What Fairtrade Does


Fairtrade is a simple way to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow the things we love. We do this by making trade fair.

Fairtrade is unique. We work with businesses, consumers and campaigners. Farmers and workers have an equal say in everything we do. Empowerment is at the core of who we are.  

We have a vision: a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future.

Our mission is to connect disadvantaged farmers and workers with consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower farmers and workers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives.


Fairtrade sets social, economic and environmental standards for both companies and the farmers and workers who grow the food we love. For farmers and workers, the standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, for companies they include the payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects of the community’s choice.


The Fairtrade MarkWe independently check that our standards have been met by the farmers, workers and companies that are part of products’ supply chains. And in order to reassure consumers that this has happened, we license the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products and packaging to signal this. When all the ingredients that can be Fairtrade in a product are, the product carries this Mark:

Fairtrade sourcing program markCompanies can choose to source only one ingredient on Fairtrade terms for their ranges, in which case products may carry this Mark:


Shopper demand has driven companies to start thinking about sustainability. When considering whether to partner in some way with a business-own sustainability scheme, Fairtrade compares the way the scheme works to a set of core Fairtrade principles. This is to ensure we only work with schemes that share our values. These principles are at the heart of Fairtrade’s mission and activities, and include ensuring that farmers and workers are paid a fair price, working to support strong, flourishing producer organisations and enabling democratic decision-making by farmers and workers on their business and community development.


We mobilise our grassroots support from the British public to demand fairer treatment in trade deals towards farmers in developing countries who supply us with so much of our food.  


With our Fairtrade partners in origin, we work on specific issues from Bolivian coffee farmers tackling the plant diseases linked to climate change, to cocoa-growing communities creating the Women’s School of Leadership in Côte d’Ivoire. 

Michelle Gillian, from the Impact Directorate at the Fairtrade Foundation, went to visit the Women’s School of Leadership school in Cote D’Ivoire to find out more about the programme and what opportunities it is bringing to women in the area.

“When I visited the programme earlier this year, the second three-day course was just starting. We got the opportunity to speak with some of the students attending to hear how attending the school had changed their lives.  As the course had just started, I was not expecting the palpable energy and enthusiasm that greeted me in this hot and humid room. The students, aged from mid – 20s,  to mid-50s, couldn’t wait to stand up and tell us their stories. 

For example, Madeline, a 40-year-old cocoa farmer with three children, felt so empowered after the course that she conquered her fear of public speaking, stood up in front of her fellow farmers at a cooperative meeting and spoke about the importance of promoting the rights of women. Seeing her passion, the cooperative appointed her to an official role allowing her the opportunity to promote women’s rights further in her community.

Or take Therese, whose father died when she was young. Her uncle received the land that should have rightfully been hers. In rural Cote D’Ivoire, it remains difficult for a woman to inherit or own her own land. Women often leave school and marry young, many under 18. Even though most of the work on the farm is done by women, men continue to make all the decisions. Following her attendance at the training course, Therese went to her uncle and asked for her plot of land back. He refused. So, she went to the local sub-prefect who arbitrates on such issues, and he made a decision in her favour. She got her land back allowing her to have her own farm and make her own money, helping her and her family.”


Through our Fairtrade Towns, Schools and Faith groups, and through our campaigns, we drive awareness of the issues of unfair trade and ask the public to choose Fairtrade.

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