Fair Trade USA

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Fair Trade USA (changed its name from TransFair USA in 2010) is an independent, non profit fair trade certification organization, that certifies and promotes coffee, cocoa, banana's, and other fresh fruits. It was affiliated with the international fair trade umbrella organization, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) until 2011. On this split Gavin Fridell writes:

"TransFair USA has long butted heads with FLO and other fair trade groups over the standards and direction of fair trade and in particular its relationship to corporations. While FLO has adopted a more cautious and gradual approach to the mainstreaming of fair trade and the expansion of corporate involvement, TransFair USA has dove in head first, enthusiastically currying favour with giant corporations and insisting that fair traders accept changes in their standards to meet the demands of new corporate partners. With this split, TransFair USA has renamed itself “Fair Trade USA” and seeks to move beyond the U.S. market and become a global certification body, essentially converting itself into a corporate-friendly alternative to traditional fair trade certification." [1]

Within the fair trade movement a ccentral debate is how certification can effectively drive substantial change without allowing major corporations to use certification on a small range of products to greenwash the entire company.

Writing in Wedge Co-Op Newsletter Rodney North argues that "some suggestions how large companies can make a convincing start" based on the example of fair trade coffee could include:

  • Convert an existing product to Fair Trade status, one that already has an established customer base.
  • Offer consumers a variety of Fair Trade choices (regular, decaf, flavored, whole bean or ground, etc.)
  • Utilize Fair Trade ingredients (such as cocoa, tea, sugar) in the corporation’s other products.
  • Most importantly, convert a significant portion of coffee imports (we recommend at least 5%) to demonstrate good faith, and steadily increase that % over time." [1]

"We also recommend that the exclusive Fair Trade certifier in the U.S., TransFair USA, do its part on this front, by raising the bar so as to preclude tokenism. Requiring a minimum conversion of at least 5% before allowing use of the Fair Trade seal would be the best first step," he suggested.


Accessed November 2011: [2]

Former Directors (2007)


Prior board members

  • Miguel Altieri, Ph.D., Professor/Author
  • Maureen Fenlon, OP, Social Investment Specialist
  • Paul Hawken, Founder of Smith and Hawken, environmentalist, best-selling author and entrepreneur
  • Susan Marx, Owner of S.T. Marx and Associates, Management Consultants

Advisory Board

Accessed November 2011: [3]

  • Julia Ormond - Actress
  • George Scharffenberger - Special Assistant for International Development Policy and Practice, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California Berkeley
  • Kim Samuel-Johnson - Director of The Samuel Group of Companies
  • Joshua Mailman - Sirius Business Corporation
  • Douglas Lind - Founder and Managing Partner of The Sigma Group of America
  • Stephen Land - Partner, Linklaters LLP
  • Tim Horan - Former Vice-president of Human Resources Latin America, Gillette Company
  • John Henry - Senior Vice-president Grower Relations and CFO of Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
  • Barbara Fiorito - Board Chair Oxfam America Advocacy Fund, 2005- ; former Board Chair of FLO International 2005-8
  • Andrew J. Ferren - Partner, Goulston & Storrs
  • Kenneth J. Beeby - Attorney (Consultant) Retired Vice-President General Council of Ocean Spray Cranberries
  • Michael E. Conroy

Advisory board members (2007)

  • Kenneth J. Beeby
  • Andrew J. Ferren
  • Debra Gerstel, Marketing and Business Development Consultant
  • Norissa Giangola, Director of New Business Partnerships for H*Works
  • John Hannan, CFO of Riverkeeper
  • John Henry
  • Tim Horan
  • Stephen Land
  • Joshua Mailman
  • Ellen Peck, Senior Officer, Director of Development for Save the Children
  • Todd Plate, Attorney and Counselor for Ruiz & Sperow, LLP
  • Catalina Ruiz-Healy, Philanthropic Advisor, New Progressive Coalition


Contact Info

TransFair USA
1611 Telegraph Ave. Suite 900
Oakland, CA 94612
E-mail:info AT transfairusa.org
Phone - 510 663 5260
Fax - 510 663 5264

External links

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International


  1. Gavin Fridell, "Corporations Occupy Fair Trade," Socialist Project, November 7, 2011.
  2. Board, Fair Trade USA, accessed November 8, 2011.
  3. Advisory Board, Fair Trade USA, accessed November 8, 2011.