How Fairtrade works

Fairtrade is a simple way to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow and create the things we love. It’s all about making trade fair.

Fair for producers

Small-scale farmers and workers are among the most marginalized by the global trade system. At Fairtrade, they are at the heart of everything we do. Unique among certification schemes, producers have an equal say in how Fairtrade is run and are included in all our decision-making.

For farmers and workers, Fairtrade means:

  • Prices that aim to cover the average costs of producing their crop sustainably – a vital safety net when market prices drop

  • The Fairtrade Premium – an extra sum of money paid on top of the selling price to invest in business or community projects of their choice

  • Decent working conditions and a ban on discrimination, forced labour and child labour

  • Access to advance credit ahead of harvest time

  • Being able to plan more for the future with more security and stronger relationships with buyers

Read more about Fairtrade’s impact for farmers and workers.

Producers have a strong say in Fairtrade

Fairtrade producers have 50 percent of the vote at our General Assembly, and farmers and workers are also consulted during the process for establishing new standards and policies for Fairtrade. The three regional Fairtrade producer networks play a prominent role on the Board of Directors at Fairtrade International, ensuring even greater producer representation.

Fair for Consumers

Consumers are a vital part of Fairtrade. Every Fairtrade product you choose or campaign you support enables farmers and workers to invest in their lives and take more control of their future.

  • A product with the FAIRTRADE Mark means the producers and businesses have met the stringent Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards.

  • According to a 2015 GlobeScan study of consumers in 15 countries, more than 50 percent of consumers are familiar with the FAIRTRADE Mark and of those, 80 percent say they have a more positive perception of brands that carry it.

The Fairtrade System

The Fairtrade system is made up of:

  • Three regional producer networks that represent farmers and workers in Africa and the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean

  • 19 national Fairtrade organizations and eight marketing organizations that market and promote Fairtrade products in consumer countries

  • Fairtrade International, the umbrella NGO that creates the internationally agreed Fairtrade Standards and coordinates Fairtrade worldwide

  • FLOCERT, the main independent certifier for Fairtrade, which inspects producers and traders to ensure they comply with Fairtrade Standards

Visit the 'Where we work' page to learn more about Fairtrade in your area or www.fairtrade.net to learn more about Fairtrade's work worldwide.

Fairtrade International and its member organizations are part of the larger Fair Trade movement. The International Fair Trade Charter sets out our joint vision for a fairer world.

This grassroots movement unites tens of thousands of people campaigning for fairer trade across the globe. There are now more than 2,000 Fair Trade Towns in 30 countries, as well as countless schools, universities and faith groups.

Looking for Fairtrade Products?

Fairtrade products are widely available. The blue countries and territories on the map below have Fairtrade organizations that promote Fairtrade products. Their websites often include a product finder to show you the full variety of Fairtrade products near you. Even if there isn't a Fairtrade organization where you live, Fairtrade products may still be available – look for our familiar marks on products!