Ethics-driven consumerism on rise: Fair Trade imports surged last year

More ethics-minded consumers are buying goods displaying the Fair Trade certification, according to a new report.

More ethics-minded consumers are buying goods displaying the Fair Trade certification, according to an annual report by TransFair, which is one of the third-party organizations that certifies products with the Fair Trade label.

Fair Trade is a label that designates that importers and retailers support the payment of fair prices and fair wages to farmers or goods producers in developing economies. The label was established to distinguish businesses that were complying with certain social, economic and environmental standards. Some big name companies, including Green Mountain Coffee and Ben & Jerry's, are associated with the movement. Probably the most popular Fair Trade good is coffee.

Last year, TransFair reports it certified more than 100 million pounds of coffee, which was an increase of more than 20 million pounds compared with 2008. Imports for another Fair Trade product, wine, jumped 460 percent year-over-year, according to the organization. The only category to dip was cocoa. The whole report is found in the organization's annual almanac.

There are now more than 6,000 Fair Trade certified products in the United States; 259 per added in the past year. This revelation is all the more noteworthy considering the lingering recession: Despite an erosion overall in consumer confidence, at least SOME people are willing to switch their purchases to products and goods that they consider to be smarter for the world at large.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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