29.9.2005: Meldung: Wild Oats Natural Marketplace Celebrates Fair Trade Month

Wild Oats Markets, Inc. ,a leading natural and organic foods retailer, is joining retailers across the country to celebrate the second annual Fair Trade Month in October.

During the month, Wild Oats will strive to better define the meaning and value of Fair Trade to their customers and the public by co-sponsoring this national celebration. TransFair USA, the only independent certifier of Fair Trade products, initiated the October celebration in 2004 to highlight foods grown by farmers who are paid living wages and work under conditions that meet key environmental and labor standards.

The Fair Trade certification movement is making a difference in the lives of banana, coffee, tea and cocoa farmers all over the world. Many farmers do not earn enough money to feed their families and are exposed to harsh working conditions on the farms. The Wild Oats Natural Marketplace and TransFair USA partnership is aimed at easing those conditions. With each bite of a Fair Trade Certified(TM) banana or drink of coffee, consumers support and empower farmers and their families.

During the month of October, Wild Oats will bring awareness to the issue through educational in-store materials that direct customers to Fair Trade Certified(TM) products, Fair Trade food and beverage tastings, great deals on Fair Trade products, store lectures and other in-store activities. Wild Oats is a leader in the industry in its commitment to Fair Trade and was the only supermarket in 2004 to receive straight "A"s" on Oxfam America"s Supermarket Report Card for Fair Trade Certified(TM) Product Support. Oxfam America is an international development and relief agency that develops services, programs and campaigns for change in global practices and policies that keep people in poverty. Fair Trade is one of their major campaigns.

"At Wild Oats, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure the people who grow and manufacture our products are treated fairly and equitably," said Perry Odak, President and CEO of Wild Oats Markets. "Wild Oats Markets realizes that as a leader in the natural and organic foods industry, we have a responsibility to go beyond providing quality food to customers. Through our partnership with TransFair USA, we have extended our commitment to providing customers with Fair Trade Certified(TM) products and expect to continue to grow this commitment as more products become available."

Fair Trade Certified(TM) products provide a point of differentiation for companies offering them. They also help companies build customer loyalty and tap into new consumer segments. Wild Oats continues to increase its industry-leading Fair Trade commitment. The Boulder, Colo.-based food retailer sells Fair Trade bananas, coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar, pineapples and mangoes and expects to add other Fair Trade items in the future.

How Fair Trade Certification Benefits Farmers

Fair Trade certification is a comprehensive international certification system that encompasses inspecting farms, monitoring social and environmental practices, and auditing the trade of certified products. The system benefits small-scale farmers and plantation workers. Fair Trade certification ensures that wages meet or exceed the legal minimum wage, and that child labor laws are adhered to. These minimum prices vary by country and organic status, and are designed to cover the costs of sustainable production and provide a decent standard of living for farming families. In Fair Trade, small-scale Fair Trade producers are organized into democratically run cooperatives and receive a fair price for their crop, no matter how low the market price falls.

Benefits for Worker Health and the Environment

Fair Trade certification requires that producers use sustainable agricultural practices, which protect workers and the health of the environment. It also ensures that farmers adhere to all national and international legislation regarding the use and handling of chemicals, and that the most dangerous chemicals are not used at all.

About Wild Oats Markets

Wild Oats Markets, Inc. is a nationwide chain of natural and organic foods markets in the U.S. and Canada. With more than $1 billion in annual sales, the Company operates 112 natural foods stores in 24 states and British Columbia, Canada. The Company"s markets include: Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry"s Farmers Market, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Markets. For more information, please visit the Company"s website at www.wildoats.com.

About TransFair USA

TransFair USA, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is one of 19 members of Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), and the only third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. They audit transactions between U.S. companies offering Fair Trade Certified(TM) products and the international suppliers from whom they source, in order to guarantee that the farmers and farm workers behind Fair Trade Certified(TM) goods were paid a fair, above-market price. In addition, annual inspections conducted by FLO ensure that strict socioeconomic development criteria are being met using increased Fair Trade revenues. To learn more, visit http://www.transfairusa.org.

Source: Wild Oats Markets, Inc.
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