Fair Trade USA

10 Easy Ways to Celebrate Fair Trade Month

Monday, October 1, 2012 by





This October is the 9th annual Fair Trade Month.  Throughout the month, ethically-minded consumers, retailers and brands will unite to celebrate and promote Fair Trade. A variety of education events, in-store sampling programs and online initiatives have been planned to help increase awareness and sales of Fair Trade Certified products, ultimately leading to greater impact for farmers and workers in developing countries. The theme for Fair Trade Month 2012 is Count Me In.

So how will you celebrate Fair Trade Month?  Here are 10 simple actions you can take that will help make a big difference:


You believe that Fair Trade is a great way to improve the lives of farmers and workers. You want to support them on their journey to become better stewards of the land. You care about supporting the brands that are sourcing ethically and transparently. And you happen to LOVE the delicious Fair Trade Certified products that are now available in more than 100,000 stores in North America.  So take the Fair Trade Month pledge and make your support known! 


Visit the Fair Trade Certified fan page and you will find a robust community of Fair Traders like you! Regular updates will help you stay up-to-date on the latest news in the Fair Trade world, including frequent giveaways, stories from Fair Trade farms, delicious recipes, and information about Fair Trade events. Become a fan to demonstrate your support for Fair Trade, then take your support a step further by becoming a fan of brands that sell Fair Trade Certified products. This is a good way to let them know that you like what they're doing!

You can also show your support for Fair Trade on your own Facebook profile by changing your cover photo to one of these inspiring images.


If you're a Twitter-er, follow @FairTradeUSA for up-to-the-minute news from the Fair Trade community and have the opportunity to participate in live discussions and Twitter parties. During Fair Trade Month, tweet about Fair Trade using the #FairTradeMonth hashtag.


Fair Trade is a market-based approach to fighting poverty.  That means that it only works when you actually buy the stuff.  So make sure you’re holding up your end of the bargain during October!

Can you make a commitment to purchase at least one Fair Trade Certified product every time you shop?  In addition to try new products, you are voting with your dollars by showing your favorite store that you support Fair Trade.  You are also supporting the hard working farmers who produced the product.

Another approach is to make one swap in your everyday routine – like trading in your daily cup of coffee or banana for the Fair Trade Certified version.


Educate your friends and family about Fair Trade by sharing a video.  Fair Trade can be a tricky concept to grasp, so the new Fair Trade Month PSA features a simple explanation from a 7-year-old who also happens to be an expert shopper.  Visit the Fair Trade Certified YouTube page to find even more educational videos.


Having trouble finding Fair Trade products where you shop? Sometimes all you have to do is ask!  Requesting more Fair Trade products is as easy as filling out a comment card or speaking directly with the manager. Explain that you want to make every purchase matter by buying Fair Trade.  It helps to name specific products or product categories and to direct the manager to the Fair Trade USA website www.FairTradeUSA.org to learn more.

You can also ask for Fair Trade to be served at your school or office.  Encouraging a large organization to go Fair Trade is a very effective way to increase the impact for farmers and workers in more than 58 countries.

"American consumers have so much power. Every time we go to the store we can vote with our dollars for a better world." - Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA


Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations in order to expand the reach and impact of Fair Trade.  Your gift supports our life-changing work with farmer and worker families across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Economic security. Schools. Scholarships. Life-saving medical care. Women’s empowerment. Environmental sustainability.

Every $1 Fair Trade USA has spent since 1999 has generated more than $5 in additional farmer and worker income.

Make a donation today.  Every dollar matters.


Joining a Fair Trade Towns or Fair Trade Universities campaign is a fun and engaging way to grow the Fair Trade movement in your community or campus. As a comprehensive platform for growing awareness, availability, and commitment to Fair Trade in the United States, these groups provide the opportunity to build community in your town, as well as connect your community to those in the developing world. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can even attend the Fair Trade Campaigns Conference in Chicago from October 26-28. Kelsey Timmerman, Author of “Where Am I Wearing” and the upcoming “Where Am I Eating?” will be this year’s keynote speaker!

Is my town a Fair Trade Town?


Take the time to teach a friend or family member about the importance of Fair Trade. Help them to understand why Every Purchase Matters and why farmers in the developing world need our support. We find that teachable moments are best created over a delicious Fair Trade Certified chocolate bar, a cup of tea, or scoop of ice cream made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients. Share these two-minute videos to help explain the impact of Fair Trade, the environmental benefits of Fair Trade, and the power of the consumer.


It's convenient that Fair Trade Month and Halloween share a month, because both occasions provide a great opportunity to promote Fair Trade. The easiest place to start is by ensuring that your Halloween chocolate is Fair Trade Certified. Costume ideas that make a statement: Dress as a Fair Trade Certified banana, cup of coffee or chocolate bar.  When someone asks about your costume, take the time to explain why Fair Trade matters to you.


All of the Fair Trade Month fun begins in October. Stay tuned for exciting events, recipes, guest blog posts and more!  

Fair Trade USA's 2011 Almanac Shows Impressive Growth in Imports

Sunday, May 6, 2012 by

Fair Trade USA recently published its 2011 Fair Trade Almanac: a compliation of data that the organization's certification department collects from both business partners and producer organizations. The report serves as a key indicator for the health and growth of Fair Trade in the United States.

The 2011 edition showcases monumental growth in Fair Trade Certified™ imports, record-breaking community development premiums, and Fair Trade USA’s reinvigorated efforts to strengthen producer organizations through a variety of new cooperative development programs. This parallels significant increase in consumer awareness, which has quadrupled in the past 5 years.

Continuous Growth in Fair Trade Certified Imports
Thanks to conscious consumers across the United States, and more than 800 committed companies, Fair Trade Certified products are now available in virtually every major supermarket in America as well as thousands of restaurants, cafeterias and cafes (nearly 100,000 retail locations).  In fact, in 2011 the vast majority of food categories showed impressive growth, including:  Coffee (32%), Cocoa (156%), Tea (22%), and Sugar (31%).

Here are some exciting highlights from the 2011 Fair Trade Almanac:

fair trade coffeeCoffee
In 2011, Fair Trade USA certified a record 138 million pounds of Fair Trade Coffee from 22 different countries around the world, 52 percent of which were also certified organic. In total, coffee imports were up 32% versus 2010, resulting in almost $17 million in Fair Trade coffee premiums paid to producer organizations, a new record for Fair Trade premium returns in one year. The money generated by the surge in consumer demand for ethically and sustainably sourced products is invested into farming businesses to build infrastructure and capacity, as well as into farming communities for schools, roads, health care and other development efforts.

2011 showcased growth across nearly every country. Notably, 2011 marked the first time that Fair Trade Certified bell peppers, cucumbers and bananas from Mexico were imported into the United States. One of the most outstanding trends within the produce category during 2011 was continued growth of organic imports, up 64% over 2010.

Co-op Link
In addition to what farmers earned in both sales and community-development premiums, since 2006 Fair Trade USA and its partners have invested over $7.4 million in programs to strengthen small-scale farming communities in projects spanning sugar, cocoa, produce, tea and coffee.  Building on this deep history of development work, in 2011 the organization took an invigorated new approach, called Co-op Link.  Fair Trade USA surveyed farmers to better understand their most pressing needs, raised $5 million in 2011 alone for programs to address these needs, and worked with NGO’s and local service providers to execute programs.

Revised Ingredients Policy Brings Transparency and Clarity to Fair Trade Certification

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 by

New Fair Trade Certified Ingredients LabelSince 2009, sales of products containing Fair Trade Certified ingredients have resulted in more than $3.4 million in premiums to support the development of farming communities around the globe.  These products, like ice cream, bottled beverages, snack bars and baked goods, contain a combination of Fair Trade Certified ingredients and ingredients for which Fair Trade standards do not exist (like milk, eggs and flour).

Under the revised Ingredients Policy, which applies to all food and personal care products, only products that contain 100% Fair Trade Certified ingredients may bear the full Fair Trade Certifiedlabel. Products containing at least 20% Fair Trade Certified ingredients will now bear a new Fair Trade Certified Ingredients label.

To use the ingredients label:

a) 100% of the ingredient commonly associated with a product must be Fair Trade Certified.  For example, a chocolate bar must contain 100% Fair Trade Certified cocoa.

b) For any individual Fair Trade Certified ingredient used in the product, 100% of that ingredient must be certified.  For example, if a product contains Fair Trade Certified vanilla extract, all of the vanilla extract in the product must be Fair Trade Certified.

c) The product must contain at least 20% Fair Trade Certified content in total, and all ingredients that can be Fair Trade Certified must be Fair Trade Certified, if the ingredient is commercially available.

In the case of single-ingredient products, like tea and coffee, Fair Trade USA will continue to require that 100% of the product be Fair Trade Certified.

“The revised Ingredients Policy reflects our organization’s commitment to include more farmers and workers in the Fair Trade model, and our desire to raise the bar for certification transparency. It’s designed to offer more Fair Trade farmers the opportunity to sell their products into the global market, enable more companies to make a meaningful impact through responsible sourcing, and accurately communicate to shoppers the social and environmental benefits of purchasing Fair Trade Certified products.” – Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA

The draft of the policy is open for public comment for the next 60 days. To view the complete outline of the policy, visit http://www.fairtradeusa.org/certification/producers/ingredients.

To comment on the new Ingredients Policy, please send an email toMultipleIngredientPolicy@fairtradeusa.org