OAKLAND, Calif., (October 17, 2019) – Fair Trade USA®, the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America, reports significant growth in its produce category, evidenced by a 30 percent increase in produce sales volume in 2018. The growing fair trade produce program will be showcased at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Conference & Expo (booth #2511), October 17–19, 2019.
Growth in the produce category included the introduction of eight new Fair Trade Certified™ products, half of which are from farms in the United States. Joining the already 60+ certified products, newly-certified fruits and vegetables include:
• Lemons and limes (Mexico)
• Papayas (Mexico)
• Mangos (Brazil)
• Artichokes (USA)
• Brussels sprouts (USA)
• Grapes (USA)
• Blueberries (USA, Canada)
Growing Impact through Community Development Funds
As a result of Fair Trade Certified sales in 2018, produce farmers and workers earned nearly 8 million in Community Development Funds, providing significant funding to farmers, workers, and their communities in 12 countries. Premiums paid by businesses for every Fair Trade Certified sale go directly into a Community Development Fund to support democratically-chosen projects in areas such as infrastructure development, productivity, education, health, and safety.
“It’s not just issues on the farm, there are structural deficiencies in Baja,” said John Erb, VP of Social and Environmental Impact at Driscoll’s. “Bringing that extra [fair trade] premium to workers to help address some of those community issues is more than we could do from just implementing our own standards on the ranches.”
Producer Support Workshops
To support newly-certified producers, deep-dive into certification criteria, and build tools for workplace challenges, as well as explore practical uses of the community development fund, Fair Trade USA’s producer services team held a series of four regional workshops in Latin America. Now in its fourth year, more than 200 producers from nine countries (Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and the US) participated in this program and were able to build community and share experiences with other fair trade producers. Two regional workshops were also held for Fair Trade Committees to share challenges and successes around community needs assessments and community development projects.
Certification Support Across the Supply Chain
Fair Trade USA works with brands and retailers of all sizes to support growers and farm workers throughout the world through compliance with social, economic, environmental, and safety standards. The fair trade certification provides a framework through the application of the Agricultural Production Standard that helps farms meet and exceed the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh’s Ethical Charter. Its field operations team is well prepared to help brands, growers, and producers operationalize the Ethical Charter while working toward fair trade certification, which is the most widely recognized social responsibility seal by consumers in the US market at 63 percent consumer recognition.
“We continue to be encouraged by the brands and retailers that are dramatically increasing their support for farm workers through fair trade certification,” said Nathalie Marin-Gest, Head of Fresh Goods at Fair Trade USA. “They have realized that it’s more than just a CSR move, it's an important investment in their infrastructure and supply chains, further supporting farms in their efforts to retain and attract employees.”'
About Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA® is a 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. Recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation, Ashoka, and Ethical Corporation, Fair Trade USA also helps brands and retailers tell their stories of impact and educates consumers about the power of their purchase. Visit FairTradeCertified.org for more information.
Interim Sr. Communications Manager