Fairtrade refers to products that carry the FAIRTRADE Mark, the independent consumer label which appears on UK products as a guarantee that they have been certified against internationally agreed Fairtrade standards. Products that do not yet have Fairtrade standards, for example jute, hand crafts, jewellery and some food products can also be fairly traded.
Alternative Trading Organisations (ATOs) – sometimes known as 100% fair trade companies – are purely dedicated to trading fairly and have been doing so for many years before Fairtrade certification was established. You can find these organisations listed at WFTO or BAFTS. The process of agreeing international Fairtrade standards can take time, and for many of the products these organisations sell, there may not yet be standards available to certify their products.
There are, however, some other companies making their own ‘fair trade’ claims without having the independent scrutiny of the FAIRTRADE Mark, or being part of a recognised network such as IFAT. You need to ask what these claims are based upon. If you want to be sure that farmers and workers are receiving the better deal offered by Fairtrade, always look for the FAIRTRADE Mark.