Frequently asked questions about Fairtrade

Find answers to some of the questions that are frequently asked about Fairtrade.

Our interactive map below allows you to explore some case studies of both producer organisations and individual workers in 74 countries across four continents.

Find out more at Fairtrade Foundation Website

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. Read more here.
The Fairtrade Foundation is the independent non-profit organisation that licenses use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products in the UK in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade standards.
The Foundation is the UK member of Fairtrade International, which unites over 20 labelling initiatives across Europe, Japan, North America, Mexico and Australia/New Zealand as well as networks of producer organisations from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Test
It’s an independent consumer label you see on a product that meets the international Fairtrade standards. It shows that the product has been certified to offer a better deal to the farmers and workers involved. It does not endorse an entire company’s business practices. Read more
Fairtrade International (formally known as Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International - or 'FLO') is the international body made up of the Fairtrade Foundation and its partner organisations around the world. We’re proud to say it’s 50 per cent owned by the farmers and workers it works for. Fairtrade International is in charge of developing Fairtrade standards for products, supporting farmers and workers, and operating global certification and auditing systems.
Fairtrade International is based in Bonn, Germany, and is composed of two separate organisations:
1. Fairtrade International eV. is a non-profit multi-stakeholder association. FLO develops and reviews international Fairtrade standards and supports farmers and workers to make the most of market opportunities. Read more at www.fairtrade.net/who-we-are.html
2. FLO-CERT GmbH is a limited company in charge of the inspection and certification of farmers, workers and traders. It operates independently of any other interests, and follows the international ISO standard for certification bodies (ISO 65). Read more at www.flo-cert.net/flo-cert/158.html
It’s a company that has signed a Licence Agreement with the Fairtrade Foundation and is therefore entitled to apply the FAIRTRADE Mark to specific products covered by the agreement. You can find information on how to become one here.
Fairtrade standards comprise both minimum social, economic and environmental requirements, which producers must meet to be certified, plus progress requirements that encourage the continuous improvement of develop farmers’ organisations or the situation of estate workers. Read more about the standards here: www.fairtrade.net/standards.html
This is either an association of farmers or a company dependent on hired labour that produces one or more commodities for which there are Fairtrade standards and that has been certified to meet those standards. Once certified, they are added to the Fairtrade product register and registered companies can buy from them under Fairtrade terms.
Some Fairtrade certified producer groups are able to sell their entire production under Fairtrade terms, while others sell only a very small percentage and badly need more buyers to offer a Fairtrade deal. It is only by increasing the amount sold as Fairtrade that producer groups are able to receive a steady stream of additional income to improve their lives.
The Fairtrade minimum price defines the lowest possible price that a buyer of Fairtrade products must pay the producer. The minimum price is set based on a consultative process with Fairtrade farmers, workers and traders and guarantees that producer groups receive a price which covers what it costs them to grow their crop. When the market price is higher than the Fairtrade minimum price, the trader must pay the market price.
It’s what makes Fairtrade unique. It’s an additional sum of money paid on top of the Fairtrade minimum price that farmers and workers invest in social, environmental and economic developmental projects to improve their businesses and their communities. They decide democratically by committee how to invest the premium. You can read more about what farmers spend their premium here.
We certify products, nothing else. But we do run campaigns with local community groups aimed at boosting awareness and understanding of trade issues, and promoting the buying of Fairtrade products as a way for everyone, no matter who they are, to use the power of their purchase to make a difference to the lives of farmers and workers.
These campaigns have a set of goals and receive a certificate of congratulation from the Fairtrade Foundation when they are achieved. Once a local community declares its status as a Fairtrade Town (or university or faith group) it must be committed to continuing campaigning and awareness raising.
Thousands! We have licensed over 4,500 Fairtrade certified products for sale through retail and catering outlets in the UK.
The UK is one of the world’s leading Fairtrade markets, with more products and more awareness of Fairtrade than anywhere else. Almost one in three bananas sold in the UK is Fairtrade. Fairtrade sales in 2012 were £1.57bn.
Fairtrade standards exist for the following products:

Food products:

  • Bananas
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Dried Fruit
  • Fresh Fruit & Fresh Vegetables
  • Honey
  • Juices
  • Nuts/Oil Seeds/Oil
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Spices
  • Sugar
  • Tea
  • Wine

Non-food products:

  • Beauty products
  • Cotton
  • Cut Flowers
  • Ornamental Plants
  • Sports Balls
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Silver