Fair trade is a market-based approach that works for the achievement of better trading conditions for producers in developing countries by promoting the sustainability of their production and the sustainability of the consumption of goods in developed countries. Achieving social justice and equity are the principal objectives, ultimately targeted through strategies of fair trade. The advocates for Fair Trade focus particularly on the trade of commodities, most often exported by developing countries into developing countries. In order to defend social justice, they defend the idea of paying higher prices (with higher social and economic standards) to these exporters. The European Fair Trade Association defines it as such:
"Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade organisations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade".
As such, alleviating social inequities, promoting sustainability, ethical consumerism and world solidarity are among the main points of fair trade.
Fair Trade Principles
The World Fair Trade Organization, a leading fair trade organization, distinguishes 10 principles that organizations should follow in ther day-to-day work:
- Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
- Transparency and Accountability
- Fair Trading Practices
- Payment of a Fair Price
- Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour
- Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Freedom of Association
- Ensuring Good Working Conditions
- Providing Capacity Building
- Promoting Fair Trade
- Respect for the Environment
Fair Trade Mechanisms and Organizations
Fair Trade usually involves three participants: the producers, the importers and the organisations that work in fair trade certification.
Farmers, artisans, workers, cooperatives, mostly from developing countries, who are producing the commodities - coffee, tea, cocoa, honey, handicrafts etc. The producers have to follow certain agreements to qualify the products they produce as fair trade.
They might process the fair trade products or distribute to other processors after importation. "So, for example an importer may just import fair trade "green coffee", which would in turn be sold to a fair trade roaster who eventually sells it to a retailer". Importers and processors of fair trade products have to follow certain agreements and standards for the goods to be certified as "fair trade".
Fair Trade Certifiers
FINE is an informal certification organisation which groups the 4 big organisms in this domain:
Based in Bonn (Germany), it groups 25 organisations (3 producer networks, 19 national labelling initiatives and 3 marketing organisations) working to secure a better deal for producers. See Fair Trade International. About Us.
The WFTO represents Fair Traders from grassroots through to the G8 and is the authentic voice of Fair Trade, having driven the movement for 20 years. It is the only global network whose members represent the Fair Trade chain from production to sale (see World Fair Trade Organization). WFTO certifies more fair trade organizations (which respects its 10 principles) than fair trade products and commodities.
NEWS! was established in 1994 and is present in 13 European Countries. It represents approximately 2500 Worldshops - shops that offer fairly traded products and campaign for a fairer world trade system. Campaigns to raise awareness on the topic of fair trade and the promotion of worldshops are among the main activites of NEWS!
The EFTA (European Fair Trade Association), founded in 1987, is an association of ten Fair Trade importers in nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). Among EFTA's activities is the support for its member organisations in their work, the facilitation of exchange of information/networking and the creation of conditions for labour division and joint projects (see Free Trade Association).
- ↑ Wikipedia, 2012, Fair Trade
- ↑ EFTA: Joining Fair Trade Forces
- ↑ 10 Principles of Fair Trade
- ↑ World Centric, 2012, Fair Trade?
- ↑ World Centric, 2012, Fair Trade?
- Where did it all begin? WFTO, 25 July 2011
- Redfern Andy & Snedker Paul. (2002). Creating Market Opportunities for Small Enterprises: Experiences of the Fair Trade Movement. International Labor Office. Seed Working Paper No. 30
- Griffiths, Paul.(2011). Ethical objections to Fairtrade Journal of Business Ethics July (DOI) 10.1007/s10551-011-0972-0.
- Kilian, B., Jones, C., Pratt, L., & Villalobos, A. (2006). Is Sustainable Agriculture a Viable Strategy to Improve Farm Income in Central America? A Case Study on Coffee. Journal of Business Research , 59(3), 322–330.
- Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International. 2010.Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International. Annual Report 2009-2010. Retrieved May 27, 2011, from
- Geiger-Onteo, Stephanie, and Eric J. Arnould.(2011). Alternative Trade Organization and Subjective Quality of Life: The Case of Latin American Coffee Producers. Journal of Macromarketing: 276-290. Print.