What Is Fair Trade?

What Is Fair Trade?

Fair trade means fair wage, for all parties involved in the production of the end product, whether that may be a pair of sneakers, a cute cocktail dress, or your morning coffee.

Does fair trade mean organic?

No. Organic certification can be a costly process and farmers in developing countries don't always have the means to certify their crops. However, Fair Trade Certified imports are around 50% organic and 100% GMO-free these days as farmers are investing their profits into organic production. The more we support fair trade as a whole, the more local farmers are able to commit to organic production.

Shop Women's Fair Trade  |  Shop Men's Fair Trade

Who certifies fair trade goods?

There are two different types of governing organizations when it comes to fair trade. The first are organizations that operate via a membership policy, looking at the holistic view of the organization, not just the production/manufacturing process. The second is certifying organizations that concentrate on the regulation of fair trade practices in production of goods.

Membership Organizations

Organization:   Fair Trade Federation

Website:           fairtradefederation.org


Available to businesses located within the United States and Canada, FTF requires the sale of 100% fair trade products in almost all cases (with the exception of education materials) in order to quality for membership.


Fair Trade Federation logo

Organization:   World Fair Trade Organization

Website:           wfto.com


The World Fair Trade Organization expands beyond producers to include marketers, exporters, importers, wholesalers, and retailers. WFTO operates in over seventy countries, offering membership across Africa & the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America & the Pacific Rim.


World Fair Trade Organization logo

Certifying Organizations

There's a few of organizations dedicated to the growth, enforcement, and certification of the fair trade market. In order to use these certified labels producers and manufacturers must register with the governing organization, meeting their fair trade requirements. Here's some of the big guys...

Organization:   Fair Trade USA

Website:           fairtradeusa.org


A 501 (c) (3) non-proft organization, Fair Trade USA is the leading certification label in theUnited States. They "envision a day when Fair Trade products are readily available in stores across the country, when U.S. consumers can choose a 'Fair Trade Lifestyle' and shop responsibly in every product category."


Fair Trade USA logo

Organization:   Fair for Life

Website:           fairforlife.org


Operating with non product-specified standards, Fair for Life applies their certification to a diverse array of goods from food commodities to non-food raw materials and finished goods.


Fair For Life logo

Organization:   Fairtrade International

Website:           fairtrade.net


Fairtrade International works with fair trade organizations around the world to coordinate certified labeling. Headquartered in Germany, they work with three producer networks, twenty-five fair trade organizations, along with FLO-Cert, another major inspection and certification organization.


Fairtrade International logo

Photo Credit: McKay Savage

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