What is Fairtrade?

FAIRTRADE and Fair Trade and their logos.

FAIRTRADE (one word, capital F) is the registered trademark of the Fairtrade Foundation. They are the organisation in the UK that award the FAIRTRADE mark to a limited number of products that are produced and purchased under specific rules and standards. These rules and standards include the requirement to pay a minimum price and a social premium as well as rules about working conditions and environmental sustainability. You have probably seen the mark’s logo on products like coffee chocolate and bananas. The FAIRTRADE mark relates to a product not a company or business. These product standards are set by an international world wide organisation called Fairtrade International, of which The Fairtrade Foundation is a member.

Fair Trade (used as two words) has a broader reach and is used to describe a company, business or organisation and how it functions.

It is a way of doing business that prioritises the interests of economically disadvantaged producers. It believes in a vision where people and the planet come before price and profit. This vision affects all the organisations’ decisions and activities. These organisations are actively working to tackle poverty, inequality, injustice and the climate crisis.

The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) sets out ten principles that Fair Trade organisations must follow in their day-to-day work and carries out monitoring. The WFTO Guaranteed Fair Trade mark logo certifies that an organisation is working according to these principles.

BAFTS is the Fair Trade Network in the UK. Its members are wholesale and retail suppliers of Fair Trade and FAIRTRADE products. BAFTS is a network member of the WFTO and all BAFTS members are committed to the ten WFTO  principles. We are members of BAFTS.

As the FAIRTRADE mark relates to individual products it is possible to buy a FAIRTRADE product from a company whose business practices do not reflect Fair Trade standards as set by the WFTO

World Fair Trade Organisation 10 Principles of Fair Trade

1. Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers

Poverty reduction through trade forms a key part of the organisation’s aims.

2. Transparency and Accountability

The organisation is transparent in its management and commercial relations. It is accountable to all its stakeholders and respects the sensitivity and confidentiality of commercial information supplied.

3. Fair Trading Practices

The organisation trades with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalised small producers and does not maximise profit at their expense.

4. Payment of a Fair Price

A fair price is one that has been mutually agreed by all through dialogue and participation, which provides fair pay to the producers and can also be sustained by the market.

5. Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour

The organisation adheres to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national / local law on the employment of children.

6. Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Freedom of Association

The organisation does not discriminate in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, HIV/Aids status or age.

7. Ensuring Good Working Conditions

The organisation provides a safe and healthy working environment for employees and / or members.

8. Providing Capacity Building

The organisation seeks to increase positive developmental impacts for small, marginalised producers through Fair Trade.

9. Promoting Fair Trade

The organisation raises awareness of the aim of Fair Trade and of the need for greater justice in world trade through Fair Trade.

10. Respect for the Environment

Organisations which produce Fair Trade products maximise the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible.

You can find loads more information on the WFTO and Fairtrade Foundation websites. They both have lots of support and resources for those who want to find out more, including case studies. Take a look!