Fair Trade

What is Fair Trade?

What is fair trade?

Most people think that Fair trade is largely about paying a decent, living wage to producers in poor countries for their produce and products but it’s much more than that. It’s a different way of working.

Fair Trade helps poor and marginalized producers to work their way out of poverty through:
  • fair prices which are in line with a living wage
  • better rights at work and more choice over where they work
  • a social premium, which pays for things like skills training, literacy etc
  • long term trading relationships with buyers and good exchange of ideas
  • pre-payment or part pre-payment with orders
  • respect for the environment
  • not using child labour
  • gender equity
  • campaigning for a fairer international trade system and making consumers here more aware of the positive impact Fair Trade can have on the lives of millions of producers

How do you know it's Fair Trade?

Fair trade (two words) is the umbrella term for goods that are traded under broadly common criteria set by the following organizations:
WFTO – a network of organizations that aims to alleviate poverty and injustice in the current world trade system through fair trade.
Fairtrade Foundation – a charity based in the UK behind the Fairtrade mark, an independent guarantee system for better terms of trade for producers.
BAFTS – a network of Fair Trade shops in the U.K.

Fair Trade - some background

According to Traidcraft, in 2008 70% of people in the UK recognised the Fairtrade mark compared to 16% in 2004. It’s excellent that so many more people have now heard of fair trade but some are still confused about what exactly it means.

For a start, why is it sometimes written as one word and sometimes two? The answer is simple: ‘Fairtrade’ is a term registered by the Fairtrade Foundation and largely focuses on agricultural produce though they now have over 4,500 products; ‘Fair Trade’ is the more general term used for craft, jewellery, clothing and other goods produced under very similar guidelines to Fairtrade products. Only products that have gone through the Fairtrade Foundation certification process can have their logo on.