re investing in a better product, in an innovative product — they are winning.”

  • We Wear Fair Trade campaign lookbook, styled by Rachel Wang

  • Explore products that are Fair Trade certified >