Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

First Ever Fair Trade Trends Report Released In Honor Of World Fair Trade Day, May 4
APRIL 30, 2002

Washington, DC - The Fair Trade industry in North America is growing, according to the Fair Trade Federation's newly released trends report 2002 Report on Fair Trade Trends in the U.S. and Canada. In the year 2000, gross sales by the Fair Trade Federation members included in the survey topped US $41 million, indicating an estimated growth of over 20 percent compared to 1999 totals. Total fair trade gross sales in the U.S. and Canada, including all fair trade certified products, totaled nearly $100 million.

Highlighting substantial growth in domestic import, sales, and employment, the report is good news for citizen groups concerned about worker mistreatment and corporate-led growth abroad. The report's findings indicate growing consumer demand for goods that do not sacrifice social responsibility ethics or sustainable development in the global market.

"This first ever report offers a snapshot of the Fair Trade industry's recent accomplishments and demonstrates the enormous potential for continued growth in commodities markets in particular," said Chris O'Brien, author of the report and project manager for Co-op America’s Green Business Network™, publisher of the report.

Additional findings of the Fair Trade Federation's 2002 Report on Fair Trade Trends in the U.S. and Canada include:

In the U.S., certified Fair Trade coffee imports grew more than 50 percent from 4.3 million pounds in 2000 to 6.7 million pounds in 2001. Trends in the Fair Trade industry indicate major market potential for further growth -- parallel to trends in organic and hemp products, renewable energy, and socially responsible investing. With fairly traded coffee originating from countries all over the world, the movement has an increased potential for growth in areas where the majority of coffee farmers till live in poverty from low pay and equity.

Almost half of companies (48 percent) marketed in both wholesale and retail markets.
From 1999 to 2000, employment in the industry grew on average by 1.7 workers per Fair Trade company, increasing average company size to 8.1. Total employment by Fair Trade companies grew by 161 workers to a total of 737, a jump of 27 percent.
In the highly competitive retail coffee market, Fair Trade coffee commanded $64.4 million of the total retail coffee market, a small but growing percentage of the total market share.

Coffee, crafts, clothing, housewares, and a wide variety of other products made by workers in developing countries compose the range of Fair Trade products, which are screened to ensure fair wages, cooperative workplaces, consumer education, environmental sustainability, financial and technical support, respect for cultural identity and public accountability. By adhering to social criteria and environmental principles, Fair Trade organizations foster a more equitable and sustainable system of production and trade that benefits people and their communities.

The Fair Trade Trends Report is being released in honor of this year's World Fair Trade Day on May 4th. World Fair Trade Day raises awareness about fair trade to consumers and businesses and teaches them to make choices that help build sustainable livelihoods for workers abroad.

In addition to the Fair Trade Trends Report, this year's World Fair Trade day is also marked with a new edition of "Conscious Consumer," a booklet about the Fair Trade movement and how to get involved. Other resources include Co-op America's "Guide to Ending Sweatshops" and Co-op America's Web site at

Here are is what people can do in honor of World Fair Trade Day:
Buy Fair Trade. Purchase a pound of Fair Trade coffee or another Fair Trade product from your local store or café (see and for a list of Fair Trade retail shops. See for a list of stores and websites which sell Fair Trade coffee). Take the Fair Trade challenge by pledging to buy at least 5% of your purchases from Fair Trade sources.

Educate consumers in your community. Join other volunteers in your area to staff a table at a supermarket or café that carries Fair Trade coffee. Contact for promotional materials and for more information and support for linking with Fair Trade coffee roasters and retailers to do in store Fair Trade promotions and coffee tastings.

Ask your local cafés, restaurants and stores to carry Fair Trade products. Organize a small caravan with your friends on May 4th to visit local stores and cafes and ask store managers to carry Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea.

Participate in local events on May 4. For information about events happening at Fair Trade stores in the US and around the world see, and

Educate yourself. To learn more about Fair Trade in North America, order the Conscious Consumer on line from

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By Erica Anstey

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