Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Fairtrade Town?
Any community that makes a collective commitment to Fairtrade! Each Fairtrade Town campaign is unique but all Fairtrade Towns bring people together and raise awareness and understanding of trade issues. By doing this, Fairtrade Towns directly benefit some of the world’s poorest farmers and workers by increasing sales of Fairtrade products. To become a Fairtrade Town, a community needs to meet certain goals that vary from country to country. Read more about the Fairtrade Town goals and contact us to find out more about what’s happening in your country.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in developing countries.
Fair Trade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries. Fair Trade is a response to the injustices of conventional trade which has traditionally discriminated against the poorest and weakest producers. Fair Trade is about enabling communities in developing countries to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
What’s the difference between Fairtrade and Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a movement working to a make trade practice and policy fairer. There are different organisations working to promote fair trade practice and policy, through product certification, advocacy, campaigning and educational work.
Fairtrade describes the labelling system controlled by Fairtrade Labelling Organisations (FLO) International and national partners in different countries. The FAIRTRADE Mark appears on products that meet Fairtrade standards and come from Fairtrade producer organisations
Who is Fairtrade Labelling Organisations (FLO) International?
FLO is an international body comprising national labelling organisations and partner organisations around the world. FLO has overall responsibility for developing Fairtrade standards, supporting producers, and operating global certification and auditing systems.
FLO is based in Bonn, Germany and is composed of two separate organizations:
1. FLO International eV - a non-profit multi-stakeholder association involving Labelling Initiatives across Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and regional producer networks in Africa, Asia, Latin America. FLO eV develops and reviews international Fairtrade standards and assists producers in capitalizing on market opportunities.
2. FLO-CERT GmbH - a limited company that co-ordinates all tasks and processes all information related to the inspection and certification of producers and traders. Operating independently of any other interests, it follows the international ISO standard for certification bodies (ISO 65).
For more information about FLO and FLO-CERT, please visit their website
What is the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO)?
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is the global representative body of over 350 organisations committed to 100% Fair Trade. The WFTO operates in 70 countries across 5 regions; Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North American and the Pacific Rim, with elected global and regional boards, to create market access through policy, advocacy, campaigning, marketing and monitoring.
For more information about WFTO, please visit their website
How does Fair Trade work?
The Fair Trade movement uses consumer choices, education and campaigning to make trade work for development. Fairtrade uses product certification as a tool that guarantees products have met internationally monitored Fairtrade standards. WFTO certifies businesses that make trading fairly a core part of all they do. They work with other partners within the movement to increase supply and demand for Fairtrade and fairly traded goods. When shoppers choose to buy tea or coffee with the FAIRTRADE Mark or handicrafts and jewellery from members of WFTO, they know the people behind that product have got a better deal. Fair Trade works with the normal laws of supply and demand. Shops, cafes and supermarkets offer Fairtrade because their customers ask for it. More people choosing and buying Fairtrade means that more farmers can benefit from fair trading terms. While making a practical difference to farmers and their families, Fairtrade sales also send a signal to government and big business about how we want trade to work.
How big is Fairtrade?
Much bigger than it was ten years ago thanks to grassroots supporters talking to store managers and passing the Fairtrade bug to friends and family! By the end of 2007 there were 632 Fairtrade certified producer organizations in 58 producing countries, representing 1.5 million farmers and workers. An estimated 7.5 million people - farmers, workers and their families - directly benefit from Fairtrade. Sales of Fairtrade certified products have grown on average by 40% per year over the last five years and reached approximately 2.3 billion Euro in 2007. There are 18 product categories, including Fairtrade certified cotton, nuts, wine, fruit, tea, chocolate, fresh fruit and sports balls. If you can’t find them in your country or your town - ask!
What is a Fairtrade School, a Fairtrade Church or a Fairtrade University?
A Fairtrade Town campaign is about bringing different sectors together and will involve local schools, places of worship, colleges and universities. In the UK, specific goals have been created so that schools, universities, churches and synagogues can also achieve Fairtrade status specifically for their organisation. These schemes encourage organisations to use Fairtrade products, promote Fairtrade and raise awareness of the trade issues that make Fairtrade necessary. Read more about Fairtrade School, Fairtrade Places of Worship and Fairtrade University schemes in the UK.
What can I do?
There are lots of ways everyone can play a part in making trade fair. Choose Fairtrade products when you shop for groceries, ask for Fairtrade if it’s not on shelves in your local store, tell a friend, get Fairtrade into your office, college, school or place or worship or make Fairtrade a part of where you live and make your town a Fairtrade Town! Get inspired, get informed, get good answers and share by joining the online Fairtrade Town community.