Fair Trade USA is extending the benefits of Fair Trade to more hard-working farmers around the world. For the first time ever, Fair Trade standards will be applied to farm workers on estates and to small farmers who are not organized into cooperatives in coffee. Other categories innovations will follow.
In many categories, such as produce, tea, flowers, rice and cotton, Fair Trade standards already go beyond cooperatives to include farm workers and/or unassociated small farmers. Fair Trade USA is leveraging that knowledge to adapt, update and apply Fair Trade standards in a more consistent and just way for more producer groups in more categories.
Our goal is simple – to provide more impact for more people, while ensuring that cooperatives, who have been the backbone of the Fair Trade system, also benefit from these changes. We have recently launched Co-op Link, a capacity-building program that will help to strengthen Fair Trade cooperatives. Co-op Link builds upon our history of producer support. With our partners, Fair Trade USA has invested $7.4 million in cooperatives since 2006. And in 2011 alone, we have secured almost $2 million in financing and technical assistance for these farming communities.
Over the next two years, we will implement 10 – 20 pilots for both estates and unassociated producers, ensuring that we expand the benefits of Fair Trade in socially responsible and economically sustainable ways that strengthen entire farming communities. We will use both a stakeholder consultation process and the learnings from these pilots to help us improve upon the pilot standards, ensuring the final standard is rigorous and transparent. Learn more about the first coffee pilot, which extends Fair Trade standards to farm workers, on an estate in Brazil.