Holiday Greetings and Gratitude from Fair Trade USA

Letter from President & CEO Paul Rice

12/24/2011 - 6:38 PM

Dear Friends,

As I reflect on the past year, I am reminded of the many accomplishments and new lessons that we have achieved together in this amazing Fair Trade movement.

After a challenging 2010 with a flattening of the U.S. Fair Trade market, sales this year have been fantastic. Across the board, sales of Fair Trade Certified coffee, sugar, cocoa, produce, tea and other products jumped dramatically, driving positive impact for farmers around the world. We celebrate this remarkable achievement and the efforts that so many companies, farmers, NGOs and other stakeholders undertook to make it possible.

In the midst of this turn-around effort for our organization and market, we launched Fair Trade for All, our strategic innovation initiative. At the heart of this initiative is a compelling vision – developed in collaboration with partners and stakeholders – to expand Fair Trade and its uplifting impact for farmers and farm workers across all product categories. 

Our first steps have already proven fruitful. This year, we raised over $5 million to support cooperatives with training, technical assistance and new working capital. This effort will deepen the impact of Fair Trade for family farmers organized in co-ops. At the same time, we developed new Fair Trade standards for farm workers and recently started piloting these standards on coffee estates in Brazil. This is truly an historic moment: for the first time in the 50-year history of the global Fair Trade movement, we are extending the benefits of our empowerment model to the poorest of the poor – farm workers on estates who, until now, have not been eligible for certification.

While this initiative has been accompanied by some controversy within the global Fair Trade community, we are absolutely convinced that it is the right thing to do. We are truly grateful for the courageous support of so many leaders and organizations who have spoken out in support of a broader, more inclusive Fair Trade movement.

I want to thank you for your support for farmers and farm workers around the world. With every purchase, you are supporting a cause that is bringing dignity and hope to millions of families. 

With warm holiday greetings,

12/24/2011 - 6:38 PM
12/24/2011 - 6:03 PM