Press Releases

• August 17, 2010 - Novelle Consulting Launches New Website
• August 16, 2010 - Erich Hinrichs and John Musser Join Novelle Consulting
• August 1, 2006 - Novelle Principal Awarded Presidential Volunteer Service Award
• December 20, 2005- Sonora State, Mexico Completes Phase I of Development Plan
• April 26, 2005 - PMA Addresses Consumption, Industry Trends with Retailers, Growers in Mexico
• April 18, 2005 - Novelle Assists State of Sonora in Five Year Plan
• June 3, 2004 - BC Hot House Chairman Al Vangelos Elected Russian Farm Project's Chairman of the Board

Novelle in the media

• April 22, 2009, The Packer - Vangelos named Produce Man for All Seasons
• April 10, 2006, The Produce News - Novelle Takes on Winogrond and Obregon as Two Senior Principals
• April 6, 2006, FreshPlaza - Novelle Adds Two New Senior Principals; Obregon and Winogrond
• July, 2005, Productores de Hortalizas - Agronegocios en Sonora
• May 1, 2005, The Produce News - Symposium Shines Spotlight on Sonora Agriculture

on the move

Novelle and Food Safety in Southeast Asia
Novelle and the Gates Foundation
Novelle and the World Bank in Malaysia
Novelle in Southern Sudan
Novelle in Georgia
Novelle in Indonesia
Novelle in Egypt
Novelle in Guatemala
Novelle in Central America
Novelle Consulting in Zambia
Novelle Consulting in the Balkans
Novelle's Indonesian Assignment
Novelle in Southern Africa
Novelle in former Soviet Union
Novelle and Work in Colombia
Bananas in Bangladesh
Vegetables in Moldova
Packing Plant in Moldova
Quality Control in Moldova

white papers

Novelle Consulting and EUREPGAP
Moscow Supermarket Industry
The 5-Year Agricultural Business Development Plan for Sonora, Mexico
Marketing of Horticultural Produce in Asia-From Sonora Symposium

white paper

By: John Musser

With its origins and deep roots in Europe, the Fairtrade movement has developed since WWII into a meaningful avenue for small producers in developing countries to move toward economic self-sufficiency by playing a wider role in international trade. “Trade instead of Aid.”

In 2008, Fairtrade certified sales amounted to over $4 billion, a 22% year-to-year increase. The Fairtrade Labeling Organization estimates that over 7.5 million producers and their families benefit from Fairtrade-funded infrastructure, technical assistance, and community development projects.
Fairtrade is a  market-based approach designed to promote sustainability and help producers in developing countries by requiring payment of higher prices to producers, including  a premium for producer groups to invest in social development projects. In addition to higher prices, Fairtrade includes a variety of social and environmental standards, as well as ethical trading throughout the chain of commerce. Fairtrade focuses on exports from developing countries to developed countries for products such as coffee, bananas, mangoes and other fresh fruit, flowers, sugar, cocoa, tea, wine and other products. Fairtrade is supported by a number of international development aid, social, religious, and environmental organizations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, Caritas International, and many others.

Fairtrade imports are certified by national federations who coordinate, promote, and facilitate the work of Fairtrade organizations. The Fairtrade Labeling Organization International (FLO) was created in 1997 and is the largest and most widely recognized standard setting and certification body for Labeled Fairtrade. It regularly inspects and certifies producer organizations in over 50 countries.
Fairtrade importers are licensed by national FLO affiliates, such as TransfairUSA, via contracts detailing the ethical purchasing standards required  to use the Fairtrade label on their products.  To earn a license from TransfairUSA to use the Fairtrade certified label on their products, companies must buy from certified farms, pay Fairtrade prices, and submit to a rigorous supply chain audit, which entails a high level of transparency and traceability in their global supply chains.

In Europe, this label is used:             In the United States and Canada, the following label is used:


TransfairUSA celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2008, announcing that retail sales of Fairtrade products in the US increased 20% for the year, to an estimated $1.25 billion. 

Novelle consultant John Musser initiated the Fairtrade produce industry in the US in 2004 by introducing Fairtrade organic bananas into the market while he was CEO of Jonathan’s Organic, the first Fairtrade produce licensee in the US. Subsequently Mr. Musser has developed Fairtrade programs with South African organic grapes and citrus, as well as Mexican, Peruvian, and Haitian mangoes. Mr. Musser’s company, Tropic Trade LLC is a Fairtrade licensee specializing in Fairtrade and organic Ethical fruit programs.

In 2008, Transfair USA had 862 partners offering Fairtrade labeled products across all categories. Major retailers such as Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, and Starbucks have steadily increased their commitment to Fairtrade. For more information on TransfairUSA, including the 2008 Annual Report, go to

Mr. Musser was introduced to the Fairtrade concept in 1997 when he was CEO of the Windward Island Banana Development and Export Co, Ltd based in St. Lucia.  As he led the restructuring of the Windward Islands banana industry, Mr. Musser saw the importance of the Fairtrade pricing system to guarantee sustainable returns to growers. As the following case study shows, the Windward Islands banana industry exists today mainly because most of their production is sold under the Fairtrade label.

With their appeal to many of the same consumers who support certified organic products, Fairtrade labeled products allow consumers to further refine their choices by allowing them to purchase double certified (Fairtrade and organic) products. By paying a small premium over non-certified products, consumers can use their food dollars to support  specific environmental and ethical trading initiatives.