The Fairtrade Sugar Program

The Fairtrade Sugar Program creates a new way for farmers to sell more of their sugar as Fairtrade, meaning a better future for their families, farms and communities. It connects sugar farmers with the growing number of businesses that want to buy fair, sustainable sugar to use across product ranges or even their whole business. This means more Fairtrade benefits for farmers, and more ways for you to support Fairtrade farmers through your everyday shopping.

The opportunity for sugar farmers

Millions of small-scale sugar cane farmers and plantation workers grow most of the world’s sugar, typically living on just a few dollars a day. Through Fairtrade, sugar farmers have increased their income, and invested in their farms and communities, buying tractors, improving their crops and building schoolrooms. But there’s still much more to do. Many of the 37,000 farmers we work with would like to sell more Fairtrade sugar, and there are still millions more we haven’t reached. Today, less than 1% of the world’s sugar cane is Fairtrade.

Meanwhile, more and more companies are making commitments to source their sugar sustainably. They’re looking for ways to use it across their business, in all kinds of sweet treats and beverages. The Fairtrade Sugar Program enables sugar producers to work with these companies and access these great new opportunities.

How the Fairtrade Sugar Program works

From ice cream and soft drinks, to cakes and biscuits, sugar makes its way into so many of the foods and drinks we enjoy. Through the Fairtrade Sugar Program, businesses can buy this sugar on Fairtrade terms and use it in their manufacturing. It’s a new way for businesses to commit to Fairtrade, alongside labelling and certifying end consumer products with the FARTRADE Mark.

For example, companies can buy all the sugar they need for one of their product ranges, such as their biscuits or baked goods. Or they can commit to purchase a percentage of their total sugar as Fairtrade, such as 10%, 30%, 70%, or even more.

Companies wishing to publicly communicate their commitment under the Fairtrade Sugar Program can make use of a new Mark which makes very clear that the sugar is being purchased on Fairtrade terms. Find out the rules for using it here.

What the Fairtrade Sugar Program means for farmers

“We have great expectations that the Fairtrade Sugar Program will increase our sales, offering better living conditions for the members of our cooperative.”
Wenceslao Rodríguez, General Manager of CoopeVictoria, a sugar and coffee producing cooperative in Costa Rica.

The Fairtrade Sugar Program creates more ways for farmers to sell their crops on Fairtrade terms, to more types of companies, making life sweeter for farmers and their families. Sugar farmers will receive all the same Fairtrade benefits, including the Fairtrade Premium to invest in their farms and community projects of their choice.

In future, more sales through the Fairtrade Sugar Program will also mean that Fairtrade can invest in programs of additional support for sugar farmers. This could include training farmers to improve their crop productivity and quality for example, or support on adapting to climate change.

Read more on how Fairtrade works here.

Fairtrade in Action: Manduvirá Cooperative

Manduvirá Cooperative in Paraguay has used Fairtrade Premiums to build a health centre with a medical team, dentist, optician and laboratory services. Manduvirá has also used Fairtrade income to move up the supply chain and take control of its future. Originally, farmers sold cane directly to a local mill but today, they have the first producer-owned mill in the country. Read the full profile here.

To find out more about Fairtrade sugar farmers, read our dedicated sugar page.

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