A new Fair Trade Certified coffee from Brazil will be sold to Sam's Club members across the United States, according to an announcement made by Walmart, TransFair USA, SEBRAE-Minas Gerais, Brazil and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The two new Fair Trade Certified Member's Mark coffee options will be available in more than 600 Sam's Club locations in the US. These new products are part of what the company calls Responsible Sourcing Partnership Project, which links Brazilian coffee farmers with mass market coffee consumers in the United States through Fair Trade certification.
"We are excited to be expanding our offering of high quality Fair Trade Certified coffee at clubs throughout the U.S.," said Jill Turner-Mitchael, senior vice president of Merchandising at Sam's Club.
"This partnership falls in line with the company's mission of providing opportunity in communities around the world, as nearly 30,000 Brazilian producer family members are being positively impacted."
Through the Responsible Sourcing Partnership Project, Walmart says, Brazilian producers and their families receive increased employment opportunities, expanded access to new domestic and international markets, increased use of environmentally-sound production methods, and, in turn, improvements in their quality of life.
Partner cooperatives are located in the Brazilian states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Espírito Santo.
Jeffery Bell, director of USAID/Brazil, said, "USAID believes that public-private partnerships are the most effective mechanism to respond to global challenges. The Responsible Sourcing Partnership Project is a successful alliance that combines our complementary assets to promote sustainability, expand social and economic opportunities within the Brazilian coffee value chain."
The project aims to expand and improve the quality of Fair Trade Certified coffee supply through investments in infrastructure, technical assistance with production and post-harvest processing, as well as training in coffee quality management. These investments will result in increased producer capacity through organizational strengthening including financial management operations and marketing.
The partnership also raises the marketing capacity of Brazilian coffee growers to improve the reputation of Brazilian coffee, raises awareness of Fair Trade impact and empowers producers in the marketplace.
Paul Rice, TransFair USA president and CEO, said, "Sam's Club is an innovative partner in offering high-quality Fair Trade Certified coffee in a manner that both expands the marketplace and delivers value back down the supply chain to the farmer. A year from now we will be able to trace Member's Mark coffee sales directly to improved environmental management at Fair Trade coffee farms and higher quality of life in farming communities."
In 2008, imports of Fair Trade Certified coffee grew more than 30 percent. Fair Trade, according to its promoters, is a market-based approach to sustainable development, seeking to empower millions of disadvantaged producers worldwide while protecting the environment for future generations.
As state by Walmart: "Fair Trade empowers U.S. consumers to make a difference in the world simply by adjusting their shopping list. The dramatic growth of Fair Trade products proves that consumers are voting for a better world with their purchases, demanding sustainable, ethically-sourced goods."
Roberto Simões, SEBRAE Minas Gerais president, said, "The Fair Trade program is in line with the purpose of SEBRAE's activity to increase business and promote Small and Medium Enterprises with social, environmental and economic sustainability. We support entrepreneurship and cooperation, and the program matches with our intention of helping local producers access international markets."
Sam's Club also sells Fair Trade Certified bananas, dried fruit and wine, among other products.
USAID is an independent federal government agency receiving overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. In Brazil, USAID supports Brazilian efforts towards sustainable socio and economic development, while strengthening the partnership between the United States and Brazil.
Walmart, serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,000 retail units under 53 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2009 sales of US$ 401 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.1 million people worldwide.Â The company ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine's 2009 Most Admired Companies survey.
TransFair USA, a FLO member organization, is the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade Certified products in the United States. TransFair USA audits and certifies in accordance with FLO's internationally agreed standards, monitoring transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages. TransFair USA certifies coffee and more than 20 other product categories.
The Service of Support for the Micro and Small Companies of the State of Minas Gerais – SEBRAE-MG was created in 1972. Its mission is to promote the competitiveness and the sustainable development of the micro and small companies as well as to promote the entrepreneurship in the State of Minas Gerais.
It offers entrepreneurial orientation, promotes courses, lectures and projects of managerial training, encourages the formalization of, and approaches micro and small companies with the market and stimulates the generation of business. SEBRAE-MG, thus, contributes to induce the socioeconomic development of the State of Minas Gerais with the generation of revenue, work, income and better life conditions for the population.