Scaling up the Fairtrade system

Cocoa farmers from Conocado, Dominican Republic, weighing Fairtrade cocoa beans.
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Fairtrade shows you can and indeed have to intervene to manage markets for the good of the wider economy and society. It's a working model that can feed into the rethinking of mainstream policies following the 2008/2009 banking crises, and where national and local governments must show leadership – which is why we're aiming for the world's first Fairtrade Olympics in 2012.

Rosie Boycott
Chair, London Food

Expanding the reach of Fairtrade and deepening its impact for producers is the heart of Tipping the Balance, our strategy to 2012.

Building on our strong grassroots support, we are always seeking new ways to strengthen our systems, standards and strategic influence with businesses.

Critical to this is broadening our impact in the poorest places, particularly in Africa. The second year of our Fairtrade for Development in Africa project, funded by Comic Relief, totalling £5m over five years, supported progress on a programme to develop opportunities for farmers and workers in Malawi to join Fairtrade. The same programme also funds support and technical assistance for existing Fairtrade producers, assessment of the impact of Fairtrade for producers and the development of the Africa Fairtrade Network - a network of Fairtrade producers set up to influence Fairtrade strategy and a member of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International. We also supported the establishment of Fairtrade Labelling in South Africa through Comic Relief. We offered advice and shared expertise and experience of Fairtrade processes and licensing. Now shoppers in South Africa can buy Fairtrade coffee, wine and tea from six companies.

We've helped Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International launch Making a Difference, their global strategy for Fairtrade, aiming to strengthen, broaden and deepen Fairtrade.

We have been developing Fairtrade standards to open the doors of Fairtrade to producers of jute, rubber, pulses, marine products, silk, soya and vegetables. Through innovative partnerships we are exploring collaboration with other certification schemes, such as the Alliance for Responsible Mining for gold, and supporting our colleagues in FLO in exploring the joint labelling of forestry products with the Forestry Stewardship Council.

Influencing change

The popularity of our grassroots social movement shows the wide public support for a change in the way global trade is conducted, in favour of the world's marginalised producers and workers. In this wider context we continue to be active in the Trade Justice Movement, in 2008 supporting a postcard campaign urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown made trade rules fairer.

In 2009 we ran a postcard action with the World Development Movement asking Baroness Ashton, the new EU Trade Commissioner, to review EU trade policy so that it prioritises development, sustainability and human rights.

What we said:

By 2012 we want the global Fairtrade system to be known as a beacon of good practice in trade and development, enabling the voice of the poorest to be heard at the highest level.

How we did:

We worked with Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International to develop a new global strategy for Fairtrade and supported the establishment of Fairtrade Labelling South Africa.

Fairtrade offers new opportunities for small-scale producers in Rwanda, and we have made great achievements in this respect, especially in the coffee industry. As a country where most people depend on agriculture, we must figure out how to move faster in this direction, in order to positively impact the economic well-being of rural communities.

His Excellency Paul Kagame
President of Rwanda