About Cumbria Fairtrade Network

Fair Trade or Fairtrade?

Fair Trade is a general term for trade that is fair, usually referring to producers in poor countries and as opposed to Free Trade which is often not fair. It is often used as an alternative to Trade Justice which is described more fully on the Trade Justice page.

Fairtrade describes the international system of standard setting, validating and monitoring of producers in developing countries and the commodities they produce, and of the certification of marketed products according to internationally agreed criteria. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world or the south). By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

What is the Fairtrade Foundation?

The Fairtrade Foundation is a development organisation committed to tackling poverty and injustice through trade, and the UK member of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO). The Foundation works with businesses, civil society organisations and individuals to improve the position of producer organisations in the South and to help them achieve sustainable improvements for their members and their communities. Certification and product labelling (through the FAIRTRADE Mark) are the primary tools for our development goals. The backing of organisations of producers and consumers in a citizen’s movement for change is fundamental and integral to our work.

What is the FAIRTRADE Mark?

The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent consumer label which appears on UK products as a guarantee that they have been certified against internationally agreed Fairtrade standards. It shares internationally recognised Fairtrade standards with 19 initiatives in 23 countries, working together globally with producer networks as Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO). The Mark indicates that the product has been certified to give a better deal to the producers involved – it does not act as an endorsement of an entire company’s business practices.

To carry the FAIRTRADE Mark at least 20% by dry weight of the ingredients must be Fairtrade (e.g. in Fairtrade muesli only the dried fruits and sugar can be Fairtrade, since the flakes cannot be), whereas bananas are 100% Fairtrade. In the UK over 4500 products now bear the FAIRTRADE Mark, and over 6000 worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

See the ‘What is Fairtrade? FAQs’ on the Fairtrade Foundation website.