Who We Are
Global Exchange is tackling some of the most critical issues of our time — from limiting corporate power and greed to oil addiction and global climate change, from the exploitation of the current global economy to the creation of the local green economy. Our campaigns inspire people across the U.S. and around the world to resist injustice, envision alternatives, and take action.
Global Exchange was founded 25 years ago to promote human rights, justice and sustainability around the world. We envisioned building a robust U.S. movement capable of creating change from the grassroots, powered by people-to-people ties. To change the world, we started making change at home
From gas drilling to toxic dumping to water bottling…who makes the rules where you live—corporations or residents? The Community Rights Program assists communities confronted by harmful corporate projects to assert their right to make important decisions that impact them by passing binding laws that place the rights of residents (and nature) above the claimed legal “rights” of corporations. At the heart of the Community Rights Program is the belief that our right to create the kind of place we want to live and reining in corporate exploitation of our communities is the next evolution of the civil rights revolution. This program is providing a framework to transform grassroots organizing to protect people and planet.
We work to promote Fair Trade, end child and forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry, as well as educate and empower children and adults to advocate for and purchase Fair trade. Because Fair trade cocoa and coffee provide an economically viable way for producers to protect the forests that shade their crops, this campaign has played an equally important role in protecting forest ecosystems and biodiversity.
We are part of a coalition of organizations targeting Hershey’s, America’s chocolate icon, to “Raise the Bar” and go Fair Trade. Joining together with allies in the Fair Trade movement, we have worked to press Hershey’s to end child and forced labor in its cocoa supply chain and start sourcing Fair Trade certified cocoa. By transforming one company, we aim to transform the industry. We know that if this industry giant goes Fair Trade, other chocolate companies will follow.
We think of Green Festival as an experiment in building the sustainable community. It began ten years ago with finding solutions to help make our lives socially, economically and environmentally healthier. Individuals, businesses and community leaders come together to discuss critical issues that impact us at home and abroad. Organizations and businesses showcase programs and products that restore the planet and all that inhabit it. Neighbor-to-neighbor connections are formed and skills are shared to empower people to create positive change in the world.
Each year through our Green Festivals, Global Exchange introduces tens of thousands of people to the future green economy. Now in five cities across the nation, these dynamic two-day events bring together inspirational leaders, social entrepreneurs and community members to celebrate and enjoy everything from green energy systems to Fair trade Certified products to organic food. Attendees are able to see, hear, feel, smell and taste the future green, socially just economy.
Our goal is to create an honest and public policy discussion about the U.S.-Mexico relationship, particularly as it relates to Mexico’s democracy, human rights, poverty, economic development, migration and military cooperation with the U.S. We work alongside and to strengthen the voice of Mexico’s democratic civil society, using the credibility and knowledge we’ve gained during fifteen years of supporting Mexicans working to build and defend their democracy.
Currently our Mexico Program confronts the rising violence and unrest resulting from the relationship between criminal enterprises, Mexican power structures and U.S. military aid. We seek dialogue and effective advocacy toward bi-lateral military policies, gun trafficking, drug policy and democratic reform. We are building unified cross-border agendas by sharing key viewpoints, organizing grassroots speaking tours and hosting leadership summits.
We also continue to run Reality Tours with the vision that meaningful, socially responsible travel, can and does, change the world. By offering experiential educational tours, Reality Tours has connected people to issues, issues to movements, and movements to social change. In 2012 we offer over 65 Reality Tours to 27 countries including Afghanistan, Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, Nicaragua, Uganda and Vietnam.