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 the South. 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.”

This definition was agreed in December 2001 by the main Fair Trade networks FLO, IFAT (now WFTO), EFTA and NEWS!.
Since then, it has been recognized by the European Parliament (2006), the European Economic and Social Committee (2009) and the European Commission (2009).
Read more on EU official Texts about Fair Trade

Further reading

  • The Charter of Fair Trade Principles

This statement aims to provide a single international reference point for Fair Trade through a concise explanation of Fair Trade principles and the two main routes by which they are implemented. It is also intended to set the foundations for future dialogue and co-operation among Fair Trade Organizations - and between those organisations and other actors - in order that Fair Trade fully develops its potential to secure greater equity in international trade.

Download the Charter of Fair Trade Principles

  • Business Unusual

This comprehensive document, edited by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, examines the successes and challenges of Fair Trade.

Download Business Unusual (2006) in English or order it in Dutch, French, German or Spanish by sending an email to info@fairtrade-advocacy.org

  • "Fair Trade 2007: new facts and figures from an ongoing success story - A report on Fair Trade in 33 consumer countries"

    Fair Trade is expanding like never before. That is the overall conclusion of the 5th facts and figures study regarding Fair Trade. This survey examines the structures of Fair Trade and its market evolution in a total of 28 European countries plus the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. It gives an up-to-date picture of Fair Trade activities in developed consumer markets around the world.

    The report is authored by Jean Marie Krie prepared on behalf of DAWS - Dutch Association of Worldshops,in cooperation with the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO), the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) and the Network of European Worldshops (NEWS!).


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