Fair Trade Certified Organic Imports Skyrocket

Fair Trade USA’s 2010 Almanac Highlights Reflects Dramatic Growth in Fair Trade Certified Organic Imports and Community Investments
Apr 26, 2011 10:00 AM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) OAKLAND, California - April 26, 2011 - Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, today releases its 2010 Almanac. With more than 9,500 Fair Trade Certified™ consumer products offered by more than 700 industry partners at more than 60,000 retail locations, this yearly report serves as a barometer for the health and growth of Fair Trade in the United States.  

The 2010 edition showcases record volumes of Fair Trade Certified imports, a dramatic increase in organic imports, expansion into popular new product categories, a surge in consumer demand and increased brand recognition for Fair Trade Certified goods. This continues to parallel overall growth in consumer awareness of Fair Trade, which has quadrupled in the past five years.   While the world economy saw continued instability in 2010, Fair Trade USA bucked the trend and certified nearly 109 million pounds of Fair Trade coffee, 62 percent of which was also certified organic. Not only did this growth result in more than $44 million in premium funds paid to coffee farmers to date, it also reflects the ever-growing desire for socially-conscious consumers to align their purchasing habits with their values. The money generated by this surge in consumer demand can be reinvested into farming businesses to build infrastructure and capacity, as well as into farming communities for schools, roads, health care and other development efforts.   “As consumer demand for ethically-produced goods increases, we’re able to chip away at the cycle of poverty that grips farming communities around the world,” said Paul Rice, President and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “Through their participation in Fair Trade, farming families have earned more than $220 million in additional income since 1998, $56 million of which will be invested specifically in community development programs that provide access to education and life-saving health care.”   One of the most exciting advances that occurred in 2010 was expansion within both new and existing product categories, revealing increased demand in the U.S. market for Fair Trade items across the board. These new products include apparel, green peppers, vodka and a wide array of herbs, spices and extracts. In 2010, more than eight million pounds of all-organic Fair Trade pineapples were also re-introduced to the market.   In response to the increased availability of Fair Trade goods, 2010 was witness to tremendous growth in several key product categories in addition to coffee. Cocoa experienced a 67 percent growth in imports since 2009, 88 percent (3,882,000 lbs) of which was also certified organic. Fair Trade citrus saw a 96 percent increase in growth in 2010, imports of sugar rose by 60 percent (89 percent also organic), and imported pounds of certified vanilla nearly quadrupled due to recent commitments from major U.S. buyers. Fair Trade USA expects to see additional growth after two Fair Trade wines recently achieved 90+ scores from Wine Spectator, indicating significant increases in quality and recognition from industry insiders.    Along with product expansion, 92 new producer groups joined the Fair Trade system in 2010, representing an additional 140,000 farmers. New coffee groups accounted for nearly 30 percent of the total growth. Fair Trade USA’s business partners expanded their purchases as well, sourcing certified goods from a new total of 878 producer organizations in 70 countries around the world.   As these numbers reveal, Fair Trade certification helps farmers, industry partners and consumers alike make every purchase matter, contributing to the long-term sustainability of farming communities around the world. In just 12 years, we’ve established the Fair Trade Certified label as the leading mark of sustainability and responsible sourcing. Today, it assures consumers that the quality products they purchase are improving lives and protecting the environment.   Download the complete 2010 Fair Trade Almanac.   # # #   Fair Trade USA (previously TransFair USA), a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities. Fair Trade USA educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farming communities with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visit www.FairTradeUSA.org for more information.