The Organic Truth: 10 Things You Should Know about the Industry
Lifestyle When certified meets organic, everyone benefits. Here's what you need to know.
Whichever organic, Fair Trade coffee you choose the subtle taste of justice comes with knowing that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified coffees were paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and earn community development premiums to empower and improve their communities. Though organic certification is not a requirement for Fair Trade certification, the two do go hand-in-hand.
Fair Trade’s rigorous environmental standards protect water resources, promote agricultural diversification, require proper waste management, restrict the use of synthetic inputs, such as fertilizers and pesticides, and ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Support for a whole industry
Through these standards the Fair Trade model supports organic farming, and then goes a step further with training for farmers and additional revenue for organic products. Many farmer organizations also invest portions of the Fair Trade premiums they receive into converting to organic farming. Fair Trade USA, the largest third-party certifier of Fair Trade goods in the U.S., recently reported that over half of all Fair Trade farmers invest the development premiums they receive through Fair Trade into organic conversion and 62 percent of Fair Trade Certified products are also certified organic.
“For consumers, people are looking to align their purchases with their values.”
“Products that are both certified organic and Fair Trade Certified show a profound commitment to environmental responsibility and ethical sourcing,” said Mary Jo Cook, Chief Impact Officer at Fair Trade USA. “For consumers, people are looking to align their purchases with their values.” The Fair Trade premiums used for community development, which in coffee are an additional 20 cents per pound, 30 cents for coffee that is also certified organic, help level the playing field. Farming coops invest their premiums from the more than 100 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified coffee beans imported into the U.S. each year into education, health care, environmental initiatives, infrastructure, training and other programs that drive dreams forward.
Create a long-term impact
Beyond coffee, Fair Trade USA also certifies tea, cocoa, sugar, spices, honey, produce, body care products, and even apparel, linens and sports equipment. These Fair Trade Certified products are produced by more than 1.5 million farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and distributed in the U.S. through more than 60,000 retail outlets across the country. Pedro Hu Ortega, a farmer from the Asociacion Chajulense Val Vaq Quyol cooperative in Guatemala, which produces Fair Trade and organic coffee and honey, expresses it this way, “With Fair Trade premiums, we have more possibilities to improve our lives and create more opportunities for our children.”
At the end of the day it’s all about this impact—it’s about quality products that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable for us, the earth and for the farmers that work so hard to bring delicious products to our tables; Fair Trade and organic work hand-in-hand towards making this a reality.