Overview - Fairtrade in the USA

Updated June 6, 2013

The international Fairtrade system has undergone major changes since September 2011 when Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) announced its resignation from the international Fairtrade system as of 31 December 2011. The entire international Fairtrade system regrets Fair Trade USA’s decision to pursue its own approach rather than continue working within the international system. We believe that we are always stronger working together.

Fairtrade International remains dedicated to the global Fair Trade movement and sees this as an opportunity to work even more closely with stakeholders in the USA. We are committed to an international system backed by credible, internationally-agreed Fairtrade Standards and certification. We believe in the power of the globally-recognized FAIRTRADE Certification Mark. And we will work tirelessly with our partners and supporters to achieve our common vision of trade justice for farmers and workers

Please read through our information on the following pages. If you have other questions or comments or press inquiries, please send us an email questions@fairtradeamerica.org.

The Decision and its Impact

The departure of FTUSA from the international Fairtrade system is not without impacts. FTUSA and the international Fairtrade system are now fully separate, independent labeling systems with different standards and reporting systems.

For producers and exporters

Producers and exporters selling to US-based companies that are registered with the international Fairtrade system (with Fairtrade Canada or Fairtrade International) will have no changes.

For producers and exporters selling to businesses registered with FTUSA, FTUSA continues to indicate it will accept FLO-CERT certification as valid for sales into the USA market. Your FLO-CERT certification allows you to sell to businesses through both Fairtrade and FTUSA supply chains. However, for producers and exporters selling through FTUSA supply chains, FLO-CERT will not be able to ensure compliance with the Fairtrade Standard, Minimum Prices or Premium.

For more information for producers, click here.

For importers and licensees

Importers and licensees in the United States and others that conduct cross-border sales into the USA have the opportunity to use the international FAIRTRADE Mark – the world’s most recognized ethical label – on all of their products in the United States and the rest of the world. Businesses and traders just need to re-register with Fairtrade America, our new organization in United States to remain in the international system. You can also send an email to questions@fairtradeamerica.org.

For more information for businesses and traders click here.

Listening to our Stakeholders

When FTUSA first left our association, we did what we do best in the international Fairtrade system. We reached out to our stakeholders and listened to understand the full implications of the situation.

Five facilitated listening sessions were convened with key stakeholders, dedicated Fair Trade businesses, civil society actors, large businesses and more. Online over 170 organizations responded to a widely circulated survey. You can see the results of this dialogue process here (PDF).

In these meetings, many cited the importance of a multi-stakeholder system that truly respects the position of producers and all stakeholders. The dialogue and the opinions expressed demonstrated a desire for the international Fairtrade system to maintain a presence in the US market.

We now have the opportunity to forge a truly global system united in the belief of producer development and empowerment. An international Fairtrade system united under the international FAIRTRADE Mark and the internationally-recognized Fairtrade Standards.

Our Vision for Fairtrade in the USA

Create a powerful, collaborative, diverse COALITION that is united in its belief in PRODUCER DEVELOPMENT and EMPOWERMENT, and that achieves a BREAKTHROUGH in Fairtrade support and sales in the USA

In May 2012, a multi-stakeholder consultative group was established to provide guidance to Fairtrade International and our members as we work to create a new organization. The USA is the world’s largest consumer market and we’re honored to have an esteemed group of representatives to help us determine the way forward. A listing of group members can be found here (PDF).

Fairtrade America, a new organisation serving the United States was established in June 2012 to serve the needs of stakeholders there. For more information, visit www.fairtradeamerica.org.

 If you would like to sign up to remain in the international Fairtrade system, please contact questions@fairtradeamerica.org for more information.

Sign up for further information on Fairtrade in the USA

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