CLAC can trace its roots back to the creation of the first Fair Trade seals over twenty years ago. Formally, CLAC’s origins are in the Latin American Network of Small Coffee Producers (Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Pequeños Productores de Café — CLA, known as just Coordinadora) and the Latin American Network of Small Beekeepers (Pequeños Apicultores Unidos de América Latina PAUAL), both founded in 1996.

During CLA’s Fifth Regional Assembly held in August 2004 in Oaxaca, Mexico, CLAC was established as a legal entity, incorporating representatives of small Latin American and Caribbean Fair Trade producers of a wide range of products.