In a press release, Walmart, TransFair USA, SEBRAE-Minas Gerais and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that a new Fair Trade Certified coffee from Brazil will be sold to Sam’s Club members across the country. The two new Fair Trade Certified Member’s Mark Private Brand coffee products will be available in more than 600 Sam’s Club nationwide. These new products are part of the Responsible Sourcing Partnership Project that 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 US,” said Jill Turner-Mitchael, senior vice president of Merchandising, 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, 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 is a market-based approach to sustainable development, seeking to empower millions of disadvantaged producers worldwide while protecting the environment for future generations. 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.”
Walmart has sold several Private Brand coffees’ that meet these criteria as part of the Sam’s Choice Private Brand. With the relaunch of Great Value and the transition of many of the Sam’s Choice products to Great Value it should be revealing to see how this new coffee is branded in the new Walmart Private Brand portfolio.