introduction, allowing TransFair USA
to expand its product offerings to include anything that FLO certifies at
the production level.
Rising Consumer Awareness
In 2009, global research firm
Globescan reported that just 29 percent of American consumers were familiar with fair trade. Yet in the same
year, American consumers purchased
more than $1.2 billion in Fair Trade
Certified products, according to FLO.
While it sounds impressive, fair trade
retail sales still only represent a fraction of the overall food and beverage
sales in the United States.
To spread the word about fair trade
and grow the movement, the “Fair
Trade Towns USA” campaign began
in 2007. This grassroots movement to
mobilize local communities takes the
credo of “think globally, act locally” to
By connecting community groups
that support fair trade, publicizing retailers that offer fair trade products,
promoting public discussion of fair
trade and working with local government, members of Fair Trade Towns
campaigns have helped spread the
word about fair trade across the nation. The towns increase awareness
and ensure that fair trade products
are available through local retailers.
“Fair trade is like an international
farmers market, and now our citizens
have the ability to affect social change
by becoming conscientious consumers,” offers Tom Barrett, Mayor of
the City of Milwaukee, WI, an official
Fair Trade Town.
During 2009, the movement
grew from nine to 18 declared Fair
Trade Towns and more than 40 active
campaigns. To learn more, visit
Beyond the Farm
After a decade of improving work-
ing conditions on farms, TransFair
USA moved the fight into factories for
the first time with Fair Trade Certified cotton clothing and bed and
bath products. TransFair USA sought public comment on its new draft
factory standard, which will extend the social, economic and environ-
mental protections found on fair trade farms to protect garment
workers. The first Fair Trade Certified Apparel products are now avail-
able online through Hae Now and Tompkins Point Apparel with more
products anticipated in Fall 2010.
October Is Fair Trade Month!
The theme of this year’s Fair Trade Month is “Every Purchase
Matters.” This slogan is a reminder that when consumers buy a fair
trade product, they use the power of the dollar to make a difference
in the world. Through their purchases, consumers create demand for
fair trade products, which allows farmers and workers to continue to
produce and sell products under fair, sustainable conditions. Through
publicity efforts like Fair Trade Month, this demand can expand and
bring greater benefits to producers across the globe. o
Stacy Geagan Wagner is the director of media & PR at TransFair
USA ( www.transfairusa.org) and is responsible for spreading the
word about fair trade to U.S. consumers and helping farmers and
farm workers lift themselves out of poverty through the everyday
shopping decisions of American consumers. Connect with her at
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