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:
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.
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.