Fairtrade Sourcing Programs - An Overview

Meet the new Fairtrade Sourcing Programs

Fairtrade is a simple but powerful idea: use trade to help farmers enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and take their future into their own hands. It’s an approach that has enabled millions of farmers and workers to improve their lives. But there’s still a lot to do.

That’s why we’re introducing the new Fairtrade Sourcing Programs - they’re all about giving farmers new opportunities to sell more of their cocoa, sugar or cotton on Fairtrade terms.

How Fairtrade Sourcing Programs work

More and more businesses are making commitments to ‘responsible sourcing’ - which means buying their key commodities fairly and sustainably as a core part of how they do business. This is great news – and we want to make sure Fairtrade producers benefit from it.

Fairtrade Sourcing Programs for cocoa, sugar or cotton connect Fairtrade farmers with companies wanting to buy these specific commodities on Fairtrade terms. Rather than focusing on all the ingredients for one final product, Fairtrade Sourcing Programs means companies can make big commitments to sourcing one or more specific commodities for use across ranges, or even their whole business. It’s one more way for businesses to work with Fairtrade, alongside certifying and labeling products with the FAIRTRADE Mark

For example, a supermarket could buy some or all of its cocoa through the Fairtrade Cocoa Program, to use across their chocolate bar ranges, and maybe even their biscuits and cakes too.

A confectionery company could decide to use Fairtrade sugar for all its sweet treats.

A clothing company might commit to sourcing its cotton sustainably. They could buy Fairtrade sourced cotton in bulk, scaling up their commitment over time, and use it throughout their business, rather than having a specific range of Fairtrade cotton garments.

All these kind of commitments will add up to more sales of Fairtrade farmers’ crops, and more of the Fairtrade benefits rolling into their communities.

Why we’re introducing the new Sourcing Programs now

The time is ripe for change.

Our farmers are telling us they want to sell more products on Fairtrade terms. And there’s still many more we haven’t reached. Only 1.2% of the cocoa in the world is sold on Fairtrade terms. In sugar and cotton it’s even less.

At the same time, the potential for growth is huge. Global brands have committed publicly to purchasing a total of about 2 million tonnes of sustainable cotton over the next two years alone. Other companies are making similar public commitments for cocoa and sugar.

This represents a massive opportunity for the farmers who grow these crops. Fairtrade Sourcing Programs allow farmers to tap this potential.

The FAIRTRADE Program Mark

The new Sourcing Programs have the same high standards of Fairtrade. Producers will receive all the same Fairtrade benefits, including the protection of a Minimum Price (wherever relevant) and the Fairtrade Premium. So we have developed a new Mark that represent a different approach by the businesses involved and gives Fairtrade Sourcing Programs their own identity. The new FAIRTRADE Program Mark:

  • Supports businesses to communicate their Fairtrade sourcing commitment on pack, online and in corporate reports
  • Lets shoppers know that the brands they love are part of the new Fairtrade Sourcing Programs.

There are some important rules about how businesses can communicate their commitment to the Fairtrade Sourcing Programs:

  • COCOA AND SUGAR: companies will only be able to use the FAIRTRADE Program Mark on-pack if 100% of the focus ingredient for that product is bought on Fairtrade terms. Companies can also talk about their commitment to the Fairtrade Sourcing Programs in off-pack communications such as websites.
  • COTTON: companies can use the new Program Mark once they’ve met an agreed volume of Fairtrade cotton. Companies can use the Program Mark on a swing-tag attached to items if they have sourced enough Fairtrade cotton to cover the equivalent of 100% of that product range or collection. They can also talk about their Fairtrade commitments in off-product communications.

They look different, but both the FAIRTRADE Mark and the new FAIRTRADE Program Mark communicate what it means to buy Fairtrade - that your purchase is making a positive difference for small-scale farmers and workers.

More Fairtrade for everyone

The Fairtrade Sourcing Programs bring more of the benefits of Fairtrade to everyone involved, starting with farmers:

  • More benefits for farmers: the Fairtrade Sourcing Programs give farmers new opportunities to tap into the growing demand for fair and sustainable cocoa, sugar and cotton. This means they can bring more of the benefits of Fairtrade into their lives and their communities.
  • More opportunities for businesses: the new Fairtrade Sourcing Programs give businesses new ways to work with Fairtrade or to increase their commitments, focussing on one or two commodities at a time to improve the lives of the farmers who grow them.
  • More choices for shoppers: because these Sourcing Programs create more opportunities for businesses to source Fairtrade commodities, there’ll be more ways for shoppers to support Fairtrade farmers and workers through their purchases.

Select one of the options below to learn about the different FAIRTRADE Marks.

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