Fairtrade aims to improve the lives of small producers in developing nations by paying farmers a fair price for their work.
- Fairtrade-labelled products such as coffee, tea and chocolates are available in supermarkets at competitive prices.
The term Fairtrade has been floating around consumer consciousness for the last five to 10 years. While you may have heard of Fairtrade goods such as coffee and chocolate, you perhaps assume they’re still niche products only available in ‘alternative’ shops and websites.
Fairtrade is also a concept that’s often confused with organic and other premium-price produce. In fact many supermarkets now sell Fairtrade products, and they’re not always more expensive than their standard equivalents.
So what are Fairtrade products, and what’s it all about?
The principles of Fairtrade
What sets Fairtrade apart is its overriding aim to improve the lives of small producers in developing nations by guaranteeing income security and shortening the supply chains. The idea is that when you buy fairly traded tea or coffee, for example, the financial benefits won’t be pocketed only by retail giants or major producers.
According to non-profit organisation Oxfam, Fairtrade is about “giving third-world farmers and workers a fair go by paying the producers a fair price for their work”. It involves a labelling system that guarantees Fairtrade standards are met at every stage of the production, and ensures that the premium generated from the products will go back to the farmers and their communities.
Please note: this information was current as of August 2007 but is still a useful guide today.