bananas2.jpg          coffee1.jpg           tea1.jpg          cocoa1.jpg
Pictures courtesy of the Fairtrade Foundation

What is Fairtrade?

The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent consumer label which appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.

For a product to display the FAIRTRADE Mark it must meet international Fairtrade standards. These standards are set by the international certification body Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO).

Producer organisations that supply Fairtrade products are inspected and certified by FLO. They receive a minimum price that covers the cost of sustainable production and an extra premium that is invested in social or economic development projects.

The Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation licenses the FAIRTRADE Mark to products in the UK which meet FLO standards. The supplier (brand-owner or main national distributor) must sign the Foundation’s Licence Agreement which provides a licence to use the Mark.


Development agencies recognised the important role that consumers could play to improve the situation for producers. By buying direct from farmers at better prices, helping to strengthen their organisations and marketing their produce directly through their own one world shops and catalogues, the charities offered consumers the opportunity to buy products which were bought on the basis of a fair trade.

Fairtrade Labelling was created in the Netherlands in the late 1980s. The Max Havelaar Foundation launched the first Fairtrade consumer guarantee label in 1988 on coffee sourced from Mexico.

Today FLO co-ordinates Fairtrade Labelling in 20 countries including the UK.

Fairtrade v Rainforest Alliance

You can find an independent comparison of Fairtrade with Rainforest Alliance by the Organic Consumers Association via our Links page, or click here