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.

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A farmer plucks tea leaves at the Fairtrade Xuan En Yisheng Tea Cooperative, China
Image © Philipp Benedikt

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

  • Over 25 national Fairtrade organizations and 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 'Get involved' page to learn more about Fairtrade in your area.