Founded in 1998 by the Institute for Agricultural Trade Policy (IATP), Fair Trade USA is an independent, nonprofit organization that sets standards, certifies, and labels products that promote sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers and protect the environment. Its mission is to "enable sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth".
The fair trade model requires rigorous protection of local ecosystems and ensures farmers work in safe conditions and receive a harvest price. In addition, annual inspections conducted by independent auditors like FLO-CERT and SCS Global Services ensure that strict socioeconomic development criteria are being met, in addition to sustainable farm management, environmental stewardship and democratic decision-making. The fair trade model seeks to empower farmers and workers around the world, keeping families, local economies, the natural environment, and the larger community strong today and for generations to come.
Fair Trade USA partners with over 800 brands, as well as 1.3 million farmers and workers in over 70 countries worldwide. Fair trade Certified products encompass many different commodities including coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, spices, honey, produce, grains, wine and spirits, flowers, apparel and home goods, and body care. These commodities differ in location and types of labor used.