Your Dollars Did More: Reflections on Fair Trade Month

Every October, advocates, be they conscious consumers or businesses, mobilize to support the fair trade movement during Fair Trade Month and I'm reminded of the power of collective action.

As I unwrap my tiny Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate while I dip into my dwindling trick-or-treat reserves, I’m reminded that this tiny choice, when multiplied by the masses, is how movements are made.

While fair trade has been around for a long-time, Fair Trade Month was officially declared in 2004 as a way to spread awareness for the cause and mobilize people to do better for people and planet – through the simple act of their daily purchases. The idea really took off – especially as the scope of fair trade grew. Everything from your bag of coffee, to your grapes, to your jeans (yes, those things you haven’t re-acclimated to yet) can be fair trade. And the month is inclusive of everyone in the movement -- from alliances, to independent brands, to shoppers, to third-party certifiers like us.

Every year, the team at Fair Trade USA leads the global celebration and honors the businesses and shoppers who make the fair trade impact possible.

 

More reason to celebrate

This year was special because it coincided with one of our biggest annual campaigns that brings attention to the importance of fair trade in coffee, our first and most widely-known commodity. We merged this with Fair Trade Month into one super campaign that asked, “Do Your Dollars Do More?”

To start, we hosted a barista event and tasting with Sam Spillman, 2019 United States Barista Champion. The event featured retailers Kroger, Sam’s Club, Albertson’s, and CVS Pharmacy who have prominent private label Fair Trade Certified coffee programs. These products are gaining popularity with consumers for their intersection of quality and accessibility. The campaign also celebrated the new and expanded commitments made to fair trade during the Sustainable Coffee Challenge this year, most notably, with Keurig Dr Pepper maintaining their status as the largest purchaser of fair trade coffee globally for the 11th consecutive year and Target achieving its commitment to source 100% sustainably through Fair Trade USA.

We also created distinct web pages and videos focused on our fair trade branded coffee, private label coffee, packaged goods, produce, apparel, seafood, and new dairy programs that encouraged businesses to commit to responsible sourcing through a partnership. We are pleased that over 60 partners participated in the Do Your Dollars Do More campaign by amplifying on social media, newsletters, ads, website features and/or making commitments. This level of participation is especially exciting because Fair Trade Month is a time to shine a light on businesses’ commitments to responsible sourcing and engage consumers in sustainable purchasing. When the two meet, real impact happens for farmers and workers across the globe!

 

Consumers become activists

More than 400 fair trade enthusiasts also got involved by sharing how their dollars did more in two contests where they won coffee from our private label coffee partners, CVS Pharmacy, Aldi, Kroger, Sam's Club & Albertsons, and gift cards from our retail partners, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods and Costco.

 

 

More than 30 campaigners at fair trade colleges and towns across the US attended a webinar with coffee producers about our 22-year impact in the sector.

 

New fair trade commitments and products

Never underestimate the power of committed consumers who demand more. You are part of the change, and another big reason why we’re seeing our partners like Williams Sonoma Inc., double their investments in Fair Trade USA® programs.

We were also pleased to also see almost 500 new Fair Trade Certified products hit the shelves and online shops in the third quarter of 2021, coinciding with Do Your Dollars Do More. Building on the exponential growth we saw in private label in the second quarter, 139 of these product launches were store-branded. Additionally, 239 coffee products and 250 packaged goods became Fair Trade Certified. Lookout for our favorites:

  • Big Country Foods cocktail lineup, made with Fair Trade Certified sugar
  • Mind Fish’s first Fair Trade Certified Canned Tuna
  • REBBL’s Stacked coffee that offers immunity support in an oat milk blend

 

Explore all Fair Trade Certified products here.

Whether it’s just one cup, just one banana, or just one t-shirt, you all proved that your collective dollars did more. Consider us impressed, and eternally grateful.

You can continue to support the movement beyond Fair Trade Month by purchasing Fair Trade Certified products available at retailers across the nation (look for the little green seal), becoming a campaigner, or simply voicing your support with #MyDollarsDoMore and tagging @fairtradecertified on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or @FairTradeCert Twitter