Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. Fair Trade certification is a market-based model of international trade that benefits over one million farmers and farm workers in 58 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Fair Trade certification enables consumers to vote for a better world with their dollars, simply by looking for the Fair Trade Certified label on the products they buy.
Fair Trade Certified Principles
- Fair price: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.
- Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.
- Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
- Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.
- Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.
- Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers' health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.
Are Fair Trade Certified products also certified organic?
Fair Trade standards require sustainable farming techniques and offer price premiums for organic production, but Fair Trade certification does not guarantee that a product was organically grown.
However, Fair Trade farmers are more likely to use sustainable, traditional growing methods rather than apply (expensive) agrochemicals, and producer groups frequently use Fair Trade revenues to train members in environmentally sustainable farming practices and to finance the cost of organic certification.
Fair Trade and organic certification often go hand in hand. Currently over 60% of Fair Trade Certified coffee in the U.S. is also certified organic. Even non-organic Fair Trade farms are required to use integrated pest management systems that emphasize alternatives to chemical use.