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What is fair trade?

Fair trade seeks to transform the lives of poor producers in the developing world by enabling them to use their skills and resources to build sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their communities. It seeks to challenge injustices in trading structures and practices that so often lead to the exploitation and marginalisation of poor people.

Producers benefit from:

  • access to new markets
  • better prices
  • decent working conditions
  • regular orders
  • the development of skills
  • participation in decisions and
  • advance payments.

Fair trade also exercises a high degree of care towards the environment and for products carrying the Fairtrade Mark, producers also receive a premium to spend on community development.

Through commitments to long-term relationships and building the capacity of producer groups, fair trade gives producers the confidence to plan and invest for the future and the ability to compete in international or local marketplaces. Consumers benefit from being able to buy quality products, knowing that others have not been exploited through the production process.

By buying fair trade products consumers can also send powerful signals to businesses and governments about their concern for justice and ethics in trade. This consumer pressure encourages other organisations to develop fair trade ranges and challenges businesses to improve their wider impacts on society.