OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This October, conscious consumers and ethically-minded brands will unite to celebrate the eighth annual Fair Trade Month in the United States. The month will be marked by education events, in-store sampling programs and online initiatives designed to increase awareness and sales of Fair Trade Certified products, ultimately leading to greater impact for farmers and workers in developing countries. The theme for the national awareness effort is Every Purchase Matters.
Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, is helping consumers make their purchases matter with the launch of a new, first-of-its-kind social media tool. A recent Omnibus survey revealed that finding Fair Trade Certified™ products is a major barrier to purchase for consumers(1), with two-thirds (62%) of consumers surveyed saying they would purchase Fair Trade products more often if they knew where to find them. In the same survey, more than half (53%) of consumers said they would use new media (mobile and smartphone apps; social networks) to locate products.
Addressing the barriers to purchase and helping consumers find Fair Trade Certified products, the "Fair Trade Finder" Facebook and mobile application for iPhone and Android allows consumers to find out where they can buy Fair Trade Certified products based on their location.
"In the U.S. alone, consumers can choose from more than 10,000 Fair Trade Certified™ products sourced from 58 countries – everything from coffee, chocolate and tea to bananas, clothing, and sports balls," said Paul Rice, president and CEO of Fair Trade USA. "Our new Fair Trade Finder will be a game-changer in helping people discover these products in their own backyards during, and long past, Fair Trade Month."
The easy-to-use application is the first fully user-generated, national directory of Fair Trade Certified products and their purchase locations. Brands and retailers can upload information on the availability and location of their Fair Trade products, and users can contribute to the app by tagging coffee, wine, chocolate or any of the other Fair Trade products around them for others to search and find. The app also features the ability for users to add photos and comments related to the products they find.
"Fair Trade is about small changes you can make as a consumer to ensure that the farmers and workers who produce the food we eat every day are treated fairly and paid fairly for all their hard work," said Barton Seaver, whose first book, For Cod and Country, is the ethical-chef's guide to simple, delicious, sustainable cooking. "I'm involved with Fair Trade Month because I want to show consumers that easy changes can have a big impact."
Fair Trade USA's Fair Trade Month campaign and Fair Trade Finder application were made possible by generous contributions from Green Mountain Coffee, Ben & Jerry's, Green & Black's, Honest Tea, Seattle's Best, Traditional Medicinals and Wholesome Sweeteners.
(1) The 2011 Fair Trade Finder Survey presents the findings of an online survey conducted August 15-17, 2011 by ORC International among a sample of 1,043 adults comprising 511 men and 532 women 18 years of age and older. The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is +/-3%.
About the Fair Trade Finder Application
Fair Trade Month: News Roundup
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, has been named the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world for 2010 by Fair Trade USA. In calendar year 2010, GMCR purchased over 26 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee. GMCR has actively supported fair trade since 2000, when it first partnered with Fair Trade USA and committed to bring fair trade coffee to mainstream coffee drinkers. Through its family of specialty coffee brands, GMCR makes fair trade coffee available through specialty and mass retailers, grocery, club and convenience stores, offices, quick-serve restaurants, and online. The Green Mountain Coffee® brand offers the largest selection of Fair Trade Certified coffees in the United States.
- In 1994 Green & Black's Maya Gold bar became the first Fair Trade Certified product in the UK. Today the company's entire line of Organic chocolate bars carries the Fair Trade Certified label. Green & Black's relationship with cocoa-producing communities in the Dominican Republic and Belize has helped farming families improve the quality of their lives, with improved financial security and better access to education. Green & Black's recently introduced its Classic Collection, a combination of 12 miniature bars featuring six flavors: Milk, Toffee, Almond, Dark 70%, Ginger and Cherry.
- Seattle's Best Coffee launched its simplified packaged coffee line – The Level System – earlier this year. With the new Level System, consumers are able to easily find and choose from a selection of Seattle's Best Coffee® blends that span the entire range of coffee enjoyment, from a bright, crisp Level 1 to a bold and intense Level 5. In select retailers, consumers can choose a Level 4 Fair Trade Certified blend. Level 4 is a rich, elegant and complex blend with a chocolatey, nutty aroma.
- Traditional Medicinals® now has 14 Fair Trade Certified™ items that are sold in more than 15,000 retail locations. Last year the company introduced Fair Trade Certified™ Heartburn Soother® and this year Fair Trade Certified™ Heart Tea with Hawthorn.
- Sales of Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Certified sugars and honeys in the United States have generated more than $4,000,000 in community development premiums to support farming cooperatives in Malawi, Paraguay, Brazil and Mexico.
About Fair Trade USA
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 farmers with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visit http://www.fairtradeusa.org for more information.
CONTACT: Katie Barrow, +1-415-420-2235
SOURCE Fair Trade USA