Alongside Fair Trade Month, Fair Trade USA has announced the launch of several new Fair Trade Certified™ products across new categories, including home goods, apparel and coconut.
In 2014, the third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America partnered with 109 new companies (for a total of 915), and helped launch 455 new Fair Trade Certified products into the North American market. The growth and increased availability of Fair Trade products empowers shoppers to choose items that make a positive difference — from ensuring that factory workers have safe working conditions, to helping farmers and workers improve their communities and environment.
Fair Trade USA says 2014 marked a milestone year with the launch of three new Fair Trade Certified product categories: coconut, apparel and home goods, as well as the expansion of categories such as chocolate, tea and fresh produce.
These products are made by more than 1.4 million farmers and workers in 70 countries across the globe, working to fight poverty through better trade. Key highlights from 2014 include:
- Responsible Home Furnishings — Retailer West Elm introduced the first-ever Fair Trade Certified rugs, which are handcrafted in India. Luxury organic bedding company Boll & Branch released a collection of Fair Trade Certified sheets, pillowcases and cable knit throws. Organic brand Coyuchi announced plans to launch Fair Trade Certified Air Weight Bath Towels in Spring 2015.
- Fair Trade Clothing — Outdoor clothing company Patagonia introduced its inaugural line of 10 women’s yoga styles. Oliberté expanded its line of the first-ever shoes made in a Fair Trade Certified factory with new women’s styles. PACT launched 78 different items across 19 product styles including the first-ever Fair Trade Certified baby clothes.
- Helping Low-income Coconut Farmers — Earlier this year, Fair Trade USA welcomed coconut into its offerings to help close the gap between skyrocketing sales in North America, and poverty-level incomes earned by coconut farmers in the Philippines. New products include Naked Coconut Water, Coco Libre Coconut Water, Nutiva Coconut Oil,Nutiva O’Coconut Treats and Arrowhead Mills Organic Coconut Flour.
- Honest Tea Improves Lives of Sugar Farmers — Honest Tea was the first company to introduce a Fair Trade Certified bottled tea in 2003, and now, all of the teas made with organic sugar in its glass-bottled line will be sweetened with organic sugar that is Fair Trade Certified to complement the organic and Fair Trade teas already being used. Fair Trade premiums for the organic cane sugar help fund community development projects in Paraguay chosen by farmers, including healthcare services, farming equipment, higher-quality schools, and microloans.
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In April, Fair Trade USA announced its certification of its one billionth pound of Fair Trade coffee since its founding in 1998. The organization said 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.
Fair Trade USA is also working with nonprofit Kiva to help small-scale coffee farmers access financing, improve crop quality and invest in the future of their families and communities. The partnership resulted from a successful 2012 collaboration between Fair Trade USA, Kiva and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to pilot Kiva’s first agricultural lending program with a Fair Trade coffee cooperative in Mexico. Kiva's lenders around the world fully funded nearly all of the loans, which benefited hundreds of small farmers working to prepare their fields for harvest.