Fair trade means doing business differently to make trade fair. It is based on a meaningful and equal partnership between farmers, workers and buyers. It represents a solution to poverty and a model for development.
The fair trade working group, FINE, defines fair trade as “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. Fair trade organizations, backed by consumers, are actively engaged in supporting producers, raising awareness, and campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.”
The fair trade movement is made up of a number of different bodies and networks, all of whom work together to achieve the goal of alleviating poverty through trade. Listed below are some of the key players in the movement. You can find out more about other fair trade organisations here.
principles of fair trade
Traidcraft describes the key principles of fair trade as:
- Trading practices are fair and not one-sided.
- Prices paid are fair and sufficient for producers and workers to earn more than enough to meet their day-to-day needs.
- Payments are often made in advance to ensure the supplier can fulfill orders.
- Producers and workers have a voice, whether organised into groups or involved in workplaces where there is freedom of association.
- Safe working conditions, non-discrimination and welfare of children.
other fair trade labels
While the Fairtrade label is one of the most well known, it isn’t the only label that certifies fair trade. There are various organisations, such as Fair for Life and Traidcraft, which certify goods as meeting specific fair trade standards. For example, Fairtrade hasn’t yet developed standards for commodities like palm oil, rubber and charcoal – so organisations that source these commodities need to look for other certification systems, such as FairPalm for Palm Oil.
Read this article by Traidcraft to find out more about different labelling systems.
world fair trade organization
The WFTO is a network of alternative trade and producer organisations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Pacific Rim. It verifies whole organisations as Fair Trade Enterprises, rather than specific products or commodities. It is democratically run by its members, who must demonstrate they put people and planet first in everything they do.
FLOCERT is the global certification body for Fairtrade. They were set up as an independent subsidiary of Fairtrade International to ensure the quality and credibility of the Fairtrade certification system. They also offer support to companies who want to source on Fairtrade principles in areas where no Fairtrade Standard currently applies.
Fairtrade International works to make trade fair through standards, certification, producer support, programmes and advocacy. There are 22 member organizations: three producer networks and 19 national Fairtrade organizations. Fairtrade International owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 30,000 products