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Tag Archive for: Fair Trade Certified

by Sandra Marquardt

Fair Trade, Shade Grown, Organic Coffee Sales Continue to be Hot!

Categories: 2012, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

12_12 22-ASales of cof­fee cer­ti­fied to organic, Fair Trade and Bird Friendly shade-grown stan­dards con­tin­ued to increase sub­stan­tially over the last two years. This is the direct result of con­sumers con­tin­u­ing to vote with their pock­et­books in favor of com­pa­nies pro­vid­ing high qual­ity cof­fee that is also cer­ti­fied to stan­dards that pro­tect work­ers and the envi­ron­ment. But, the sales could not increase if it weren’t for the cof­fee importers and retail­ers across the coun­try that have incor­po­rated increas­ing amounts of the cer­ti­fied cof­fee into their prod­uct lines.

12_12 22-BIndeed, imports of Fair Trade Certified™ organic (FTO) cof­fee grew 14 per­cent in 2011 to just over 72 mil­lion pounds, rep­re­sent­ing 52 per­cent of all Fair Trade cof­fee imported into the U.S. with an esti­mated mar­ket value of $700 mil­lion, accord­ing to the lat­est data from Fair Trade USA. The annual aver­age increase for Fair Trade organic cof­fee imports was 11.5% from 2008–2011. The total esti­mated retail sales value is based on both out-of-home sales (cafes, cof­fee shops, restau­rants) and retail sales at main­stream and spe­cialty gro­cery stores.

The demand for Fair Trade Certified organic cof­fee from both con­sumers and indus­try has made 2012 an excit­ing year for the com­mu­ni­ties we sup­port,” said Jennifer Gallegos, Director of Coffee at Fair Trade USA. “We expect this momen­tum to con­tinue in 2013, help­ing farm­ers earn fund­ing for much-needed social, envi­ron­men­tal and qual­ity improve­ment pro­grams that will uplift the cof­fee indus­try as a whole.”

In addi­tion, sales of the strin­gent Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s Bird Friendly® stan­dard, con­sid­ered by many to be the ‘gold-standard’ for shade-grown cof­fee pro­duc­tion, reached $5.3 mil­lion in 2011. Bird Friendly®-certified cof­fee enjoyed a 29% aver­age annual increase in sales in the global mar­ket from 2008–2011, accord­ing to Dr. Robert Rice, coör­di­na­tor of the Bird Friendly program.

The North American organic cof­fee mar­ket topped 1.4 bil­lion dol­lars in 2009, the most recent data avail­able, accord­ing to lead­ing mar­ket ana­lyst Daniele Giovannucci. But it’s not only organic cof­fee sales that are increasing—the U.S. organic indus­try grew by 9.5 per­cent over­all in 2011 to reach $31.5 bil­lion in sales. Of this, the organic food and bev­er­age sec­tor, includ­ing organic cof­fee, was val­ued at $29.22 bil­lion (the organic non-food sec­tor accounted for $2.2 bil­lion), accord­ing to find­ings from the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) 2012 Organic Industry Survey.

One of the most recent indi­ca­tions of cof­fee retail change-of-course is the com­mit­ment of Bolla Market, a chain of New York City-area high-end con­ve­nience stores, to switch to offer­ing only top-quality, spe­cialty cof­fee cer­ti­fied to organic, Fair Trade, and Bird Friendly® shade grown stan­dards for all its cof­fee offer­ings at its 21 loca­tions rang­ing from Brooklyn to Riverhead on Long Island as well as in Staten Island, New York. Similarly, Pennsylvania-based Golden Valley Farm Coffee Roasters has found con­ve­nience stores increas­ingly inter­ested in offer­ing high qual­ity cof­fee cer­ti­fied to the stan­dards, although the chains they sup­ply often choose not to adver­tise the cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and let the increased cof­fee sales speak for themselves.

12_12 22-CSandra Marquardt is the pres­i­dent of On the Mark Public Relations and the cof­fee spokesper­son for the Organic Trade Association (OTA). She for­merly coör­di­nated the Organic Coffee Collaboration – a project of the OTA.

&A with Fair Trade USA">Q&A with Fair Trade USA

Categories: 2012, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Can you tell us about some of the changes occur­ring in Fair Trade Certified cof­fee?
According to the World Bank, more than two bil­lion peo­ple live on less than two dol­lars a day. Today’s Fair Trade model reaches only a small per­cent­age of them. Fair Trade can and must do more.
That is why we are build­ing on the momen­tum of the past 12 years to bring greater impact to farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties around the world. Our new vision, aimed at dou­bling the impact of Fair Trade by 2015, will:

  • Strengthen farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties by invest­ing in coop­er­a­tives and part­ner­ing with oth­ers to pro­vide more impact
  • Innovate the Fair Trade model to include more peo­ple in more com­mu­ni­ties around the world
  • Ignite con­sumer involve­ment to increase aware­ness and sales in order to grow the Fair Trade movement

Today Fair Trade prin­ci­ples are applied some­what incon­sis­tently. In some prod­uct cat­e­gories, like cof­fee, cocoa and sugar, Fair Trade cer­ti­fi­ca­tion has been lim­ited to coop­er­a­tives. In other cat­e­gories, like bananas, tea and flow­ers, farm work­ers on large farms can also receive Fair Trade benefits.

To elim­i­nate these incon­sis­ten­cies Fair trade USA is adapt­ing exist­ing stan­dards and apply­ing them to inde­pen­dent small­hold­ers and farm work­ers on large farms, begin­ning in coffee.

This more inclu­sive model brings the ben­e­fits of Fair Trade to far more farm­ers and work­ers; enables more busi­nesses to develop reli­able and eth­i­cal sup­ply chains; allows more retail­ers to offer more Fair Trade Certified prod­ucts; and gives con­sumers a broader selec­tion of high qual­ity Fair Trade Certified prod­ucts from which to choose.

Is Fair Trade con­cerned about qual­ity, and if so, how?
Fair Trade is absolutely con­cerned about prod­uct qual­ity, from the farm to the cup. While Fair Trade USA does not cer­tify against qual­ity, we do sup­port invest­ment in qual­ity. It is a win-win sit­u­a­tion– higher qual­ity means higher prices and greater impact for farm­ers, and a bet­ter prod­uct for consumers.

In addi­tion to the min­i­mum or mar­ket price, Fair Trade requires that buy­ers pay com­mu­nity devel­op­ment pre­mi­ums. Farmers demo­c­ra­t­i­cally decide how to spend these pre­mi­ums – his­tor­i­cally about 50% of pre­mium dol­lars have been used on projects that improve lives – things like edu­ca­tion, health­care, hous­ing – and about 50% have been used for projects that enable more envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices and higher qual­ity prod­uct. In cof­fee, we have gone one step fur­ther: of the twenty-cent per pound com­mu­nity devel­op­ment pre­mium, five cents must go directly to qual­ity initiatives.

Fair Trade USA has also part­nered with key inter­na­tional research groups, NGO’s and indus­try part­ners to enhance cof­fee qual­ity. For exam­ple, Fair Trade USA is cur­rently work­ing with the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative (GCQRI), a col­lab­o­ra­tive research pro­gram of the spe­cialty cof­fee indus­try, to help all mem­bers of the Fair Trade cof­fee sup­ply chain improve qual­ity and yields in the face of cli­mate change.

How does Fair trade USA engage cof­fee drink­ing con­sumers and grow con­sumer aware­ness?
Not only does Fair Trade USA sup­port the work of indi­vid­ual brands and com­pa­nies to increase aware­ness and drive sales of Fair Trade Certified cof­fees, we are also able to step out­side these indi­vid­ual brand efforts to grow the Fair Trade move­ment as a whole. Some of these national efforts include pro­grams like: Fair Trade Towns and Universities, Fair Trade Month (every October), and var­i­ous mar­ket­ing, pub­lic rela­tions and online dig­i­tal media pro­grams through­out the year that engage con­sumers on a much larger scale.

Why does Fair Trade USA work with large com­pa­nies?
Fair Trade USA cer­ti­fies and pro­motes Fair Trade prod­ucts, with the aim of alle­vi­at­ing poverty through trade.

While the major­ity of Fair Trade USA’s cof­fee part­ners are small to medium size roast­ers, it’s our phi­los­o­phy that any com­pany of any size should be able to embrace Fair Trade and com­mit to sus­tain­able sourc­ing. Any com­mit­ment to Fair Trade is an impor­tant one, which is why we sup­port both large and small brands in buy­ing and sell­ing Fair Trade Certified cof­fee. When there are more Fair Trade prod­ucts on store shelves, more con­sumers are able to choose Fair Trade and that means more impact back to farmers.

What do Fair Trade USA’s ser­vice fees go to?
Fair Trade USA is a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to alle­vi­at­ing poverty through trade. In addi­tion to mar­ket link­age, we offer a com­pre­hen­sive range of ser­vices to sup­port the sourc­ing of Fair Trade Certified goods, pro­vide cred­i­ble ver­i­fi­ca­tion of respon­si­ble sourc­ing prac­tices, and empower farm­ers and work­ers around the world to earn a fair price and improve their communities.

Specifically, Fair Trade USA’s ser­vice fees go to:

Developing the sup­ply of high-quality, Fair Trade Certified cof­fee
Market access and sup­ply chain sta­bil­ity are core objec­tives of Fair Trade. We con­stantly recruit, train and cer­tify new pro­ducer groups, expand­ing ben­e­fits to more farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties each year. Additionally, importers and roast­ers fre­quently enlist our sup­port to help them iden­tify and part­ner with high-quality Fair Trade farms. We also part­ner with lead­ing NGO’s and indus­try groups to help strengthen exist­ing Fair Trade cooperatives.

Standards & Certification
Fair Trade USA sets rig­or­ous social and envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, cer­ti­fies farms against those stan­dards, and con­ducts reg­u­lar audits to ensure long term com­pli­ance. Fair Trade USA also audits thou­sands of busi­ness trans­ac­tions each year to ensure the integrity of every prod­uct bear­ing the Fair Trade Certified label.

Building the Fair Trade Movement and dri­ving con­sumer aware­ness and demand
Without a sale, Fair Trade can pro­vide no impact back to farm­ers. Fair Trade USA invests in grow­ing con­sumer aware­ness to drive demand and ben­e­fit far more farm­ers and work­ers around the world.

Measure & Report Impact
Fair Trade USA works with farmer orga­ni­za­tions around the world to cap­ture and sum­ma­rize the impact that results from par­tic­i­pa­tion in Fair Trade. Fair Trade USA shares this infor­ma­tion through detailed impact reports and impact sto­ries that help con­nect con­sumers with the peo­ple behind the products.

It is also impor­tant to note that in 2011 Fair Trade USA reduced ser­vice fees for cof­fee roast­ers across the board. Now, there are zero fees on the first 20,000 pounds of Fair Trade Certified cof­fee pur­chased, and all fees beyond 20,000 pounds have been reduced as well.

Fair Trade: A Sustainable Way to Alleviate Poverty While Providing Quality Coffee for Generations to Come

Categories: 2011, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

The goal of Fair Trade USA is to use trade as a means to help alle­vi­ate global poverty and improve stan­dards of liv­ing in ways that are eco­nom­i­cally, socially, and envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able. The state­ment is sim­ple, but the respon­si­bil­ity is enormous.

Using trade to help alle­vi­ate global poverty and improve stan­dards of living

Fair Trade in the United States stands at a cross­roads. Over the past 50 years, the Fair Trade move­ment has empow­ered farm­ers around the world to improve their lives, pro­tect the land, and develop their com­mu­ni­ties. We are proud of what we have accom­plished – farm­ers, respon­si­ble com­pa­nies, NGOs and con­scious con­sumers – all work­ing together.

Yet, the need is much greater. According to the World Bank, more than 2 bil­lion peo­ple live on less than two dol­lars a day. Today’s Fair Trade model reaches only a small per­cent­age of them. Fair Trade can and must do more.

For years, many stake­hold­ers have rightly crit­i­cized the Fair Trade sys­tem for incon­sis­ten­cies in how Fair Trade prin­ci­ples have been applied. In some prod­uct cat­e­gories, such as cof­fee, cocoa, and sugar, Fair Trade cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is lim­ited to coop­er­a­tives. In other cat­e­gories, such as rice in India, com­mu­ni­ties of small, unas­so­ci­ated farm­ers are allowed to obtain cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Moreover, in still other cat­e­gories, like bananas, tea and flow­ers, farm work­ers on larger farms or estates can also receive Fair Trade ben­e­fits. In short, Fair Trade has his­tor­i­cally excluded some of the poor­est of the poor. This rep­re­sents a seri­ous and often harm­ful incon­sis­tency that must be addressed if Fair Trade truly seeks to alle­vi­ate global poverty on a larger scale.

Fair Trade: A com­pre­hen­sive model of sustainability

Fair Trade looks at sus­tain­abil­ity holis­ti­cally, using our stan­dards to simul­ta­ne­ously address eco­nomic, social and envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­abil­ity and the inter­de­pen­dence among them.

Economic Sustainability

Fair Trade pro­vides farm­ers with bet­ter access to mar­kets and buy­ers, while encour­ag­ing long term sup­ply chain rela­tion­ships that pro­vide a more sta­ble liveli­hood for farm­ers. When farm­ers under­stand the needs of the mar­ket, they can work towards pro­duc­ing the qual­ity lev­els buy­ers expect.

Our recently intro­duced Co-op Link pro­gram fur­ther strength­ens the eco­nomic ben­e­fits of Fair Trade. Co-op Link builds off Fair Trade USA’s his­tory of part­ner­ing across the sup­ply chain to pro­vide more eco­nomic ben­e­fits to coop­er­a­tives. Since 2006, Fair Trade USA and our part­ners have invested over $7.4 mil­lion in prod­uct qual­ity, mar­ket access, busi­ness capac­ity, and bio­di­ver­sity ini­tia­tives in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Co-op Link expands these efforts. For exam­ple, at the April 2010 SCAA Expo, dur­ing our annual Fair Trade USA Producer Forum, we sur­veyed over 200 pro­ducer groups about their most press­ing needs. Based on their input, we raised funds from indus­try and NGO part­ners, and through the use of local ser­vice providers, we have already con­ducted price/risk man­age­ment train­ing for more than 100 coop­er­a­tives in four coun­tries. This train­ing enables coop­er­a­tives to man­age more effec­tively in the face of pric­ing volatil­ity, decreases the like­li­hood of defaults, and strength­ens the coop­er­a­tives economically.

Social Sustainability

Fair Trade stan­dards improve the lives of farm­ers by pro­hibit­ing child labor and dis­crim­i­na­tion; by ensur­ing ade­quate safety train­ing and equip­ment; and by empow­er­ing women to take lead­er­ship roles in Fair Trade cooperatives.

Here is an exam­ple of social sus­tain­abil­ity in action. OROMIA is a cof­fee coöper­a­tive in Ethiopia with over 180,000 cof­fee grow­ing house­holds in its ranks. Since becom­ing Fair Trade Certified in 2002, OROMIA has funded the con­struc­tion of wells that pro­vide potable water, bridges that con­nect com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing the rainy sea­son, and schools in areas with no prior access to edu­ca­tion. In a region char­ac­ter­ized by ram­pant poverty and chronic lack of infra­struc­ture, Fair Trade has helped improve the lives of entire communities.

Environmental Sustainability
Fair Trade stan­dards pro­tect the envi­ron­ment by pro­hibit­ing the use of the most haz­ardous chem­i­cals and GMO’s; by giv­ing farm­ers addi­tional incen­tives for farm­ing organ­i­cally; by requir­ing respon­si­ble waste man­age­ment prac­tices; and by ensur­ing envi­ron­men­tal plans have been cre­ated and progress against those plans is being tracked.

For exam­ple, COOPAIN, a cocoa and cof­fee coöper­a­tive in Naranjillo, Peru, invested Fair Trade pre­mi­ums in 2007 in an envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion and pro­duc­tiv­ity improve­ment pro­gram aim­ing to make strides in the imple­men­ta­tion of organic agri­cul­ture sys­tems with­out sac­ri­fic­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity – a com­mon chal­lenge when tran­si­tion­ing to organic agri­cul­ture. At the pro­gram con­clu­sion in 2010, the num­ber of coop mem­bers car­ry­ing organic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion had tripled and pro­duc­tiv­ity actu­ally increased from 800 lbs per hectare to 1,400 lbs per hectare. Fair Trade helped Naranjillo add value to their prod­uct and increase their export capac­ity while simul­ta­ne­ously pro­tect­ing the environment.

The Fair Trade Difference: Bringing it all together

While Fair Trade stan­dards simul­ta­ne­ously address eco­nomic, social, and envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges, it’s the “Fair Trade Difference” that brings them all together.

The Fair Trade Difference con­sists of pre-determined eco­nomic ben­e­fits in the form of required com­mu­nity devel­op­ment pre­mi­ums, and mech­a­nisms for empow­er­ing groups of farm­ers and work­ers to deter­mine how to spend those pre­mi­ums in ways that best meet the needs of their com­mu­ni­ties. Empowerment can take many forms: Farmers can join together in coop­er­a­tives; work­ers on large estates can form work­ers’ asso­ci­a­tions or unions.

Since 2007, farm­ers have cho­sen to invest about half of their com­mu­nity devel­op­ment pre­mi­ums in projects to improve qual­ity and pro­tect the envi­ron­ment, with the other half going to projects that improve lives via pro­grams in areas such as edu­ca­tion, health­care, and clean drink­ing water.

The com­mu­nity devel­op­ment pre­mi­ums, and the ways farm­ers choose to spend them, under­score the holis­tic approach to sus­tain­abil­ity that under­lies Fair Trade. Working together with our part­ners, this approach enables Fair Trade to alle­vi­ate global poverty and improve stan­dards of liv­ing in ways that are eco­nom­i­cally, socially and envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able – and enables cof­fee farms to flour­ish for gen­er­a­tions to come

Jennifer Gallegos is the Director of Business Development for Coffee at Fair Trade USA. With over 20 years sales and mar­ket­ing expe­ri­ence, rang­ing from Fortune 50 brands, start-ups and non-profits, Jennifer has spent over half of her career in the cof­fee indus­try. Most recently, she was VP of Sales with Coffee Bean International where she helped national retail­ers under­stand the value of dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing their pri­vate brands and meet­ing con­sumer demand with spe­cialty cof­fee, includ­ing cer­ti­fied cof­fees. At Fair Trade USA, she sets the strate­gic direc­tion and future of their cof­fee cat­e­gory, while lead­ing a team to make Fair Trade Certified™ cof­fee an inte­gral part of every suc­cess­ful cof­fee pro­gram and deliv­er­ing the great­est impact back to cof­fee farm­ers around the world..