The Fair Trade Movement



“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 Organisations engage actively with consumers, in supporting producers, awareness-raising and campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.”

Definition of Fair Trade, International Fair Trade Charter

Launched in September 2018, the International Fair Trade Charter offers an explanation of the shared vision and values of the Global Fair Trade movement. The Charter has been officially recognised by many businesses, civil society organisations and public authorities.


The Fair Trade movement shares a vision of a world in which justice, equity and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full human potential.

Photo: Kristof Vadino

The movement brings together many actors such as Fair Trade organisations, labelling initiatives, marketing organisations, national Fair Trade networks, Fair Trade support organisations, Fair Trade Towns, academic and education institutions, specialised Fair Trade importers, civil society organisations in both the North and Global South, places of worship, researchers and volunteers. All these mentioned, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers and workers, participating in trade, in awareness raising and campaigning for changes to the rules and practice of conventional international trade. Moreover, thousands of volunteers are involved in the Fair Trade movement. Their support can be seen thanks to their active participation in projects and events such as Fair Trade Fortnight, World Fair Trade Day (second Saturday each May), Fair Trade at work or just simply by their daily choices in buying Fair Trade products. The Fair Trade Movement supports and works with both labelled and unlabelled goods.

Fairtrade International works to share the benefits of trade more equally – through standards, certification, producer support, programmes and advocacy. Fairtrade producer networks in Latin America/Caribbean, Africa/Middle East and Asia Pacific regions, representing 1.7 million farmers and workers in 75 countries, co-own the international Fairtrade system. Fairtrade organizations in more than 30 countries support consumers, businesses and governments to increase commitments to sustainable production and consumption.

World Fair Trade Organization is the home of Fair Trade Enterprises. Spread across 76 countries, members are verified as social enterprises that practice Fair Trade. To be a WFTO member, an enterprise or organisation must demonstrate they put people and planet first in everything they do. It is democratically run by its members. WFTO focuses on both social enterprise and Fair Trade. Its Guarantee System is the only international verification model focused on social enterprises that put the interests of workers, farmers and artisans first.

The International Fair Trade Towns network brings together over 2000 towns committed to actively promoting and enabling Fair Trade in their communities. This includes working with citizens, public procurers, schools, universities, faith-based organisations and local businesses.

The Fair Trade movement also encompasses an active network of academics engaged in researching key areas of Fair Trade work. In various countries around the world, universities and schools can achieve Fair Trade status by embedding Fair Trade principles in their procurement, student engagement and research agendas.

Photo: Mitra Bali


As a joint initiative of Fairtrade International, the World Fair Trade Organization and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) leads the Fair Trade movement political advocacy at European Union level and contributes to the strengthening of the political advocacy capacities of the global Fair Trade movement. Read more about what we do on our What We Do page.


For a list of suppliers of Fair Trade products in Brussels, please look at our page on Fair Trade Suppliers for meetings, events and gifts.