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04/17/2014

1 Billion Pounds Certified by Fair Trade USA to Date

Fair Trade USA Announces Key Milestone and New Innovations in Impact Measurement, Farmer Services, and Supply Chain Transparency

Oakland, CA (April 17, 2014) – Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, today announced that it has certified one billion pounds of Fair Trade coffee since its founding in 1998. This historic milestone, made possible by the sustainable sourcing practices of nearly 500 coffee companies, helped Fair Trade coffee farmers and farm workers earn almost $124 million in Community Development Premiums to date, with $30.8 million in 2013 alone. In celebration of this historic impact, Fair Trade USA is proud to unveil several new initiatives to help secure the future of sustainable coffee for generations to come.

A Year in Review:

Beyond reaching the one billion mark in Fair Trade Certified™ coffee, 2013 was also a year of monumental challenges for coffee farmers and workers. From the devastating outbreak of leaf rust in Central America to historically low coffee prices, many coffee farmers found it difficult to cover their costs and stay afloat. For many, Fair Trade prices and access to finance were critical to survival. A few key statistics to note:

  • In the first half of 2013, Fair Trade farmers earned an average of $0.84-$0.89 per pound above the New York market price. This was a result of quality differentials, Fair Trade prices and premiums, and more direct negotiations with buyers, for example.
  • Fair Trade USA launched an Emergency Rust Response Fund, awarding $50,000 in grants to two Peruvian cooperatives—CAC Oro Verde and CAC Satipo—to invest in rust prevention and mitigation based on their compelling proposals.

In the same time period, Fair Trade USA witnessed significant momentum around Fair Trade from both companies and consumers:

  • 67 new coffee companies became partners of Fair Trade USA, including: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Topeca Coffee, Coda Coffee Company (Roast Magazine’s Macro Roaster of the Year, 2014), Gimme! Coffee (Macro Roaster of the Year, 2013), and Dillanos Coffee Roasters (Macro Roaster of the Year, 2011).
  • The increasingly popular Fair Trade Month campaign was supported by over 60 brands garnering over 700 million impressions and generating retail activity across North America.
  • Consumer awareness of the Fair Trade Certified™ label increased to 55% of the U.S. population, according to a recent study from NMI (Natural Marketing Institute). A similar study found that the Fair Trade Certified label is the most recognized Fair Trade label in Canada.

The Future of Fair Trade Certified:

“Hitting one billion pounds is a monumental achievement for Fair Trade USA and our partners,” said Jennifer Gallegos, Director of Coffee Business Development at Fair Trade USA. “We’re proud of this achievement, but also know that coffee producers and business still face many challenges that can’t be solved by any one organization alone. As we work toward the next billion, our focus will be on collaboration and innovation to create greater shared value for all.”

In Fair Trade USA’s continued effort to improve and strengthen the Fair Trade model, and increase the value of certification, the organization has announced several new innovations:

  • Improving Supply Chain Visibility:  Fair Trade USA has acquired Acopio, Inc., an innovative, technology-based tool that allows cooperatives to capture, analyze, and manage transaction data.  The platform is also expected to enable the exchange of impact data between farmers and buyers.
  • Minimizing Risk: In partnership with producers and importers, Fair Trade USA has launched price risk management programs in Nicaragua, Peru, and Costa Rica. The goal is to develop best practices in risk management, and to begin exploring new simulation technologies that help co-ops better understand the market and manage risk effectively.
  • Certification Collaboration: Fair Trade USA has heard from people across the industry the need to better align with other programs, particularly in areas like standards, audits, and impact definition. In 2014 and beyond, we’re committed to collaborating with others to increase impact and efficiency for all.
  • Creating Solutions for Food Service: The organization has launched a new program called “By-The-Cup,” which is tailored to meet the unique needs of the food service industry.

“Fair Trade USA’s innovations all work towards a common goal,” said Bob Hill, VP & General Manager of Coffee at Fair Trade USA.  “With our partners, we seek to revolutionize how businesses source, how consumers buy, and how farmers and workers produce and trade to create true sustainability for all.  One billion pounds is just the beginning.”

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Editor’s Note: Fair Trade USA and many of its partner brands will attend The Specialty Coffee Association of America Event in Seattle, WA, April 24-27. For more information please contact Jenna Larson, PR Manager (jlarson@fairtradeusa.org), visit us at booth #13107, or attend one of Fair Trade USA’s educational lectures, focused on securing the future of sustainable coffee.

About Fair Trade USA: Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. We audit and certify transactions between companies and their international suppliers to ensure adherence to the rigorous Fair Trade standards. Fair Trade USA also educates consumers and provides farming communities with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visit FairTradeCertified.org for more information.