Fair Trade For All

Innovating for Impact

Fair Trade for All is our vision for doubling the impact of Fair Trade for farmers by 2015, and improving lives throughout the global coffee supply chain.

The key to adding value and growing impact is innovation. Fair Trade USA is innovating our model in three ways:

Strengthening Farming Communities by investing in cooperatives and partnering with others to provide support services, with a focus on quality and business capacity. Learn more about Co-op Link.

Including More Farmers, Farm Workers and Communities in the benefits of Fair Trade. Learn more about the Fair Trade coffee pilots.

Engaging Consumers to increase market demand for Fair Trade Certified products and grow sales and impact. Join the community.

  • About Fair Trade for All
  • Strengthening Farming Communities/Co-op Link
  • Including More People/Pilots
  • Engaging Consumers
  • Multi-Stakeholder Support
  • Multi-Stakeholder Engagement
  • Impact Assessment
  • Rigorous Standards
  • Board Governance
  • Relationship with FLO
  • Contact

About Fair Trade for All

Fair Trade USA is dedicated to empowering farmers and farm workers to fight poverty, improve lives and protect the environment. We are proud of our proven track record within the Fair Trade movement-- helping rural families across the globe earn more than $225 million in additional income since 1998.We’re excited to build on this strong foundation as we work to deliver far more impact to far more people.

According to U.N. poverty statistics, over two billion people still live on less than two dollars a day. We at Fair Trade USA believe that all small farmers and farm workers deserve to have access to the opportunities and benefits of Fair Trade if we ever hope to make a significant dent in global poverty. This conviction that Fair Trade can and must be do more lies at the heart of our Fair Trade for All initiative, which aims to double the impact of Fair Trade for farmers by 2015.

The key to adding value and growing impact is innovation. Fair Trade USA is innovating our model in three ways:

Strengthening Farming Communities by investing in cooperatives and partnering with others to provide support services, with a focus on quality and business capacity

Including More Farmers, Farm Workers and Communities in the benefits of Fair Trade

Engaging Consumers to increase market demand for Fair Trade Certified products and grow sales and impact

Read full overview here

Strengthening Farming Communities/Co-op Link

As we innovate, we stand unwavering in our commitment and dedication to small-scale farming cooperatives. That’s why Fair Trade for All seeks to deepen the impact of Fair Trade for co-ops around the world, which have been the pioneers of the model. 

To further strengthen these farming communities, Fair Trade USA is developing innovative new partnerships to connect, create and transform the lives of small-scale farmers worldwide. We call this approach Co-op Link, to recognize the unique role Fair Trade USA can play in linking organizations from all areas of the supply chain to maximize impact for producers and their families. 

Our specific Co-op Link programs aim at helping cooperatives improve quality, increase productivity, access capital cost-effectively, and become stronger business partners. For these efforts Fair Trade USA and our partners have invested $10 million since 2006.

Here are but a few examples of recent results:

  • Partnerships with organizations like the World Bank and the Avina Foundation enabled Fair Trade USA to deliver price risk management training to 180 coffee cooperatives and industry partners in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, and East Africa. 
  • Our three-year partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Progreso supports a project to promote economic security and sustainable livelihoods for coffee farmers and beekeepers in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.
  • A multi-year project, in partnership with the Rabobank Foundation and Progreso, with strategic support from Lutheran World Relief, focuses on improving business practices and access to capital and markets for Fair Trade Certified cooperatives in Sumatra.
  • This year, we launched a series of country-level producer gatherings to increase transparency and collaboration in the supply chain while creating a forum for engaging Fair Trade producers on strategy and policy. The first gathering, held in Peru in March 2012, brought together all the cooperative leaders in the country, as well as U.S. importers, roasters, NGOs and lenders. Over the course of three days, we shared market analysis, discussed strategy, and sought input from producers about Fair Trade for All and other initiatives. The buyers present took advantage of the gathering to contract millions of pounds of coffee for the upcoming harvest, while participating social lenders took loan applications on the spot and committed to expanding access to affordable credit.  We held a similar event in Honduras (May 2012) and will be organizing additional gatherings in other key origins throughout the year. 

The newest development within the Co-op Link initiative is our Cooperative Small Grants Program. Producer groups who have identified challenges around market access, financing, quality or productivity – and who have ideas for how to address these challenges – can apply for these grants. Project ideas that have already been suggested by producer groups include financial management courses to increase access to capital, cupping training to improve coffee quality, environmental mapping to understand the potential supply from members, or resources to start an organic production pilot.  These grants give cooperatives the opportunity to experiment with new ways to solve key problems; and as we identify which solutions work best, Fair Trade USA can help expand these programs to other cooperatives. 

See list of past and present Co-op Link projects

Learn more about Cooperative Capacity Building

Including More People/Pilots

Only through innovation can we expand the reach and deepen the impact of Fair Trade for rural families. Toward that end, we are slowly and carefully implementing a series of pilot programs to determine best practices for delivering more impact to more people. 

To date we have certified 10 groups through our pilot program, 6 with farm workers on estates and 4 with groups of independent smallholders. 

Although we are only just beginning, we are already learning a lot from these pilots and are proud of the initial results.  Strong, respected NGO partners like Catholic Relief Services and United Farm Workers are supporting our efforts in the field.  Leading companies like Whole Foods and Green Mountain Coffee are excited to buy the coffee and be a part of expanding impact; and, most importantly, hundreds of farm workers and independent small farmers are eagerly participating in the pilots, looking to us all to expand opportunities for them and their families in the Fair Trade market. 

For a more detailed overview of the pilot program, including a comprehensive overview of our new Impact Assessment Process, please visit our Coffee Pilot Hub

Engaging Consumers

In 2011, Fair Trade USA and our industry partners delivered record impact to farmers. Imports of Fair Trade Certified products grew to an all time high, satisfying the continued growth in consumer demand for the more than 11,000 products carrying our label in supermarkets, cafés, universities and workplaces. This growth was driven by longstanding business partners that expanded their Fair Trade offerings as well as by new businesses joining us for the first time.  

Fair Trade USA will continue to develop consumer education campaigns that bring together brands, retailers, non-profits and community organizations. For example, during our annual Fair Trade Month promotion last October, Fair Trade USA and our partners reached nearly 30 million consumers through various campaign activities, reinforcing the message that everyday purchases have the power to improve lives and protect the environment. These activities are a critical element of Fair Trade for All, and are the key to driving impact for farmers and workers everywhere.

Interested in learning how you can get involved in Fair Trade Month 2012? Stay tuned for more information.

Multi-Stakeholder Support

Fair Trade for All has received support from a diverse coalition of cooperative leaders, independent farmers, farm workers, conscious consumers, activists, businesses, NGOs and academics, who stand with us as we seek to broaden and strengthen our impact to ensure that all farmers can access the opportunities of Fair Trade. 

OPEN LETTERS TO FAIR TRADE USA

SUPPORTERS

  • JOHN MACKEY | CEO, Whole Foods Market
  • LARRY BLANFORD | President & CEO, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.
  • IRIS MUNGUÍA | Coordinadora, COLSIBA (Latin American Banana Workers’ Union)
  • ARTURO RODRIGUEZ | President, United Farm Workers of America
  • PIERRE FERRARI | President & CEO, Heifer International
  • FERNANDO CERQUEIRA | President Director, COOCAFE Cooperative, Brazil
  • ROBERT FULMER | President, Royal Coffee
  • PETER GIULIANO | President, Counter Culture Coffee
  • EDUARDO LETORT | General Manager, Hoja Verde Rose Farm, Ecuador
  • PREMAL SHAH | President, Kiva.org
  • SERGIO NUNEZ DE ARCO | CEO, Andean Naturals, Inc
  • PAUL THORNTON | Coffee Buyer, Coffee Bean International
  • SHAMIR MERINO | Operations Manager, Art of Tea, LLC
  • STANLEY MEHTA | Specialty Buyer, Whole Foods Market
  • DANIEL FIRGER | Associate, Linklaters LLP
  • SEAN MCKAUGHAN | CEO, Fundación AVINA
  • CARLOS VARGAS LEITON | Financial Director, CoopeTarrazu RL, Costa Rica

View full list of supporters

 

Multi-Stakeholder Engagement

Historically, we have engaged key stakeholders around our core programs and innovation initiatives.  For example, in 2010 we created the Multi-Stakeholder Apparel Group to advise us as we introduced Fair Trade Certified apparel in the U.S. market.  Notably, the Group’s feedback led to numerous modifications of our standards.  We took similar approaches when we created the Coffee Producer Advisory Council (2006), the Coffee Roaster Advisory Council (2008), and most recently, the multi-stakeholder Coffee Innovation Council (2011), charged with helping innovate and improve the current model for Fair Trade coffee in order to increase positive impact for all participants.

Multi-stakeholder consultation is a key part of Fair Trade USA’s Standards Development process, consistent with best practice in the certification field. Our draft Farm Worker and Independent Smallholder standards are both online and available for public comment.  In August, we will publicly share the feedback we have received and the significant modifications to the standards that we have implemented as a result of this consultation process.

Notably, Fair Trade for All has received support from a diverse coalition of cooperative leaders, independent farmers, farm workers, conscious consumers, activists, businesses, NGOs and academics, who stand with us as we seek to broaden and strengthen our impact to ensure that all farmers can access the opportunities of Fair Trade.  In addition to those who have signed our open letter of support, we have received many individual letters from a variety of stakeholders. This includes a public letter from  Coocafe, a Brazilian cooperative representing 5,000 of the 6,000 Fair Trade Certified coffee farmers in the country.

 

Impact Assessment

Measuring Success in our Innovation work – Fair Trade USA pilots

Objective:

The objective or our Coffee Innovation Project is to create a Fair Trade system that brings significant benefits for farm workers and independent smallholders while continue growing the market for existing Fair Trade producers. 

How will we measure?

FT USA is working to develop our new certification and standards systems along best practice guidelines and related sustainability initiatives.   This includes integrating strong Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems into the design to maximize learning, improvement of the system, as well as understanding and improving impact on the ground.  The CIP serves as a pilot for developing and testing the new strategies, as well as developing and testing the M&E system.   

What will we measure?

FTUSA will measure the effectiveness of the activities and strategies in order to refine and improve them for more impact.  This includes metrics around the certification process itself, the standard (e.g. comprehensiveness, accessibility) and training.  We will be looking for answers to questions such as:

  •  Are the principles of our standards – empowerment, social responsibility, economic development and environmental stewardship leading to the positive outcomes we expect?
  •  Are small-scale producers and workers participating in Fair Trade USA better off because of Fair Trade?
  •  Is the market for sales from Small Producer Organizations negatively affected due to the entry of farms and groups of independent smallholders?

We are looking at including two levels of metrics to assess the impact brought to farm workers:  metrics captured during the application and certification process which will be captured across all farms, and deep dives into a small number of pilots where we get more farm level information primarily on income and empowerment, using both Labor Link mobile technology and traditional surveys. In addition to our M&E work, we are also seeking an impact assessment partner to help implement longitudinal studies on several CIP pilot farms in conjunction with several of our stakeholders.

Who will we measure?

We will be incorporating some output- based indicators into our certification process for all of our farms. Over time, this data can be used for wider applications and decision making. Additionally, we will be collecting comprehensive outcome-based baseline data (including data collection at the farmer or worker level) for approximately 5-10 of our pilots.

When will we measure?

We will be working with Sustainable Food Lab and key stakeholders and opinion leaders to finalize our impact assessment strategy through November 2012. We will then continue to work with Sustainable Food Lab and our stakeholders digging into the nuts and bolts of the correct indicators. With Sustainable Food Lab, we will share our final approach, based on implementation at several farms and stakeholder input, with those stakeholders that have participated in the process in early 2013 .  As part of the vetting process, we’re looking to identify an independent 3rd party who will be our partner in implementing our M&E work in the future.

Our impact indicators will be structured around our KEY PRINCIPLES. Click HERE to see examples of the types of questions that we will be looking for answers to.  

If you would like to contribute to developing our M&E process, or would like more information, we look forward to hearing from you. Please email us at standards@fairtradeusa.org.

Rigorous Standards

Fair Trade USA’s objective in developing standards for Fair Trade certification is to maintain the rigor for which the Fair Trade certification mark is known, while creating additional opportunities to enable more farmers and workers access the opportunities of Fair Trade.

While Fair Trade USA will continue to recognize FLO-CERT certification, we are also developing our own standards which aim to bring our mission of empowerment, economic development, social development and environmental stewardship to farmers and farm workers around the world.

For all pilot projects, Fair Trade USA is taking existing FLO standards for farm workers and independent smallholders in tea, bananas, flowers, rice and cotton, and applying them to farm workers and independent smallholders in coffee. The additional income from Fair Trade will enable these farm workers to invest in projects that improve their communities.

Multi-stakeholder consultation is a key part of Fair Trade USA’s Standards Development process, consistent with best practice in the certification field. Our draft Farm Worker and Independent Smallholder standards are both online and available for public comment. In August, we will publicly share the feedback we have received and the significant modifications to the standards that we have implemented as a result of this consultation process.

We are partnering with SCS Global Services to conduct compliance assessments.

Fair Trade USA Standards

 

Board Governance

The insights and integrity of our distinguished Board of Directors are invaluable for effective strategic vision and accountability to the mission. Consistent with best practice in non-profit governance, Fair Trade USA recruits its board members from a range of diverse constituencies, including producers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, academics and activists. Earlier this year, we conducted an evaluation of our Board of Directors, and at our March board meeting, we voted to increase the number of seats as well as the diversity of perspectives represented.

Toward that end, we have recently added two new board members: Erik Nicholson, Vice President of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW); and Carlos Gonzalez, Commercial Director of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation. Both of these seasoned leaders come from grassroots movements and rose through the ranks of their respective organizations to positions of international stature. Both add depth and diversity to an already distinguished Board of Directors that includes:
  • Michael Besancon, former Senior Global Vice President of Purchasing, Communications and Distribution, Whole Foods Market
  • Tom Bullock, former CEO of Ocean Spray Cranberries, a farmer-owned cooperative
  • Theresa Fay Bustillos, labor and immigrant rights lawyer who ran the Levi Strauss Foundation
  • Susan Clare, lender, consultant and former Treasurer of Oxfam’s Advocacy Fund
  • Ron Cordes, philanthropist and winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award
  • Pamela Hartigan, Director, Skoll Center for Social Entreprenuership, Oxford University
  • Todd Gentzel, principal at Yaffe/Deutser, a strategy and communications consulting firm
  • Rick Larson, Director of Sustainable Ventures for The Conservation Fund
  • Will Rosenzweig, entrepreneur, academic, venture capitalist and winner of the Oslo Business for Peace award
  • Carlos Vargas, coffee farmer and leader of CoopeTarrazu Cooperative in Costa Rica
We are in the process of adding new members to the Board of Directors over the next eighteen months. Our well-rounded, world-class board will undoubtedly be strengthened by increased stakeholder diversity. However, we believe it must remain independent to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the organization as we strive to fulfill our mission.

Read full board bios

 

Relationship with FLO

There are many voices within the Fair Trade movement, united by a common mission to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development. While Fair Trade USA and FLO share the same mission, we have differing perspectives and strategies on how to reach our goals. Ultimately, our membership in FLO became a significant constraint on our efforts to add value to industry and expand impact for more farmers around the world. By leaving FLO, we now have the freedom to innovate and evolve the Fair Trade model with better results for all.

 

Contact

Standards: Nina Kuljjian, Manager of Standards

Pilot Projects: Miguel Zamora, Director of Coffee Innovation

Press Inquiries: Jenna Larson, Public Relations Specialist

Strengthen Communities

Co-op Link

See how Co-op Link helps strengthen farming communities to maximize impact for producers and their families.

Read More

Include More People

Coffee Pilots

See how we aim to bring the benefits and opportunities of Fair Trade to the entire coffee-producing community.

Read More

Engage Consumers

Fair Trade Community

See how we're increasing market demand for Fair Trade Certified products to grow sales and impact.

Read More