Fair Trade USA



Fair Trade Certified products are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated and who care for the earth. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities and the planet. We're a nonprofit, but we don't do charity. Instead, we work with disadvantaged communities to use the free market to their advantage. With Fair Trade USA, the money you spend on day-to-day goods can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.
It all started with a one-way ticket to Nicaragua. That, and coffee. The summer of 1983 was the start of an 11-year stay in Nicaragua for Paul Rice, who would later become founder of Fair Trade USA. The year that started it all, he recruited 24 coffee farmers to agree to sell their coffee on fair trade terms. After the first harvest, farmers received a dramatically higher income, enabling them to invest in homes, electricity, and running water—things they had previously been unable to afford. The next year, even more coffee farmers joined. And the next, until that group had grown to include more than 3,000 families, and Paul returned to the United States to launch Fair Trade USA in 1998. We were a small but mighty group, working in partnership with a handful of rural farmers and a few mission-driven coffee companies who  believed the fair trade movement would become part of a much larger shift toward conscious consumerism. Today, fair trade has grown into a leading market-based model of sustainable production, trade, and consumption. The success of core products like coffee has attracted pioneering brands and retailers in other industries including apparel, home goods, fisheries, and more. Together, we are innovating the fair trade model and creating impact for farmers, workers, and fishermen worldwide.

Mission Statement

Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. Fair Trade USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, fishermen, consumers, industry, and the earth. We achieve our mission by certifying and promoting fair trade products.
Fair Trade USA's trusted Fair Trade Certified™ seal signifies that a product 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. Fair Trade USA is recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation, and Ashoka.

Program Details

We believe economic empowerment and sustainable livelihoods are the basis for a market that works for everyone. Fair Trade USA's model works by certifying and promoting fair trade products. When you see a product with the Fair Trade Certified seal, you can be sure it was made according to rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards. We work closely on the ground with producers and certify transactions between companies and their suppliers to ensure that the people making Fair Trade Certified goods work in safe conditions, protect the environment, build sustainable livelihoods, and earn additional money to empower and uplift their communities. We currently certify agricultural, seafood, and apparel and home goods products from around the globe.
All businesses that work with us are held to rigorous fair trade standards, which drive income sustainability, community and individual well-being, empowerment, and environmental stewardship.
For every Fair Trade Certified product sold, the producer earns an additional amount of money that goes into a Community Development Fund at origin. From there, a committee of farmers or workers decides together how to spend their funds to improve their lives and meet their unique social, economic, and environmental needs.
By putting our seal on goods made responsibly, fairly, and sustainably, we make it easier for people to choose products that align with their values. By helping manufacturers and brands source Fair Trade Certified products and materials, we’re helping improve traceability and credibility for businesses, and helping create shared value for everyone who cares about shopping ethically.
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1901 Harrison Street, Suite 1700
Oakland, CA 94612
United States
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