20 Years in the Making...

Since 1998, producers have earned more than $500 million through sales of Fair Trade Certified™ products. We’ve helped make working conditions safer, healthcare and education more accessible, and brighter futures attainable for generations of families. It’s what we call the Fair Trade Difference, and none of it could have happened without you. We’re celebrating 20 years this October by doing what we love most—connecting people through products. Since introducing the Fair Trade Certified seal to the United States 20 years ago, to now having grown to include more than 1,250 businesses, we’ve come a long way making it easier than ever to connect with products that align with your values.


Over the Years

  1. 1998

    TransFair USA (now Fair Trade USA) opens its doors in Oakland, California. Paul Rice is named President and CEO.

  2. 1999

    TransFair USA begins certifying Fair Trade coffee.

  3. 2001

    Seattle-based Choice Organic Teas becomes the first tea brand in the United States to offer Fair Trade Certified™ teas.

  4. 2002

    The United States Fair Trade market expands to include Fair Trade Certified™ hot cocoa mix and chocolate bars in the wake of world cocoa prices hitting record lows and media exposing rampant child labor on West African cocoa farms. CostPlus World Market begins selling a line of dark, white, and milk chocolate bars in its 190 stores throughout the country.

    Cacao-growing cooperatives representing 42,000 farmers in Belize, Bolivia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, and Nicaragua begin benefitting from Fair Trade certification.

  5. 2003

    Honest Tea launches Peach Oo-La-Long, the first bottled tea to ever use Fair Trade Certified™ tea leaves and their most popular flavor on the West Coast that year. Sales of Fair Trade Certified tea reach $85,000 in additional income for farming families in India, Sri Lanka, China, and Vietnam.

  6. 2004

    Fair Trade expands into the produce section. As covered by the New York Times, in 2004 alone, TransFair USA certifies more than 8 million pounds of organic bananas from Ecuador, 470,000 pounds of Costa Rican pineapples, 100,000 pounds of mangoes from Mexico and Peru, and 9,000 pounds of grapes from South Africa.

  7. 2005

    Costco, Sam's Club and select McDonald's begin selling Fair Trade Certified™ coffees, moving Fair Trade into the mainstream. Fair Trade Certified coffee sales top 44 million pounds.

    Fair Trade Certified rice and sugar hit the United States market for the first time. Vanilla is soon to follow.

  8. 2006

    On July 8, 2006, the small town of Media, Pennsylvania declares itself the first Fair Trade Town in the United States.

    TransFair USA receives Fast Company’s annual Social Capitalist Award for the third year in a row.

  9. 2007

    United States retail sales of Fair Trade Certified™ products surpass $1 billion.

  10. 2008

    Whole Foods, Sam's Club, and Target launch the first Fair Trade Certified™ wine in the United States. Honey—launched by Wholesome Sweeteners—and flowers follow close behind.

    CEO Paul Rice joins President Bill Clinton addressing the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting and closes with a public commitment to launch Fair Trade cotton and apparel.

  11. 2010

    TransFair USA changes its name to Fair Trade USA and launches the first ethical apparel certification label in the United States.

  12. 2011

    Fair Trade USA parts ways with Fair Trade International and announces Fair Trade for All, a vision to double the impact of Fair Trade for farmers and workers by 2015.

  13. 2012

    The newly-redesigned Fair Trade Certified™ seal hits store shelves in Canada and the United States.

  14. 2013

    Fair Trade USA certifies the first coconut supply chain of 1,200 farmers in southern Luzon, Philippines to bring Fair Trade coconut water to the United States.

  15. 2014

    West Elm becomes the first home retailer to join Fair Trade USA, with a product assortment that has since grown to include rugs, bedding, and furniture.

  16. 2015

    Mission accomplished! The Fair Trade for All vision to double Fair Trade’s impact for farmers and workers between 2011 and 2015 is met and exceeded. Between 2011 and 2015, Fair Trade’s impact grew from $79 million to $203 million.

    Safeway and Fair Trade USA announce a partnership to launch Fair Trade Certified™ seafood into the North American market to bring the benefits of Fair Trade to small scale fishermen and their communities.

  17. 2016

    Fair Trade USA certifies the first Fair Trade Certified™ farm in the United States, Wholesum Harvest in southern Arizona.

  18. 2017

    For the first year ever, Fair Trade Community Development Funds surpass record-breaking $50 million in a single year.

Real Products, Real Stories

The Fair Trade Difference is a celebration of the impact we’ve created together since 1998. It’s a reminder that all those times you thought you were just reaching for a cup of coffee, or any other Fair Trade product, you were actually reaching out and touching the lives of farmers, workers, and fishermen across the world. Whenever you buy a product with the Fair Trade Certified seal, you help drive additional funds back to the people who worked hard to make that product according to rigorous Fair Trade standards that protect people and planet. Behind every Fair Trade Certified product is a face and a story.

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20th Anniversary Giveaway

As a thank-you for your commitment to Fair Trade, we invite you to enter our 20th Anniversary Giveaway. ONE winner will receive the grand prize that includes a $4,000 bedroom makeover by west elm and a $4,000 pantry restock by Kroger. No purchase necessary. Consider it our little way of helping you live your values through Fair Trade.

Photo Credit: west elm

Fair Trade Bedroom by west elm

In 2014, west elm became the first-ever home retailer to offer Fair Trade Certified products. Today, their Fair Trade program impacts 11,000+ workers, who spend their Community Development Funds on local needs like transportation and health care. west elm’s Fair Trade Certified assortment includes bedding, rugs and even furniture—all the makings for a space that looks good and does good. Enter the 20th Anniversary Giveaway to win a $4,000 gift card for your own bedroom makeover!

Pantry Restock by Kroger

Restock your pantry with the help of a $4,000 gift card from Kroger! In recent years, Kroger has partnered with Fair Trade USA to offer more socially- and environmentally-conscious products, including coffee, cocoa, coconut, tea, sugar, and agave nectar. In total, Kroger carries nearly 300 Fair Trade Certified products representing 60 brands. This year, they are expanding their in-house Simple Truth brand to offer at least 10 more Fair Trade Certified products.

Enter by October 31, 2018. You will be notified via email if you are a winner.

I am a United States resident.
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"Seeds" by Danny McGinnist Jr.

Contact us to pre-order a 20th Anniversary t-shirt with artwork by Danny McGinnist Jr.