Fair Trade USA®, has received a grant from the Walmart Foundation to strengthen support for producer-led community development projects along fair trade supply chains. The $1.4 million grant, which runs through 2022, will enable the organization to develop a more data-driven, standardized needs assessment process and deploy tools for farmers and workers to implement impactful projects in their communities, projects which are expected to become more critical than ever during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fair Trade USA’s global model improves livelihoods in producer communities in 49 countries through its rigorous standards and third-party evaluation and certification. For every Fair Trade Certified™ product sold, producers earn additional money that is earmarked for a Community Development Fund in their community. These funds empower workers to invest in democratically-selected projects that meet their unique social, environmental, and economic needs at a local level. Last year alone, fair trade workers earned approximately $60 million from these funds to invest in projects to meet community needs, such as constructing health clinics and providing families with low-interest microloans to finance their harvest.
Over the 30-month grant period, Fair Trade USA will develop and deploy a new needs assessment process and producer toolkit that will be piloted in Mexico and Colombia, key origin countries for produce and coffee crops. A component of the work will include the development of an online hub, which will give more information on the supply chain and deliver impact data from producer communities available to the public.
“This grant will help Fair Trade USA provide greater value to producers around the world through more efficient disbursement and investment of Community Development Funds” said Gavin Bailey, Program Officer at the Walmart Foundation. “Through its role in global supply chains, Fair Trade USA can provide increased value for farmers and workers as well as actionable data and insights around community outcomes for a diverse group of industry and nonprofit stakeholders.”
“Through the development and evaluation of the new tools outlined in the grant our team will be better equipped to help producer communities meet basic needs. Community development funds are becoming even more critical as a result of the pandemic to fund products like access to clean water, education, health care, and low-interest loans,” said Fair Trade USA CEO & Founder, Paul Rice. “We’re proud as a grantee of the Walmart Foundation to drive meaningful impact in producers’ lives and increase the value we deliver to stakeholders and consumers seeking increased transparency.”
As a non-profit social enterprise, Fair Trade USA leverages philanthropic support from foundations, corporations, and individuals to innovate and enhance its global model to drive greater impact to farmers, workers, and fishers around the world.