Monkey and Son Coffee Company-Organic Coffee Suppliers
what is fair trade?





Max Havelaar: The Certification Pioneer
In 1988, world coffee prices began a sharp descent, triggering the birth of the first Fair Trade certification initiative. It was branded "Max Havelaar," after a fictional Dutch character who opposed the exploitation of coffee pickers in Dutch colonies. The Netherland's Max Havelaar label offered mainstream coffee industry players the opportunity to adopt a standardized system of Fair Trade criteria.

In 1997, FLO, the international umbrella organization for Fair Trade labeling, brought Max Havelaar together with its counterparts in other countries. Today, TransFair USA is a member of FLO, which now has representation in 17 countries.

Alternative trade organizations: Roots of Fair Trade
The roots of Fair Trade can be traced back to projects initiated by churches in North America and Europe in the late 1940s. Their goal was to provide relief to refugees and other poverty stricken communities by selling their handicrafts to Northern markets. Compared to conventional trading structures, these Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) offered higher returns to producers in the developing world through direct trade and fair prices. In the US, ATOs such as Ten Thousand Villages and SERRV have followed this model with Fair Trade handicrafts, and in 1986, Equal Exchange was formed to import Fair Trade coffee to the US market.

TransFair brings certification to the US
Fair Trade Certified coffee is now the fastest-growing segment of the US specialty coffee market. Building on the success of Max Havelaar and ATOs, TransFair USA opened its doors in late 1998 and began certifying Fair Trade coffee in 1999. In addition to coffee, TransFair has introduced Fair Trade Certified tea and cocoa to the US market. In Europe, Fair Trade products include tea, chocolate, bananas, sugar, honey and orange juice. In four years, TransFair has leveraged limited resources to certify 38 million pounds of Fair Trade coffee. This has generated US$31 million of additional income for farmers, providing lasting benefits for their families and the earth.


Used with the permission of TransFair USA