Why You Should Always Buy Fairtrade Certified Products

Conventional trade often involves exploiting people and the environment — we discuss why you should care about what's behind the products you consume.

The Fair Trade principle is simple.

Consider this. When you – an urbanite, coffee aficionado – delight in your daily morning caffeination ritual at the local cafe, you spend roughly $3.50 on a cup of coffee. Have you wondered what percentage of this goes to farmer growing the crop itself? Roughly less than 5 cents. The bulk of the profits go to the shippers, roasters and retailers. Sounds unfair, doesn’t it? Even though much more goes into a cup of coffee than just the planting and harvesting, surely farmers deserve a slightly better deal?

“Of the $3.50 you spend per cup of coffee, have you wondered what percentage goes to the farmer growing the crop itself? Roughly less than 5 cents”

Now consider the poverty that most of these farmers live in – many live on less than $2 a day. They have to get by in living conditions that are unimaginable to us and contend with the risk of crop failure and declining prices, their livelihoods at the mercy of fluctuations out of their control. Coffee is just one example. The same is true for the supply chains of a host of products we consume on a daily basis without much thought to how they are made and by whom: chocolate, clothes, sugar, tea and so on.


Making a Change: Fairer Trade, Development & Environmental Sustainability

Students from Xitou Elementary School play near a wall surrounding the campus, built with Fair Trade premium support. Many of the students in this community are from organic tea farming families that work with Fair Trade USA through farmer associations. Xitou, Wuyuan, Jiangxi province, China. April 26, 2013

This is what informs the Fairtrade International mission.

Fairer prices and wages

Rather than being exploited by middlemen or buyers, the producers of the products which you love to consume deserve better livelihoods, which are secure and sustainable. Fair trade maintains a minimum price which protects farmers when prices fall below a sustainable level. Pay a little bit more and play your part in providing these small-scale farmers a decent, livable income.

Uplift impoverished communities

Not only do Fairtrade products help to alleviate poverty but also to develop these disadvantaged communities. Farmers receive an additional sum of money – the Fairtrade Premium – which goes to a communal fund dedicated to improving education, healthcare, farm investments and the general development of their communities. Farmers democratically decide how to spend this premium to improve their communities, businesses and environment.

Protect the environment and combat climate change

Fairtrade producers also follow strict, monitored environmental standards, encouraging practices that don’t have a destructive effect on local ecosystems, manage soil and water quality, preserve biodiversity and monitor carbon emissions: something often overlooked in conventional trade as farmers struggle to earn a decent living.

 Fairtrade In Practice: Guaranteeing Livelihoods and Improving Communities

The main factory floor at Pratibha Syntex Ltd., Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, India. Pratibha Syntex, Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, India. May 10, 2014


The Guardian documented the cases of three producers whose livelihoods and communities improved after becoming Fairtrade certified. Makandianfing Keita, a cotton farmer from Mali, spoke of how prior to becoming Fairtrade certified, his village’s cotton farmers suffered from declining cotton prices. There was a point where prices fell below the cost of production. Fairtrade helped tackle this situation and facilitate the farmers in making a sustainable living.

Similarly, Gerardo Arias Camacho, a coffee producer from Costa Rica, mentioned how coffee prices stabilized after their consortium become Fairtrade-certified. An illustration of how Fair Trade furthers environmentally friendly practices, he also commented that they reduced the use of pesticides by 80% in 10 years. 

Buy Fairtrade Certified & Make a Difference

You can make a difference by buying products with the Fairtrade mark. The mark ensures that what you consume has been made in line with rigorous

Fairtrade standards. These standards not only ensure farmer welfare and environmental sustainability but also high product quality. There are more than a thousand Fairtrade certified producer organizations in about 74 countries. Make a difference with your consumption and support the roughly 1.65 million farmers and workers around the world in Fairtrade Certified organizations by consuming their products.



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