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    Sam's Club Converts Private Label Coffee to Fair Trade Certified

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Following in the footsteps of coffee retailers such as Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, warehouse retailer Sam's Club here said yesterday it's converting its in-house ground coffee to Fair Trade Certified. To mark the beginning of Fair Trade Month (October), the Members Mark Premium Ground ($6.88 for 39 ounces), is now available in all 586 Sam's Clubs.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Following in the footsteps of coffee retailers such as Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, warehouse retailer Sam's Club here said yesterday it's converting its in-house ground coffee to Fair Trade Certified. To mark the beginning of Fair Trade Month (October), the Members Mark Premium Ground ($6.88 for 39 ounces), is now available in all 586 Sam's Clubs.

    Fair Trade Certified means that small-scale family farmers are paid a guaranteed, minimum price for their harvest. In exchange, farmers must meet international standards on labor and environmental practices.

    "We are offering an exceptional value, high-quality coffee, and are hoping to introduce this sustainable product to our members who prefer ground to whole bean and who have not tried our gourmet Fair Trade Certified and USDA Organic coffees," said Sam's Club e.v.p. of merchandising, Greg Spragg, in a statement. "This is such a win-win-win that converting our large 39-ounce ground coffee to Fair Trade Certified was a no-brainer."

    Member's Mark Premium Ground is small-batch roasted by Cafe Bom Dia, one of Brazil's leading coffee companies and the producers of the gourmet Member's Mark by Marques de Paiva Fair Trade Certified, USDA Organic, and Rainforest Alliance coffees.

    Fair Trade Month was launched yesterday by TransFair USA, the U.S. certifying agency for Fair Trade Certified products, together with retailers, product licensees, and grass-roots coalitions across the United States.

    The Fair Trade Month awareness-building campaign aims to boost recognition of the Fair Trade Certified label via marketing, in-store promotions, and special events, all designed to help shoppers better understand and more effectively support Fair Trade.

    "By dedicating an entire month to promoting Fair Trade Certified products, our efforts help increase product sales, which benefits retailers, companies with licensed products, and, most importantly, more than 1.4 million farmers and farm workers in developing countries around the world," said TrainsFair president and c.e.o. Paul Rice. "This is a great example of how our individual purchasing power can empower farmers in the developing world and is yet another illustration of Fair Trade Certified as the global farmers' market."

    Among the highlights of Fair Trade Month promotional activities are:

    --A Fair Trade video contest and sweepstakes, with an award presented to one talented consumer and guest to travel to Peru to meet Fair Trade farmers

    --A multiday Fair Trade Certified beverage giveaway in high-traffic commuter hubs

    --An online promotion at www.connectwithfairtrade.org, where consumers can find information on Fair Trade, as well as recipes and interactive activities

    --A multicity Fair Trade farmer tour

    "We are delighted that Sam's Club is taking a leadership role by establishing their own Members' Mark brand coffee as Fair Trade Certified," noted Rice. "Sam's Club's significant commitment to Fair Trade shows that you can give consumers a great product while still paying farmers a fair wage and taking care of the environment."

    TransFair USA, the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade Certified products in the United States, audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies offering Fair Trade Certified products and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages. The organization certifies coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, sugar, vanilla, rice, bananas, and flowers.

    Sam's Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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