Fair Trade USA Recognizes Partners’ Expanded Commitments to Fair Trade Coffee During Price and Demand Crisis

Nonprofit honors achievements of businesses that bring the coffee sector closer to full sustainability; encourages purchases of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee to help farmers across the globe.

OAKLAND, Calif., (September 21, 2020) — Fair Trade USA, the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America, today announces its #JustOneCup campaign to aid coffee farmers amid an unprecedented coffee crisis as the pandemic continues. The campaign highlights commitments by eight of its business partners that bring additional Fair Trade Certified coffee to market and invites people to choose fair on International Coffee Day, September 29.  

With coffee prices at 13-year lows, well below the cost of production in most countries, and the pandemic exacerbating challenges due to labor shortages and decreased demand, fair trade is needed as a social safety net now more than ever. It is the only mainstream model that guarantees a minimum price for producers and delivers additional funds per pound of coffee for producers to use at their discretion. In 2019 alone, producers earned a record $37 million in additional income from fair trade coffee purchases through the Community Development Funds, which have been made available for immediate emergency COVID-19 relief efforts.  

A survey conducted by Fair Trade USA® to farmers across 22 countries found that 67% saw a decrease in demand for their products and 74% reported income loss as a direct result of the pandemic.  

"We need coffee to get us through this pandemic, but coffee needs us more right now," said Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA. " Wherever they are in the world, we invite people to celebrate with us at home on International Coffee Day and raise a mug of fair trade coffee. A simple choice for #JustOneCup can truly change the lives of farmers for the better."  


Businesses Make Strides in Sustainable Coffee  

The additional funds coffee producers earn on top of the minimum price are made possible by consumer demand for Fair Trade Certified coffee and the support of Fair Trade USA's retail and business partners. This year, Fair Trade USA commends the significant strides of the following partners in fulfilling or scaling up their commitments to fair trade, sustainability, and traceable sourcing in collaboration with the ongoing Sustainable Coffee Challenge

  • Keurig Dr Pepper: Last year, Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) was named the largest buyer of fair trade coffee in the world for the tenth consecutive year. KDP is on track to achieve its goals to responsibly source 100% of its coffee and engage one million people in its supply chain to significantly improve their lives by the end of 2020.  KDP has a long-standing commitment to implementing leading sustainable practices in its coffee supply chain, making social impact investments, and seeking out innovative partnerships to help ensure coffee remains a viable and resilient livelihood for farmers and their communities. Since 2001, KDP has contributed $96 million to workers through Community Development Funds. 

  • Walmart / Sam's Club: By the end of this year, Walmart will work with suppliers to source certified, sustainably grown coffee for 100% of its private brand products and invest in the long-term viability of coffee farming through direct programs with growers. Currently, 89% of Member's Mark private brand coffee at Sam's Club is Fair Trade Certified. In 2019, sales of Fair Trade Certified coffee at Walmart and Sam's Club generated $3.5 million for workers through Community Development Funds. 

  • Whole Foods: By the end of this year, all Whole Foods Market and 365 by Whole Foods Market packaged coffee will be ethically sourced and certified according to approved third party standards, including Fair Trade USA's certification.  

  • Kroger: Through its Simple Truth brand, Kroger is fulfilling its Sustainable Coffee Challenge commitment to source 100% Fair Trade Certified coffee. Kroger continues to add new products and coffee-growing regions to its product portfolio, including US-based coffee that will become newly certified in the coming years. Through fair trade, Kroger’s Simple Truth brand has supported communities in more than six countries across the world, enabling global investments in healthcare, education, and scholarships, calamity funds, feeding programs, waste management infrastructure, replanting, and more. 

Take Action for Farmers & Essential Workers with 'Buy a Bag, Give a Bag'  

A new facet of this year's #JustOneCup campaign empowers consumers to support farmers while also energizing essential workers to thank them for the role they play in keeping our communities safe and running during the pandemic. Fair Trade USA, along with five of its coffee partners, is extending a limited Buy a Bag, Give a Bag offer, where shoppers can give a bag of Fair Trade Certified coffee to an essential worker. Tune into Instagram on 9/17, 9/22, and 9/24 to take advantage of this opportunity. Participating brands include One Village, Dynamite Roasting Company, Mr Espresso, Pierce Brothers, and Cafe Mam.  

To find all Fair Trade Certified coffee brands, see here

Facebook: @Fairtradecertified 

Instagram: @fairtradecertified 

Twitter: @FairTradeCert 


About Fair Trade USA 

Fair Trade USA® is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ seal on a product signifies that it was made according to rigorous fair trade standards that promote sustainable livelihoods and safe working conditions, protection of the environment, and strong, transparent supply chains. Rather than creating dependency on aid, Fair Trade USA’s model empowers farmers, workers, and fishermen to fight poverty and earn additional money to improve their communities. Winner of Fast Company’s Social Enterprise of the Year Award and recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation, and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also helps brands and retailers tell their stories of impact and educate consumers about the power of their purchase. 

Contact: Kasi Martin, Fair Trade USA kmartin@fairtradeusa.org 

About the Sustainable Coffee Challenge 

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge is a collaborative effort of companies, governments, NGOs, research institutions, and others to transition the coffee sector to be fully sustainable. Challenge partners are urgently working together to increase transparency, align around a common vision for sustainability, and collaborate to accelerate progress toward those goals. Launched during the 2015 Paris climate meetings with 18 founding partners, the Challenge aims to stimulate greater demand for sustainable coffee. The movement has since grown to more than 100 international partners. 

Musengimana Laurence, Rwanda

Musengimana joined a fair trade cooperative in 2006, and since then has been able to buy clothes instead of having to make her own. She has also been able to invest in fertilizing her coffee trees to increase the quality of her coffee. She hopes to use her coffee income in the future to build a permanent home for her family and to invest in expanding her sewing business.

Photo by Bennett Wetch

Stanislas Habyarabatumwe, Rushashi, Rwanda

"One of the challenges we are battling is climate change, which can negatively affect the harvest. But we conduct regular trainings in order to prepare ourselves for the effects of climate change."

Photo by Jacques Nkinzingabo