When was Fairtrade launched?
The first Fairtrade products appeared on the shop shelves in the UK in 1994. These were Caféacute; Direct coffee, Clipper tea and Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate.
What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is about making sure some of the most disadvantaged people in the developing world are getting a better deal from trade, through fair prices, sustainable farming practices and community investment.
Who’s behind Fairtrade?
The Fairtrade Foundation in the UK belongs to a global umbrella organisation, Fairtrade International. Other members includes networks of producers and bodies responsible for growing markets for Fairtrade goods in other countries.
The Fairtrade Foundation’s members include Christian Aid, Oxfam, CAFOD, Traidcraft and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. All over the world the grassroots movement of people supporting fairer trade is growing rapidly.
How can I be sure that farmers are getting a fair price?
Fairtrade requires companies to pay prices (which must never be lower than the market price) that cover the costs of production, when buying from Fairtrade certified farmers.
This amount must never fall below the Fairtrade minimum price which is decided by Fairtrade producers and traders. This acts as a guarantee that producers receive a price which covers the cost of producing their goods in a sustainable way.
What about if the market price is higher than the minimum price – such as for cocoa or coffee?
When the market price is higher than the Fairtrade minimum price, companies must pay the market price.
I thought that buying Fairtrade meant I was helping communities to build schools and health care centres?
You are! The money paid on top of the Fairtrade minimum price is known as the Fairtrade premium. This is invested in social, environmental and economic development projects, decided upon democratically by a committee of producers or workers.
I go to farmers markets to support UK famers, why doesn’t Fairtrade work with UK farmers?
The FAIRTRADE Mark was established to make a difference to the most disadvantaged producers in the world by turning trade into a tool for sustainable development. This is still our focus. But we recognise small farmers all over the world face similar challenges, so we say buy local and buy Fairtrade.
Does Fairtrade support farmers affected by climate change?
Buying Fairtrade supports farmers in developing countries to farm sustainably and protect their own environment. With the additional income from Fairtrade, farmers can invest in their own ways to protect the environment - reducing chemicals, developing recycling schemes, purchasing fuel-efficient stoves, becoming certified as organic.
Do you think big supermarkets are just using Fairtrade to make more profit?
We’ve seen supermarkets convert whole ranges, such as their tea, coffee or bananas to Fairtrade without increasing the price for their customers.
Sometimes there are very good reasons why some products cost a little more than others - the quality or origin of the ingredients, the type of company supplying to the supermarket can all be factors in the final price. We believe that overall Fairtrade products represent good value for those buying them, as well as the added value for farmers and workers.
Do Fairtrade products cost more?
Not necessarily. There are so many Fairtrade products today, from supermarket own-label products, to specialist brands and organic Fairtrade products - so much choice that everyone can find something to suit their taste and budget. Of course, some products cost a little more than other brands, but often this is a matter of a few pence.
How can I get involved?
With campaigns in schools, workplaces, faith groups and towns all over the UK, there’s almost certainly one near you. Find out more here.
Where can I find out where to buy Fairtrade cotton clothes, Fairtrade certified cosmetics or Fairtrade certified gold?