Fair Trade USA recently announced that it has certified one billion pounds of Fair Trade coffee since its founding in 1998.
The organization says this milestone was made possible by the sustainable sourcing practices of nearly 500 coffee companies, which 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 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. Fair Trade prices and access to financing helped farmers to weather a devastating outbreak of leaf rust in Central America and historically low coffee prices, the organization says.
Last year, 67 new coffee companies became partners of Fair Trade USA, including: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Topeca Coffee, Coda Coffee Company, Gimme! Coffee, and Dillanos Coffee Roasters.
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 percent of the US 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 label in Canada.
To shape the future of the organization, Fair Trade USA has established several new initiatives:
Improving Supply Chain Visibility — Fair Trade USA has acquired Acopio, Inc., a 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.”