The impact of our work

We support small scale farmers and workers who are marginalised from trade in a variety of ways and carefully monitor the impact of Fairtrade on these communities.


As a certification scheme, the Fairtrade Standards, which demand minimum commitments and requirements such as on pricing, provide one of our primary and also most visible tools for empowering small farmer and worker organisations.

Fairtrade as a certification is much more than merely an environmental certification, it is the only and best ethical and social certification that really ensures social and environmental, ethical and economic impact, and therefore human impact.

’ Enrique Calderon

Coffee farmer, Coopeagri.

But beyond the standards and certification, the Fairtrade system also provides direct and indirect support to farmers and workers and their organisations to deepen social and environmental sustainability.

Fairtrade has a committed programme of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) that supports internal learning and improvement and helps build the evidence base for assessing the difference we make. Read about how Fairtrade monitors and measures impact.

This programme is based on our ‘Theory of Change’ and ensures we gather the right data and information on what difference Fairtrade makes to the lives of farmers and workers.

  • Harniti, member of the cooperative Koptan Gayo Megah Berseri, is picking cherries in her coffee garden.

    The difference that Fairtrade makes

    Emerging evidence through impact assessments has found that Fairtrade can make a significant difference to farmers’ and workers’ lives.

  • our theory

    Our theory of change

    A 'Theory of Change' describes the change that an initiative (organisation, network, project, etc.) wishes to see in the world and its understanding of how it will contribute to that change.

  • A man does checks in a warehouse

    How Fairtrade monitors and measures impact

    Fairtrade has a committed programme of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) that supports learning and improvement.

  • school kids walking

    Where Fairtrade needs to do more

    Fairtrade is an evolving system committed to learning how our approach can improve to make a bigger difference for farmer and worker communities in developing countries.

  • evaluation studies

    Impact research and evaluation studies

    As part of our commitment to understand the impact of our work better, the Fairtrade system commissions 2-3 outcome and impact evaluations each year.

  • Coffee

    The History of Fairtrade

    2019 marks 25 years since Fairtrade certified products first became available to buy in the UK. Here, we look back over the Fairtrade timeline, from when it was established in 1992 right up to the 25th anniversary of the FAIRTRADE Mark, which we celebrate in 2019.