Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here we provide answers to a few of the common questions people have about Fairtrade.

Look around our site for much more information!

General questions

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.

By choosing Fairtrade products, people can create change through their everyday actions, and farming communities can improve their lives and invest in their future.

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What is the Fairtrade Minimum Price?

The Fairtrade Minimum Price is the minimum that farmers’ organizations/producers are paid when selling their products through Fairtrade.

It aims to cover the average costs of sustainably producing their crop and acts as a safety net when market prices drop. Producers can get the market price when this is higher and can always negotiate for more.

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What is the Fairtrade Premium?

The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum of money (paid on top of the selling price) that farmers or workers invest in projects of their choice. They decide together how to spend the Fairtrade Premium to reach their goals, such as improving their farming, businesses, or health and education in their community.

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What are the Fairtrade Standards?

The Fairtrade Standards are the requirements that producers and the businesses who buy their goods have to meet for a product to be Fairtrade certified.

The Standards ensure fairer terms of trade between farmers and buyers, protect workers’ rights, and provide the framework for producers to build thriving farms and organizations.

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How does Fairtrade benefit farmers and workers?

Fairtrade is unique in our approach to supporting producer-led change in developing countries. This is because Fairtrade understands that producers are best placed to take into account the specific challenges facing their farms, and decide on the most effective investments for their businesses and communities.

Fairtrade International and the producer networks offer advice, trainings and financial and other support to help producers meet Fairtrade Standards and maintain their certifications.

Fairtrade offers direct support to farmers and workers through a network of field staff who are specialists in the Fairtrade Standards, certification processes and requirements. They provide advisory services to farmers and workers, as well as training and information to help them comply with the Fairtrade Standards, strengthen their business capacities, and deepen Fairtrade impact.

Enabling farmers and workers to become better organized is the basis for all producer support services. Additional programmes of support in thematic areas – such as climate change, gender and workers’ rights – enable producers to strengthen their organizations and meet the specific needs of their members. Other programmes help producers to tackle human rights issues in their communities, such as child labour or to improve their financial and HR management. We aim to deepen these programmes further going forward.

Engaging with Fairtrade

I'm a farmer/agricultural worker. How can I join Fairtrade?

My business is interested in sourcing/selling Fairtrade products. How do I get started?

Thank you for your interest!

Here's how to get started with Fairtrade.

Where can I find Fairtrade products to buy?

With over 30,000 products carrying the FAIRTRADE Marks, the chances are good that you can find Fairtrade products where you live.

Start by checking out the website of the Fairtrade organization near you – many of these include Fairtrade product finders and profiles of products in their markets.

Why doesn't Fairtrade include farmers in the global North?

The FAIRTRADE Mark was established specifically to support the most disadvantaged producers in developing countries by using trade as a tool for sustainable development.

Many local farmers face similar issues for getting a fair return for their crops, but there are also some major differences. For example, farmers in developing countries often have little infrastructural support, nor social security systems or other safety nets if they cannot get a fair price for their products.

Fairtrade is specifically focused on enabling producers in developing countries to tackle poverty through trade. If Fairtrade diverted its own attention from this mission, this could potentially end up diluting the benefits of Fairtrade for the very farmers and workers we were established to support.

Basic clarifications

What's the difference between Fairtrade and Fair Trade?

Fair Trade refers to the broad movement of people and organizations working to make trade fair by offering an alternative model of doing business. It includes labelled and unlabelled goods and the work of Alternative Trade Organizations, Fair Trade federations and other networks.

Fairtrade describes the certification and labelling system governed by Fairtrade International and its members. Fairtrade certified products carry the FAIRTRADE Mark, the world’s most recognized ethical label. Fairtrade International is a leading player in the global Fair Trade movement.

Is Fair Trade USA part of Fairtrade?

No. Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) resigned from the global Fairtrade system as of 31 December 2011. The entire international Fairtrade system regretted Fair Trade USA’s decision to pursue its own approach rather than continue working within the international system.

Fairtrade America is the US member organization of Fairtrade International, and shares our commitment to a global system backed by credible, internationally agreed Fairtrade Standards and certification.

Visit Fairtrade America's website