We recently got an updated study from the National Coffee Association  indicating that Fair Trade consumer awareness is up for the third straight year. The study also indicated that over half of consumers who know of Fair Trade coffee buy it. In fact, Fair Trade is twice as likely to motivate a purchase as organic. Our own research tells us the main reason is that Fair Trade represents equitable trading conditions for small farmers, an issue that most consumers care about.
But consumers care about other issues too, such as the environment, quality, fair wages, and third world community development. These are also ‘behind’ the Fair Trade Certified label, and key parts of the Fair Trade system. It is generally acknowledged (and well known in the industry) that Fair Trade is the high bar third party standard. But what we do to keep the bar high is less well known. TransFair USA’s  team, and our counterparts in the Fair Trade Labelling Organization , log thousands of miles and hours working with growers, meeting with co-ops, coordinating with NGOs, attending industry events, addressing production issues, and working on supply chains with our licensees in order to create a trusted system which truly empowers small farmers as competitors in the global market, and helps them build a future for their family and communities. The trust and high standards associated with Fair Trade also mean that Fair Trade consumers will choose Fair Trade Certified products, and reward firms that source from Fair Trade farmers.
So why start blogging? We decided that since we're more than just a label, it would make sense to let you see what's behind it. I’ll be updating you regularly on TransFair’s activities and thoughts on Fair Trade. In the next couple of months, we have projects in Nicaragua, Cote d’Ivoire, and Rwanda, and lots of interesting work planned here in the U.S. Please check back often, and feel free to comment or email me at blog-at-transfairusa.org.