2012 Highlights from Fair Trade USA

12/31/1969 - 5:00 PM

Last year, 2012, was a year of momentum, innovation, and growth for Fair Trade. We saw significant growth in key categories such as coffee, produce and quinoa. With imports at an all time high, more farmers and workers earned more community development premiums than ever before (at $32 million!). Groups like the Asociación de Pequeños Productores de Talamanca used premiums from their banana sales to buy a tractor for the community. CECANOR, a co-op in Peru elected to provide health, education and technical assistance programs to its female members and their families. While there is still much work to be done, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the year behind us, and to use it as momentum as we continue through the second half 2013.

Here are some highlights from our 2012 Almanac:


Coffee saw amazing growth in 2012, with imports reaching an all-time high. 163 million pounds were imported into the United States and Canada, representing an 18% increase since 2011. We also welcomed 60 new producers and importer partners, and launched 50 new Fair Trade Certified coffee products together with our partners. This growth generated an additional $32 million in Community Development Premiums back to Fair Trade coffee co-ops across the globe.


In 2012 we certified 10 new products – asparagus, cantaloupe, eggplant, honeydew, mini watermelon, watermelon, peaches, table grapes, tomatoes, and zucchini. This resulted in a 58% increase in Fair Trade Certified product imports and a 60% increase in Community Development Premiums development earned by farming communities (over $2.8 million). From bell peppers (540% increase) to cucumbers (315% increase) to mangos (64% increase), produce certification is booming; it has never been easier for shoppers to choose socially and environmentally sustainable produce where they shop. Further, almost all new Fair Trade Certified produce items brought on in 2012 were also organic.


Imports of Fair Trade Certified quinoa were up 55% in 2012, resulting in $160k in premiums back to small-scale quinoa farmers in Bolivia. Through improved terms of trade, better, more stable prices, and the Fair Trade premium, Bolivian quinoa farmers are able to continue farming the land their families have survived on for hundreds of years, ensuring there is enough quinoa for all who want and need it. Learn more about how Fair Trade benefits quinoa farmers in this great piece by the Huffington Post

Community Development Premiums

The phrase every purchase matters has never meant more. As more conscious consumers choose Fair Trade and vote with their dollar for a better world, more farmers and workers are able to earn more money and do their work with pride and dignity. As a result of this continued commitment, for first time ever Fair Trade Premiums have topped the $30 million mark at $37 million! Investments ranged from establishing health clinics and education opportunities, to implementing environmentally sustainable projects, and business management programs. One community in Northern Mexico even bought a school bus for the children of its farm workers!

Including More People

2012 was also a pivotal year for expanding the scope of the Fair Trade community. After launching Fair Trade for All in 2011, Fair Trade USA began working with coffee farm workers and independent smallholders, groups previously excluded from participating in Fair Trade, to begin their Fair Trade journey and earn certification. We're currently working with 12 pilot farms, representing 4,300 farmers and farm workers in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Closer to home, the Fair Trade community is also growing. Fair Trade Campaigns, the grassroots movement that works with Fair Trade USA, FLO and IMO, now boasts a total of 76 Towns and 62 Colleges & Universities promoting Fair Trade products at the local level. This translates to a 21% increase in community participation in 2012.

Looking Ahead

We are proud of the strides we have made, together with our producer and business partners, and are committed to working hard to further increase the scope, impact and relevancy of Fair Trade for everyone in the supply chain. As our 15th anniversary approaches (October 2012), we look forward to continuing this momentum as we work collaboratively toward a world where all trade is fair. 





12/31/1969 - 5:00 PM
08/31/2013 - 10:34 AM