TIMELINE

1946Edna 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.
1948Church of the Brethren establishes SERRV, North America’s second fair trade organization, to import wooden clocks from German refugees of WWII.
1968United Nations Conference on Aid and Development (UNCTAD) embraces “Trade not Aid” concept, bringing fair trade into development policy.
1969Oxfam and other European humanitarian organizations open the first World Shop in the Netherlands to sell crafts, build awareness and campaign for trade reform.
1972Ten Thousand Villages opens their store, the first fair trade retail outlet in North America.
1986Equal 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.
1989International Fair Trade Association (IFTA), now WFTO, is established by fair trade pioneers as the first global fair trade network.
1994Fair Trade Federation is formed as the first network of fair trade organizations in North America.
1997Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) is formed.
1999TransFair USA begins certifying fair trade coffee using the TransFair USA label.
2002FLO launches the international “FairTrade” certification mark.
2002First World Fair Trade Day celebrated.
2004Producers form national and regional fair trade associations across Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
2006The Institute for Marketecology (IMO) begins their “Fair for Life” certification program.
2007Fair trade retail sales top $1 billion in the U.S. and $2.5 billion worldwide.
2009Worldwide, fair trade retail sales top $4.7 billion.
2010Organic Consumers Association (OCA) launches Fair World Project, the first fair trade consumer organization, to promote and protect the integrity of the fair trade movement.
2013WFTO launches their “WFTO Guaranteed” system, providing a peer-review based alternative certification.
2015The first farmer-led fair trade certification begins appearing on packaging. The Small Producers Symbol (SPP) is built by small-scale farmers and is only available to dedicated fair trade companies.