Our strategy

Fairtrade’s current five-year strategy was developed on the heels of the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris.

We play a unique role engaging people on the tough issues in trade and development to achieve the inclusive growth envisaged by the SDGs.

2016 Fairtrade Global Strategy Cover Crop 870
Cover image of Changing Trade, Changing Lives strategy

Since its beginning, Fairtrade has grown to represent over 1.8 million small-scale farmers and workers. Producers now co-own the Fairtrade system, shaping global strategy and running operations across three continents. But we are still far from achieving our ambitious goal of a world where trade can be a true tool of opportunity and inclusion for all.

The world today and the world we want

The challenges the world faces are intricately interconnected. We cannot address poverty until we address inequality; rampant development exacerbates climate change; any approach to eradicating child labour and forced labour must address sustainable livelihoods throughout value chains; and a lack of equal rights for women inhibits progress across the board.

Our strategy responds to these challenges, aiming to build on Fairtrade’s powerful legacy to date and make us an even greater force for change in the coming years. We seek a world where:

  • the benefits of trade are distributed more equitably,

  • human rights are respected at every stage of the value chain, from the largest multinational to the smallest producer organization,

  • business does better,

  • fairness and justice come first,

  • governments and policymakers actively foster the environment required for trade to drive living income and living wage.

Fairtrade cannot achieve this alone, but by working in partnership with governments, with companies, with civil society and with farmers and workers – this ambition for the world can become reality. Our strategy is shaped by five goals designed to leverage our strengths and enable us to drive change in trade and transform the lives of people who engage in it.

Goal 1: Building benefits for smallholders and workers

We know that impact on small-scale farmers and workers is stronger when the proportion of production sold as Fairtrade reaches a “critical mass” of 30-50 percent. New business models will help producers and businesses create greater value through committed long-term relationships that enable the right kinds of investment. To do this we will focus our efforts on our three largest commodities – coffee, cocoa and bananas – to create benchmarks for excellence that can extend to other products.

Goal 2: Deepening impact through services and programmes

Farmers and workers need support beyond market access. Over the next five years, Fairtrade will improve our work to help producers achieve measurable social, economic and environmental impact. Fairtrade producer networks will focus on key areas by working with global advisors, and international and local partners, including national Fairtrade organizations, companies, government extension services, NGOs, trade unions, and financial service providers.

The key areas of focus include:

  • Organizational and Business Strengthening
  • Workers’ Rights
  • Gender Equality
  • Children and Young People
  • Climate Resilience

Goal 3: Building Fairtrade markets

The Fairtrade Mark, the most widely recognized and trusted ethical label globally, remains the most visible sign of our work. But Fairtrade has always meant much more than a label. We will complement the mark with ways of working that range from product labelling to enabling business engagement in programmes, always centred on the Fairtrade principles of empowerment, capacity, transparency and fair pricing that are the prerequisites of sustainable development.

We will work with businesses to enable learning and adaptive strategies based on impact data to improve the lives of farmers and workers. We will build a truly global support base for Fairtrade, putting products on ever more shelves across the world. We will prioritize growth in Brazil and India. And finally, we will leverage the unique strength in our grassroots consumer support to drive change, not only building Fairtrade markets, but pushing for a more sustainable lifestyle overall.

Goal 4: Influencing government policies

The global development agenda is shifting from a focus on poverty in developing countries to tackling global inequality and promoting sustainability in every country. This represents a powerful opportunity to improve the lives of the 1.3 billion small-scale farmers and agricultural workers who play a vital role in producing our food and stewarding our planet.

We will work to amplify the voices of farmers and workers in key policy debates, supporting them to confront policies at the national, regional and global level that impede fair trade and sustainable business. Together with producers we will advocate for government policies that create an enabling environment for fairer trade – from their own procurement policies, to their position on trade negotiations and business regulation, to making sustainable pricing a ‘must-have’ ingredient for living incomes and wages.

Goal 5: Building a strong global system

Our previous strategy focused on ‘unlocking the power of the many’, driving collaboration and a spirit of oneness; our new strategy will help us complete our transformation into a truly united, global change maker. We will maximize our impact by working together as one system, finding the optimal global-local balance to create a whole that far outweighs the sum of its parts.

Our new strategy will accelerate investment in the producer networks to strengthen governance, transparency, and accountability to their members, as well as building operational and external capacity. We will incorporate learning tools and impact data into all planning and decision-making processes.

We will provide open access to impact information, most importantly to producers, but also to business partners. We will implement a Value for Money approach, assessing our interventions against a clear cost-benefit framework.

An invitation

Our strategy aims to offer more. More benefits for producers. More options for companies. More ways for consumers to contribute to change. More learning for governments and policy makers. As we move forward, we invite all of you to reach out and walk with us on this next exciting stage of our Fairtrade journey, so we can all do more – together.

Working effectively together as a network and in partnership with the many organizations and governments who share our values, we are confident that this strategy will enable us to achieve greater and deeper impact for small-scale farmers and workers.

Download our strategy

EN | Fairtrade Global Strategy: Changing Trade, Changing Lives 2016-2020

FR | Stratégie Internationale Fairtrade : Changer le commerce, changer des vies 2016-2020