World Fair Trade Day

Saturday 9 May was the seventh annual World Fair Trade Day, when the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO, formerly IFAT) and its members promote global awareness of fair trade. The second Saturday of May every year is a great opportunity to celebrate the 100% fair trade organisations and companies, known as Alternative Trading Organisations (AT0s).

Fair trade supporters around the world held a 100% fair trade breakfast. Why not encourage your local European Parliamentary candidates to sign our pledge for fair trade, in advance of the European Elections on 4 June?

Fair trade or Fairtrade?

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.

Alternative Trading Organisations


Alternative Trading Organisations (ATOs) often have a different way of doing business that delivers much more back to producers than traditional business models. They may be part-owned by the farmers, with farmers represented on their boards, so there is very significant producer involvement in the brands. They generally work in close partnership with farmer organisations – helping to strengthen their capacity and increase their understanding of the consumer market – and also work hard to raise awareness of trade justice with consumers.

Here are some case studies of people benefitting from Fairtrade through working with ATOs:

Amen Mtui © Cafedirect

Amen Mtui, Coffee Liquorer, KNCU, Tanzania

While in most places coffee tasting is known as ‘cupping’, at Kilimanjaro Native Co-operative Union (KNCU) in Tanzania, coffee tasting is called ‘Liquoring’. Amen Mtui is a Coffee Liquorer at the cupping laboratory at KNCU, which was expanded and improved with the help of Cafédirect's Producer Partnership Programme (PPP) .

The improved facilities, along with the skills of the liquoring team, mean that KNCU is able to consistently provide Cafédirect with great tasting and high quality coffee. Cafédirect helped to train Amen, and his expertise was key in pinpointing the flavour profile for Kilimanjaro fresh ground coffee. He continues to ensure that the highest quality beans are selected for this single origin gourmet coffee. This work and effort was recognised when Kilimanjaro won one Gold star at the 2008 Great Taste Awards.

This success makes sense because, as Amen points out, ‘our best quality coffee goes to Cafédirect.’ The long-term relationship between KNCU and Cafédirect means that ‘we have been able to keep investing in our farms and improve farmers’ quality of life’, adds Amen.

To learn more about Amen Mtui and KNCU, visit


Celia Gonzalez, Beekeeper, Apicoop, Chile

Mother-of-five Celia began keeping bees in 1999 and now has 25 hives. She is a member of Apicoop, the Chilean co-operative that supplies Traidcraft with honey.

‘As well as developing myself as a person, being a member of the board has given me a chance to develop professionally,’ she said. ‘That’s one of the reasons I was motivated to finish high school. I attended night school every day of the week from 6pm to 10.30pm. I wanted to do it because otherwise there wasn’t a strong motivation for my own children to finish high school. For the future, my dream would be for all my children to finish high school.’

Apicoop sells honey for its 120 members in the eastern region of Valdivia, and for about 500 other beekeepers elsewhere in the country. All export sales are to fair trade organisations. Honey from Apicoop is sold in jars and used in Traidcraft’s Geobars.

Beekeepers for Apicoop talk freely about the huge difference Fairtrade benefits have made to their lives. They have access to low-interest loan schemes, and the opportunity to share resources and experience to develop their honey-producing capacity and increase their standard of living.

As Celia says, ‘With the money from selling honey through Traidcraft we have been able to achieve many things that maybe, from your point of view, would not be considered important, but for us it has meant development.’

Use Traidcraft’s Fairtrade honey for your World Fair Trade Day breakfast. Visit

Some of the Alternative Trading Organisations that the Fairtrade Foundation works with are:




No 100% Fairtrade breakfast would be complete without a delicious cup of coffee or tea. Award-winning ATO Cafédirect have one to suit every taste – check out their range at And here’s their advice on how to make the perfect cuppa:

  1. Make sure to use fresh water as this has plenty of oxygen to release the full flavour of your tea or coffee.
  2. Remember to only boil the amount of water you need for your cuppa, so you can have a positive effect on your energy use.
  3. Warm your cafétiere, teapot or cup and use the appropriate amount of water per person.
  4. When your water has boiled, leave it for a moment before pouring, so it won't scorch your coffee or tea and wreck the flavour.
  5. Leave to brew, add milk and sugar if you like. Drink and enjoy!
Fair trade pledge

  • What?

The Fair Trade Pledge is a pledge for European Parliamentary candidates to sign, indicating their support for the fair trade movement and stating that they will ensure that the needs of marginalised producers and workers are reflected in European Union (EU) policy and that sufficient EU support is given to fair trade projects, allowing producers to work their way out of poverty.

  • Why?

European Union (EU) countries provide over half of all development aid and form the world's largest trade bloc. As a result, the EU is pivotal to efforts for more and better aid, the resolution of debt problems, and trade justice. This pledge gives the fair trade movement an opportunity to build good relationships with future Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and to encourage them to take action for fair trade and trade justice once they are elected.

  • When?

The European Parliamentary elections take place on Thursday 4 June in the UK, so you can approach your local candidates anytime until then.

  • How?

Download the pledge form here.

Write to, or email your MEP candidates using our template letter inviting them to sign the pledge. Or why not invite them to sign it at an event you are organising for World Fair Trade Day and invite the local press along too?

Alternatively, you could organise a hustings for your local MEP candidates and find out how they stand on this and wider trade justice issues. You may already have sent a postcard to EU Trade Commissioner Baroness Ashton calling for a new approach to European trade policy that works for people and the planet – if you haven’t, order postcards here.  Alongside this, the Trade Justice Movement has prepared an MEP lobby pack for use around the European Parliamentary Elections – it is packed full of useful information on the campaign and tips on how to contact your MEP candidates. Read more and download the pack here

If you persuade a candidate to sign the Fair Trade Pledge, please let us know. Send us an email with their name, party or group and any statement they have made on fair trade. Their details will then be added to the Fair Trade Advocacy website.