Fair Trade


Every year, millions of people around the world cross the threshold into below-subsistence poverty. The majority are families in rural farming communities, many of whom are producing the raw goods for everything from the cup of coffee with which you start the day to the uniform you wear to work. The “fair trade movement” is a social one aimed toward securing better wages and business conditions for farmers in developing countries while also encouraging sustainable growing practices.

There are hundreds of Fair Trade certified products available to consumers, including coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, fresh fruit, apparel, bags, and more. Such certified products provide assurances to consumers that the producers have been paid fair prices for their products and labor. The Fair Trade network gives the producers more direct market access, eliminating many of the middlemen that traditionally have absorbed the majority of the profits. In addition, Fair Trade certification means that strict standards and goals have been met regarding environmental protection, economic sustainability, the empowerment of women, and the growth of educational, economic, and healthcare opportunities.

Fair Trade items at the University of Redlands
Fair Trade items at the University of Redlands

What Bon Appétit is doing

  • Coffee: By the end of 2021, all of our coffee-bean purchases will come either from a third-party-certified/-verified source or from vendors enrolled in our Farm to Fork local-sourcing program. We’ll accept Fair Trade, Certified Organic, Rainforest Alliance, Bird Friendly, and Coffee and Farmer Equity/CAFE. And we’re engaging with our Farm to Fork coffee roasters — which supply more than half of our coffee — to better understand their supply chains and sourcing practices in order to update current requirements.
  • Fair Trade Tea: Bon Appétit is proud to be the first food service provider to make a commitment to Fair Trade tea. On October 1, 2015, in honor of Fair Trade Month, we announced we were switching all the tea* we serve our guests — including single-serve brewed and bulk-brewed (hot and cold) — to Fair Trade Certified tea. We have selected Numi® Tea as our preferred supplier of Fair Trade brewed tea. In locations where bottled and/or canned teas are sold, our cafés will also offer Honest Tea® as a Fair Trade Certified option.** Accounts will have one year to make these changes.
  • Chocolate bars, bananas, and coffee: All year round, various Bon Appétit cafés around the country — from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, to St. Olaf College in Minnesota and TASTE at the Seattle Art Museum — offer Fair Trade items for our guests. We are proud to support local roasters of Fair Trade Certified, shade-grown and/or organic beans through our Farm to Fork program. Fair Trade Certified coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company and chocolate from TCHO Chocolate, as well as fair trade movement products such as sugar from Equal Exchange Sugar, are some of the many items we are proud to support.
  • A Fair Trade student employee uniform
    A Fair Trade student employee uniform

    Fair Trade uniforms: We launched a pilot program to supply Fair Trade Certified shirts made from 100% Certified Organic cotton to student employees in several of our university cafés. Managers can choose Fair Trade shirts in a variety of colors, and with a slogan that reads, “Organic, Fair Trade…This Uniform is Ethically Delicious!”

  • Fair Trade Colleges and Universities: In 2008 Fair Trade USA launched Fair Trade Colleges and Universities to further the efforts of fair trade movement advocates on campuses across the nation. (Watch video.) Becoming a Fair Trade College or University entails the institutional adoption of fair trade principles and practices and their integration into the social and intellectual fabric of their academic communities. Bon Appétit works at a number of different campuses across the country on fair trade campaigns (including Colorado College and University of the Pacific). At these campuses, we source at least two Fair Trade products in our cafés as well as provide educational opportunities for our guests to learn more about the fair trade movement.

Learn more


*The only exceptions to this policy are where it conflicts with requirements from our nationally branded concept partners, and the tea we source through enrolled Farm to Fork vendors.

**Our Pepsi®-exclusive units may offer Honest Tea only if their agreement allows for it.