Fair Trade USA Highlights Produce Category Growth & Market Support at PMA Fresh Summit 2019
Submitted by Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA®, the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America, reports significant growth in its produce category, evidenced by a 30 percent increase in produce sales volume in 2018. The growing fair trade produce program will be showcased at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Conference & Expo (booth #2511), October 17–19, 2019.
Growth in the produce category included the introduction of eight new Fair Trade Certified™ products, half of which are from farms in the United States. Joining the already 60+ certified products, newly-certified fruits and vegetables include:
Lemons and limes (Mexico)
Brussels sprouts (USA)
Blueberries (USA, Canada)
Growing Impact through Community Development Funds
As a result of Fair Trade Certified sales in 2018, produce farmers and workers earned nearly 8 million in Community Development Funds, providing significant funding to farmers, workers, and their communities in 12 countries. Premiums paid by businesses for every Fair Trade Certified sale go directly into a Community Development Fund to support democratically-chosen projects in areas such as infrastructure development, productivity, education, health, and safety.
“It’s not just issues on the farm, there are structural deficiencies in Baja,” said John Erb, VP of Social and Environmental Impact at Driscoll’s. “Bringing that extra [fair trade] premium to workers to help address some of those community issues is more than we could do from just implementing our own standards on the ranches.”
Producer Support Workshops
To support newly-certified producers, deep-dive into certification criteria, and build tools for workplace challenges, as well as explore practical uses of the community development fund, Fair Trade USA’s producer services team held a series of four regional workshops in Latin America. Now in its fourth year, more than 200 producers from nine countries (Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and the US) participated in this program and were able to build community and share experiences with other fair trade producers. Two regional workshops were also held for Fair Trade Committees to share challenges and successes around community needs assessments and community development projects.
Certification Support Across the Supply Chain
Fair Trade USA works with brands and retailers of all sizes to support growers and farmworkers throughout the world through compliance with social, economic, environmental, and safety standards. The fair trade certification provides a framework through the application of the Agricultural Production Standard that helps farms meet and exceed the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh’s Ethical Charter. Its field operations team is well prepared to help brands, growers, and producers operationalize the Ethical Charter while working toward fair trade certification, which is the most widely recognized social responsibility seal by consumers in the US market at 63 percent consumer recognition.
“We continue to be encouraged by the brands and retailers that are dramatically increasing their support for farmworkers through fair trade certification,” said Nathalie Marin-Gest, Head of Fresh Goods at Fair Trade USA. “They have realized that it’s more than just a CSR move, it's an important investment in their infrastructure and supply chains, further supporting farms in their efforts to retain and attract employees.”
Meetings at Fresh Summit 2019
Representatives from Fair Trade USA are available for meetings at the PMA Fresh Summit. Visit booth #2511 or reach out to Nancy Walker to schedule a meeting.
Fair Trade USA (previously TransFair 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 uplift their communities. Fair Trade USA 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 http://www.fairtradeusa.org for more information.
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