Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), Waterbury, Vt., donated a $50,000 grant and its independently run Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation promised a three-year commitment of $925,000 to TransFair USA, Oakland, Calif., to grow the Fair Trade movement and establish hundreds of Fair Trade Towns across the United States by 2013. TransFair is a third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States.

The Fair Trade Towns USA program aims to raise consumer awareness, grow the availability of Fair Trade products and drive sales to help its network of farmers. Thirteen U.S. municipalities have been recognized as Fair Trade Towns and active campaigns to promote the status are taking place in 30 additional towns. The specific criteria to be officially recognized as a Fair Trade Town includes showcasing Fair Trade products available in local stores, an active citizen support network, business engagement and local government support.

GMCR’s funding will allow the U.S. program to develop online collaboration and organizing efforts, create educational outreach materials and events, train leaders and offer a grants program to support local organizing efforts.

“For many years, GMCR has supported the Fair Trade movement because we believe that our highest quality coffees come from coffee-growing communities with a healthy quality of life,” said Bob Stiller, founder and chairman of GMCR and president of the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation. “By choosing Fair Trade coffee – and now 72 other Fair Trade products – consumers can help support sustainable development and community empowerment for farming and artisan communities around the globe. We believe Fair Trade Towns USA can be an effective model for educating consumers on how easy it is to make a positive difference in the world through the products we purchase.”

The Fair Trade Towns USA program unites the Fair Trade Federation, a North American trade association of organizations committed to Fair Trade, and the Fair Trade Resource Network, which gathers, develops and disseminates educational resources to people and organizations interested in the movement.
For more on Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, read the Beverage Industry cover story on the company, "Green Mountain Coffee Roasters gives a one-two punch."