What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade is a Movement, not a brand.
Fair trade is a social justice movement that seeks to empower producer communities, by radically redefining power structures through people-centered, democratic trading alternatives. Fair trade is more than just trading: it proves that greater justice in world trade is possible. The fair trade movement values cooperative work and democratic, transparent decision making as a critical component of empowerment. It builds peoples’ power in the face of globalization and highlights the need for change in the rules and practice of conventional trade.

Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering mutually agreed upon trading conditions to and securing the rights of marginalized producers and workers.

While there are many definitions of what constitutes “fair trade”, some basic fair trade principles are:

  • Long-Term Direct Trading Relationships
  • Payment of Fair Prices and Wages
  • No Child, Forced or Otherwise Exploited Labor
  • Workplace Non-Discrimination, Gender Equity and Freedom of Association
  • Democratic & Transparent Organizations
  • Safe Working Conditions & Reasonable Work Hours
  • Investment in Community Development Projects
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Traceability and Transparency


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