Fair Trade History
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Fair Trade Timeline
Contributed by the Fair Trade Resource Network (www.ftrn.org)

1946 Edna Ruth Byler imports needlecrafts from low-income women in Puerto Rico, and displaced in Europe, laying the groundwork for Ten Thousand Villages, North America’s first fair trade organization
1948 Church of the Brethren establishes SERRV, North America’s second fair trade organization, to import wooden clocks from German refugees of WWII
1968 United Nations Conference on Aid and Development (UNCTAD) embraces “Trade not Aid” concept, bringing fair trade into development policy
1969 Oxfam and other European humanitarian organizations open the first World Shop in the Netherlands to sell crafts, build awareness and campaign for trade reform
1972 Ten Thousand Villages opens their store, the first fair trade retail outlet in North America
1986 Equal Exchange is established as the first fair trade cooperative in North America, importing coffee from Nicaragua as a way to make a political statement with a high-quality, household item
1988 Farmers and activists launch the first fair trade certification system, Max Havelaar, in the Netherlands to offer third-party recognition and a label for fair trade products
1989 International Fair Trade Association (IFTA), now WFTO, is established by fair trade pioneers as the first global fair trade network
1994 Fair Trade Federation is formed as the first network of fair trade organizations in North America
1997 Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) is formed
1999 TransFair USA begins certifying fair trade coffee using the TransFair USA label
2002 FLO launches the international “FairTrade” certification mark
2004 Producers form national and regional fair trade associations across Asia, Latin America and Africa
2006 The Institute for Marketecology (IMO) begins their “Fair for Life” certification program
2007 Fair trade retail sales top $1 billion in the U.S. And $2.5 billion worldwide
2010 Organic Consumers Association (OCA) launches Fair World Project, the first fair trade consumer organization, to promote and protect the integrity of the fair trade movement