Fair Trade

coffee producers

Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. Fair trade contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions for, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers—especially in the Global South.

Fair trade organizations, backed by consumers, actively support producers, raise awareness, and campaign for changes to the rules and practices of conventional international trade.

Fair trade is a tool that enables individuals, businesses, institutions, and governments to stand up for trade justice, workers’ rights, and social and environmental sustainability.

  • As individuals, we can actively engage with the world through our day-to-day purchases. As advocates, we can ask others to do the same and put pressure on businesses, institutions, and our governments.
  • For businesses, fair trade is an opportunity to bring transparency to supply chains; understand, mitigate, and address issues; and use purchasing to positively affect the lives of others.
  • For public institutions, such as universities, sourcing fair trade products provides a way to use considerable purchasing power to shift markets by demanding that suppliers offer fair trade. These institutions raise awareness about fair trade and engage the next generation of consumers.
  • For our municipal, provincial, and federal governments, fair trade is a powerful tool to drive development and support efforts already underway on human rights, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Climate Agreement.

For producers, fair trade creates opportunities. It ensures that a fair price is paid and that workers rights are in place. It ensures that the environment is respected, and that farmers can both reduce their impacts and adapt to an already changing climate. Fair trade creates stability through stable pricing, pre-financing, and reliable contracts. Finally, the extra premium attached to fair trade products helps people invest in their communities, healthcare, education, infrastructure, and training. Fair trade aims to create an inclusive global economy where the private sector, the public sector, farmers, workers, and governments work together to ensure everyone can lead a life of dignity, and that no one is left behind.

By growing consumer and institutional demand, we can establish better business practices and larger scale adoption. Our aim is to address the age-old issue that fair trade has always faced: Supply heavily outpaces demand. This limits fair trade’s effectiveness for producers and our ability to shift the system. If we can drive demand, we can drive change. With strong grassroots support, we can push the private sector and encourage greater government leadership.