Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.


The FAIRTRADE Mark is the original fair trade consumer label

The number of ethical labels is growing, but Fairtrade remains unique. While other schemes aim to ‘protect the environment’ or ‘enable companies to trace their coffee’, Fairtrade’s focus is to empower farmers and workers to improve the quality of their lives and take more control over their futures.

Fairtrade is the only certification scheme whose purpose is to tackle poverty through the Fairtrade Price and Premium. It empowers farmers and workers in developing countries to take a more active role in global supply chains. At an international level, it is part owned by farmers and workers who sit on the Board of Fairtrade International, the global body for Fairtrade, and have a key role in decision making. Fairtrade also delivers unique benefits to producers, businesses and consumers...


logo fairtrade

Look for the FAIRTRADE Mark on products. It’s your guarantee that disadvantaged farmers and workers in the developing world get a better deal.


 Offering small-scale farmers and workers a boost

Fairtrade works to benefit the most marginalised people in the global trade system – small-scale farmers and workers. For certain products, such as coffee, cocoa, cotton and rice, Fairtrade only certifies small farmer organisations. By favouring democratic organisations of small farmers, Fairtrade offers rural families the stability they need to invest in farming and plan for the future. The alternative for many small farmers is to move to already overcrowded towns and cities to find other sources of income.

Plantations and companies that used hired labour can also sell certain products – such as bananas and tea –  through Fairtrade if workers are organised and benefit from Fairtrade. The Fairtrade Standards protect workers’ basic rights according to International Labour Organization conventions. These include health and safety standards, freedom of association, collective bargaining, no discrimination and no bonded or illegal child labour. The Joint Body, which includes a majority of worker representatives, decides how to invest the Fairtrade Premium works to create good working relationships between management and workers and helps workers gain skills in leadership, communication and project management.

Farmers and workers are at the heart of Fairtrade

Farmers and workers jointly own and mana
ge Fairtrade International and are represented on the Board of Directors. Through the Board and its committees, they are involved in decisions on overall strategy and setting prices, premiums and standards.
Unique in the market

Customers are loyal to Fairtrade

Fairtrade has a strong global grassroots consumer base. There are now over 1,000 Fairtrade Towns around the world – including Rome, San Francisco and London – that use Fairtrade in municipal purchasing, schools and retail outlets and promote Fairtrade through their local press. Strong networks of family, friends and colleagues also actively promote Fairtrade – one third of people first learn about Fairtrade through these networks. A 2008 GlobeScan study of 14,500 consumers in 15 countries showed half of consumers are now familiar with the FAIRTRADE Mark and 91 per cent of these trust the consumer label. A further 64 per cent believe Fairtrade has strict standards, a quality that closely correlates to consumer trust. In the UK, over three quarters of people are familiar with the FAIRTRADE Mark.

Market leader

Since Fairtrade’s beginnings in the 1980s and the launch of the current FAIRTRADE Mark in 2002, Fairtrade has become the most widely-recognised ethical label in the world. Sales of Fairtrade certified products have grown at an average of 40 per cent annually over the last five years. Fairtrade has achieved very strong market share in certain markets, including 53 per cent of bananas in Switzerland and 22 per cent of ground coffee in the UK. There are also now more than 10,000 Fairtrade products sold in over 70 countries and sales of Fairtrade products are now taking off in new markets including eastern Europe and South Africa.

Independent certification
FLO-CERT, the independent certification body for Fairtrade, is the only ISO 65 accredited ethical certification scheme. Three out of four consumers believe independent certification is the best way to verify a product’s ethical claims.

Text courtesy of Fairtrade Foundation. For more information, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk