is a social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries
achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainable farming. Members of the movement advocate
the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved
social and environmental standards. The movement focuses in particular on commodities, or products which are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries
, but also consumed in domestic markets (e.g. Brazil, India and Bangladesh) most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, wine, sugar, fresh fruit
, chocolate, flowers and gold. The movement seeks to promote greater equity in international trading partnerships through dialogue, transparency
, and respect. It promotes sustainable development
by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers in developing countries. Fair trade is grounded in three core beliefs
; first, producers have the power to express unity
with consumers. Secondly, the world trade practices that currently exist promote the unequal distribution of wealth between nations. Lastly, buying products from producers in developing countries at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than traditional charity
Fair trade labeling
organizations most commonly use a definition of fair trade
developed by FINE, an informal association of four international fair trade networks: Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Network of European Worldshops and European Fair Trade Association
(EFTA). Specifically, fair trade is a trading partnership
, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade
. Fair trade organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness
raising, and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.
There are several recognized fair trade certifiers, including Fairtrade International (formerly called FLO, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International), IMO, Make Trade Fair
and Eco-Social. Additionally, Fair Trade USA, formerly a licensing agency for the Fairtrade International label
, broke from the system and is implementing its own fair trade labelling scheme, which has resulted in controversy
due to its inclusion of independent smallholders and estates for all crops
. In 2008, Fairtrade International certified
approximately (€3.4B) of products. The World Trade Organization
publishes annual figures
on the world trade of goods and services.
The fair trade movement is popular in the UK, where there are 500 Fairtrade towns, 118 universities, over 6,000 churches, and over 4,000 UK schools registered in the Fairtrade Schools Scheme. In 2011, over 1.2 million farmers and workers in more than 60 countries participated in Fairtrade International's fair trade system, which included €65 million in fairtrade premium paid to producers for use developing their communities. According to Fairtrade International, nearly six out of ten consumers have seen the Fairtrade mark and almost nine in ten of them trust it.
Some criticisms have been raised about fair trade systems. One 2015 study in a journal
published by the MIT Press
concluded that producer
benefits were close to zero because there was an oversupply
, and only a fraction
of produce classified as fair trade was actually sold on fair trade markets, just enough to recoup
the costs of certification. Some research indicates that the implementation of certain fair trade standards can cause greater inequalities in some markets where these rigid rules are inappropriate for the specific market. In the Fair trade debate there are complaints of failure to enforce the fair trade standards, with producers, cooperatives, importers and packers profiting by evading them.