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Fair Trade certified products increase

BY Allison Cerra

OAKLAND, Calif. — A third-party certifier of Fair Trade consumer products said that 2010 saw an increase of such products on the market.

Fair Trade USA said that the Fair Trade market in 2010 saw a boost in both new and existing product categories. New products included apparel, green peppers, vodka and a wide array of herbs, spices and extracts. What’s more, Fair Trade coffee and cocoa continued to expand. Fair Trade USA certified nearly 109 million lbs. of Fair Trade coffee, while nearly 3.9 million lbs. of cocoa received Fair Trade certification.

Fair Trade products are classified as goods that are certified as being produced by workers and farmers that are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities.

"As consumer demand for ethically produced goods increases, we’re able to chip away at the cycle of poverty that grips farming communities around the world," said Paul Rice, Fair Trade USA president and CEO. "Through their participation in Fair Trade, farming families have earned more than $220 million in additional income since 1998, $56 million of which will be invested specifically in community development programs that provide access to education and life-saving health care."

For the complete 2010 almanac report, visit FairTradeUSA.com.

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Hallmark rolls out postage-paid greetings for Mother’s Day

BY Allison Cerra

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hallmark is touting postage-paid greeting cards for Mother’s Day.

The greeting card maker said it has developed 90 postage-paid greetings specifically for Mother’s Day, ranging from $2.69 to $3.99.

Hallmark postage-paid greetings feature the U.S. Postal Service’s Intelligent Mail bar code on the front of the envelope, the company said. When the cards are processed at a Postal Service facility, the bar code automatically indicates to the Postal Service that the postage is paid.

Hallmark cards are available in retailers nationwide.

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With instability of oil-supplying countries, issues with gas prices could get messy

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Oil demand worldwide hit record levels in 2010 and is expected to increase another 1.4% through 2011. That increase in demand coupled with the volatility within many oil-producing countries is what is fueling the speculation of ever-rising gas prices. Here are the countries to watch for in the news:

Libya
Libya produced about 1.5 million barrels a day, about 2% of the world’s supplies. Many deemed the initial oil-price increases following news of the turmoil in Libya an overreaction, especially considering that the world’s oil reserves could accommodate any short-term cut in supply. However, the situation in Libya impacts the ability of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to respond to further supply disruptions. And some are concerned that Libya may represent the tip of the iceberg.

Saudi Arabia
A big concern among oil analysts is that those pro-democracy protests in Libya will be replicated in places like Saudi Arabia. “They supply not only the U.S. from Saudi Arabia but [also] Europe and Asia,” noted Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, during an April 18 interview with Industrial Info Resources. “There is just simply not enough spare capacity in the world should we lose a major exporter like Saudi Arabia.” Analysts have suggested a Libya-like revolution in Saudi Arabia could drive oil prices up by between 20% and 25%.

Nigeria
It’s election season in Nigeria, and historically that means disruptions to that country’s production of 2.2 million barrels of crude oil per day and higher oil prices worldwide. Nigerians will vote for their president, representatives to their national assembly and governors of the country’s 36 states through May.

Japan
Japan’s loss of nuclear power has driven many Japanese utilities in search of fuel oil and crude oil for power generation. However, that increase in demand hasn’t outweighed the significant downturn in demand across areas most affected by the tsunami earlier this year. The concern with Japan is in the near future —Japan is expected to place a heavier demand on diesel fuel as the country begins rebuilding.

China
China’s economy is growing at a pace that not even the Chinese had projected — China’s gross domestic product grew 9.7% during first quarter 2011. Consequently, incomes are rising, and with rising incomes come a greater demand on petroleum products.

To read about the effects of rising gas prices on the retail drug industry, check out these stories from our latest issue of Drug Store News:

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