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Green Mountain Coffee Recognized as Largest Purchaser of Fair Trade Coffee in World

In 2010, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) purchased over 26 million pounds of “Fair Trade Certified” coffee,  making the company the largest purchaser of any Fair Trade products in the world. Around 25-35% of the company’s total coffee purchases in 2010 were Fair Trade, while 32% were in 2009. In prior years, Starbucks had been the largest purchaser of Fair Trade coffee, with around 1-3% of its annual coffee purchases as Fair Trade.Since coffee represents the majority of retail sales of Fair Trade products each year, and “Fair Trade Certified” (administered by Fairtrade International globally and Fair Trade USA in the US) represents around 90% of retail sales of all Fair Trade certifications, GMCR would be the largest purchaser of any Fair Trade product under the various Fair Trade recognition systems. In the roughly ten years that GMCR has purchased Fair Trade coffee, such purchases have generated $9.8 million in additional Fair Trade premiums to coffee farmer organizations.

More at FTUSA press release.


  1. Gwen

    How does Ten Thousand Villages or Level Ground compare in the world of Fair Trade with regards to how much they purchase?

  2. Good questions from Gwen. Ten Thousand Villages USA public annual report states that the company purchased $7.2 million in 2011. Ten Thousand Villages Canada purchased around $6 million.

    Level Ground offers lots of data on its website. If I’m calculating correctly, its purchases in 2010 total around $1.5 million. Note that some of that total is on certified Fair Trade terms, while other parts may be on direct trade (uncertified).

    So, both organizations totals are well below the purchase volume of Green Mountain, estimated around $78 million or so (26 million pounds x $3/pound) in purchases. [editor note: estimated price was errantly using $1.35/pound in original post, but now corrected to around $3/pound].

    If enough companies, or certifiers, were transparent and clear enough, we could accurately list all the purchase amounts from big companies involved in Fair Trade.

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