OAKLAND, CALIF. (Oct. 1, 2012) – Fair Trade USA , the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, kicked off the ninth-annual Fair Trade Month today with the launch of a campaign that underscores the power consumers have to make every purchase matter. In 2012 alone, more than 120 new Fair Trade Certified™ products were launched, making it possible for shoppers to find the label in nearly every aisle of the grocery store, in restaurants and cafes, and online.
Throughout the month of October, ethically-minded consumers, retailers and brands will unite to celebrate and promote the benefits of Fair Trade. A combination of educational events, in-store sampling programs, online initiatives and community gatherings will help increase awareness and sales of Fair Trade Certified products, ultimately leading to greater impact for farmers and workers in developing countries.
This year’s Fair Trade Month theme is “Count Me In”, and shoppers are encouraged to take the Fair Trade Month pledge at www.FairTradeUSA.org/FairTradeMonth .
Fair Trade Month Highlights include:
- Celebrity Ambassadors: Green Mountain Coffee’s Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Pass It On  campaign features musicians Grace Potter and Michael Franti.
- In-Store Promotions: More than 100 Whole Foods Market stores will feature Fair Trade sampling events throughout the month.
- Farmer Connections: Fair Trade USA and partner brands will use social media to tell the story of the farmers and workers that benefit from Fair Trade. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/FairTradeCertified .
- Grassroots Events: Fair Trade supporters will share experiences and resources to strengthen grassroots momentum for Fair Trade at the second Fair Trade Campaigns Conference  in Chicago from Oct. 26-28. Local organizers will focus on increasing availability and sales of Fair Trade Certified bananas in their communities with the Go Bananas!  campaign.
- Social Media Sampling: Fair Trade USA has partnered with Klout  to offer social media influencers in related topics sample boxes of Fair Trade Certified products.
“With support from consumers and businesses alike, famers and workers have earned more than $77 million in community development premiums to farmers and workers since 1998,” said Mary Jo Cook, Chief Impact Officer for Fair Trade USA. “Fair Trade Month is a time to celebrate this accomplishment and inspire a new generation of passionate supporters to help us deliver more impact to more people.”
Buying Fair Trade Certified products and ingredients like tea, coffee, cocoa, sugar and bananas helps ensure that consumers are getting quality products, while at the same time improving lives and protecting the environment. Fair Trade USA works with 750 importers, manufacturers and brands to bring Fair Trade Certified products to over 100,000 retail locations in North America.
“Creating big impact for farmers and their families is easy,” continued Cook. “If consumers simply swap one item on their shopping list with a Fair Trade Certified item, they’ll enjoy quality products while helping others.”
2012 Fair Trade Facts and Stats:
- Fair Trade USA launched a newly-revised certification label  in January that now appears on a variety of Fair Trade Certified products.
- For the first time ever, nearly 1,000 farm workers and farmers who are not organized in cooperatives or associations are eligible for Fair Trade certification as part of Fair Trade USA’s Fair Trade for All  initiative.
- Fair Trade USA awarded two cooperatives with small grants to support capacity building programs in Peru and Colombia as part of its Co-Op Link  program.
- Coffee continues to be the leading Fair Trade Certified product : more than over 138 million pounds were imported into the United States in 2011, resulting in an unprecedented $17 million in community development premiums for coffee cooperatives in Central and South America, Africa and Asia.
- New Fair Trade Certified products in 2012 include guayusa tea, stevia-sweetened chocolate and agave. Beeswax and argan oil are now available for body care products.
- Fair Trade USA partnered with Whole Foods Market to bring an array of Fair Trade Certified fruits and vegetables to market, including peaches, watermelons, table grapes and bell peppers.
About Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and receive community development funds to empower and improve their communities. Fair Trade USA also educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farming communities with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visit www.fairtradeusa.org  for more information.