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 the South.

Fair Trade organizations have a clear commitment to Fair Trade as the core principal of their mission. They, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers and raising awareness. They advocate for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade, through active campaigns or by creating, in practice, a viable trade alternative through Fair Trade.

Fair Trade is about more than just paying a fair wage. It also means deliberately working with marginalized producers and workers to help them move toward economic self-sufficiency. It means building trading partnerships that are based on mutual respect, as well as upholding health, safety, and environmental standards and ensuring that producers and workers have a voice. Most importantly, it means creating sustainable and positive change by seeking to achieve greater equity in international trade.


The World Fair Trade Organization has established the following 10 principles that Fair Trade organizations use to guide their day-to-day work:

  1. Creating Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
  2. Developing Transparent and Accountable Relationships
  3. Building Capacity
  4. Promoting Fair Trade
  5. Paying Promptly and Fairly
  6. Assuring Gender Equity
  7. Supporting Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
  8. Ensuring the Rights of Children
  9. Cultivating Environmental Stewardship
  10. Building Trade Relationships Based on Solidarity, Trust and Mutual Respect


For more information about Fair Trade, visit these organizations that are active in building and promoting fair trade around the world:

 International Networks:

World Fair Trade Organization (formerly IFAT)

Fair Trade Labeling Organization

Regional Networks

COFTA: Africa

IFAT –LA: Latin America

Asia Fair Trade Forum – Asia

EFTA- European Fair Trade Association – Europe

NEWS – Network of European Fair Trade Shops  – Europe

Fair Trade Federation – North America

United Students for Fair Trade – North America

Fair Trade Resource Network – North America

Co-op America Guide to Fair Trade – North America


To continue learning about Fair Trade, here are some additional resources:

1. Recommended Reading:

Fair Trade Institute: maintains an archive of documents, academic research and other publications about Fair Trade

Fair Trade Resource Network


There are many ways you can be involved in Fair Trade and building a more sustainable, just world. For artisan organizations, we suggest contacting a fair trade network close to you to find out how to become involved. There are many national and regional Fair Trade networks. Please check out the WFTO Members Lists to find a Fair Trade organization or national network close to you.

For individuals interested in taking action, here are a few ideas on how to support Fair Trade and resources for getting involved:

Participate in World Fair Trade Day

Educate others about Fair Trade

Purchase Fair Trade Products

Make your city a Fair Trade Town

Visit Fair Trade Producers

Organize a Fair Trade Fundraiser

Bring Fair Trade into your school, church, workplace, city, sports team

Support groups campaigning on trade justice issues


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