a jeweller at work

Ways of working with Fairtrade FAQs

Becoming a licensee

Can I become a licensee? 

If you source a commodity that we work with, then yes! It’s easy to become a licensee. To see what’s involved, take a look at our infographic, or drop us a line. 

Get in touch

Getting Started with Fairtrade infographic

Are there different ways of working with Fairtrade, other than responsible sourcing?  

Yes. We work with over 400 businesses, from retailers and global brands to small businesses, and all in different ways. To meet your range of challenges, we offer a range of options – sourcing, expertise and programmes. Responsible sourcing enables you to create products that contain Fairtrade ingredients and communicate this using the relevant FAIRTRADE Mark. You can also partner with us on Fairtrade programmes to bring about large-scale change for farmers, workers and their communities, while strengthening your own business. We can work with you to help identify which issues your supply chains are most vulnerable to, the best ways to address them and who to work with. 

Or we can offer our expertise. We’ve got decades of experience when it comes to connecting with farmers and workers to develop sustainability solutions and we’re eager to share what we’ve learnt. We can support your business to reduce risk, use resources wisely and focus on sustainability issues. We can create effective interventions to support you in building sustainability into your business. 

Read more about Fairtrade Programmes

Read more about Fairtrade Expertise

My business is very large and has complex supply chains – is Fairtrade a suitable option? 

Sourcing on Fairtrade terms, no matter how large your supply chains, will allow you to: 

  • Understand your supply chains, address sustainability challenges and talk about the change you are effecting with conviction and confidence.  
  • Benefit from 25 years of expertise, strong standards, and tried and tested systems. We now work at scale with over 400 businesses, including retailers and global brands and we have a deep understanding of the needs of farmers and workers. 
  • Strengthen your reputation – we’re the world’s most trusted and recognised ethical mark with 25 years of experience in delivering real change to producer livelihoods.  
  • Meet growing demand from consumers for ethical products. 
  • Communicate your values to your customers. 
  • Safeguard your supply – Fairtrade has a range of supply options across hundreds of product types. 
  • Meet your responsible sourcing and sustainability goals, work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and comply with Modern Slavery legislation.  

Our team of experts also offers services going beyond certification, with Programmes and Expertise. From developing a sustainable supply chain strategy to understanding your impact, we are here to help with the issues that matter to you. 

How does Fairtrade help the environment? 

We know that farmers are unable to think about the environment when they are struggling to earn enough money for their next meal or to send their children to school. We’re the only certification that fights for social, economic and climate justice as well as putting farmer empowerment at its centre. Fairtrade protects the local environment, offers training on environmental and biodiversity issues, and supports farmers in their work to be more resilient to the climate crisis. Environmental protection is ingrained in Fairtrade. A third of the Fairtrade Standards are environmental, covering areas like soil and water quality, managing pests, avoiding the use of harmful chemicals, managing waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting biodiversity. 

Read our blog: 8 ways Fairtrade farmers protect the environment 

Why is Fairtrade the best certification option? 

We’re the most well-known and trusted certification in the UK with 80 percent of consumers trusting the FAIRTRADE Mark and more than nine in 10 consumers recognising it. This backs up our high purchase preference, with 77 percent of consumers having picked a Fairtrade product over a non-Fairtrade alternative. Our purchase preference is driven by the power of our global community, with campaigners, supporters, towns, schools and businesses all standing alongside farmers and workers, all fighting for a fairer deal. Our movement creates a ripple effect – higher incomes for farmers can allow them to tackle global challenges such as human rights, gender equality, climate and biodiversity. Fairtrade can harness the real power in communities, co-operatives and producer networks. The Fairtrade system is truly global and led by farmers, meaning that they are able to take the decisions over their own work and lives. What does this mean for you? Stronger supply chains, and more resilient business partners. Only Fairtrade has the Minimum Price, a safety net against the market price dropping too low, and the highest additional premium of any certification. Not only that, but Fairtrade is independently audited and sets strict Fairtrade Standards on things like water use. Over a third of the Fairtrade Standards relate to the environment.  

Once I partner with Fairtrade, how can I make the most of it in my marketing?  

We have quotes from farmers and workers, impact statements and case studies that you can use to show your consumers that they are making a purchase choice that will make them feel proud. There is a business marketing toolkit for your use, with tips and assets to support you in marketing your products and sharing the stories of the producers who have produced them. There are many occasions throughout the year when the Fairtrade community comes together to make some noise, so keeping abreast of Fairtrade campaigns is a good idea.

Go to the business marketing toolkit

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What is Fairtrade’s mission? 

Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries. Fairtrade is the only certification fighting for social, economic and climate justice as well as putting farmers’ empowerment at its core. 

How do I create a Fairtrade product? 

Take a look at our sourcing page or follow this infographic to start bringing your ideas to life. We look forward to hearing from you!

Getting Started with Fairtrade infographic

Can you tell me more about the market for Fairtrade?

We have over 400 businesses and brands working with us to put Fairtrade products on the market, but consumers still want to see more Fairtrade products available in store. In fact, 73% care that stores offer a wide range of Fairtrade products. Fairtrade products are in every major store and there is an increasing interest in ethical and eco-friendly consumption in coffee shops and stores across the UK.  77% of consumers have actively chosen a Fairtrade product over a non-Fairtrade alternative. 

Other than Sourcing, Programmes and Expertise, how can my business work with Fairtrade?

Simply email commercial@fairtrade.org.uk

Or call our Business Engagement team on 0203 301 5001, and we’ll see if we have a solution that works for you.

How can I stock Fairtrade products?

You can contact our commercial partners directly, have a look in our procurement catalogue.

Or for further information contact Business Engagement on 0203 301 5001 or email commercial@fairtrade.org.uk.

Practical and operational questions 

What is the cost of Fairtrade certification?

Fairtrade is a holistic model tackling extreme poverty with fairer wages for workers and farmers. We believe they deserve a decent price for their hard work and so in some instances sourcing Fairtrade ingredients can cost more to your business. What exactly is the cost and where does it go? The cost of Fairtrade for businesses is made up of Minimum Price + Premium + Licence Fee + third party certification. The most significant of these is the Fairtrade Premium, which goes directly to farmer and worker co-operatives for them to spend as they choose within their community.  

Fairtrade products are not necessarily more expensive for consumers, although it does increase purchase preference. 77% of consumers have chosen a Fairtrade product over a non-Fairtrade alternative. 

How is Fairtrade regulated?

81% of people trust third party certification when doing their shopping. FLOCERT is the independent third party auditor used by Fairtrade. They perform both announced and unannounced audits so that Fairtrade customers can trust what they are buying. It also means that businesses know that if any issue is found in their supply chain, it will be tackled responsibly and quickly. Hear from Tate & Lyle here about how FLOCERT helped to flag and improve cases of child labour in Belize. Fairtrade is also a member of ISEAL and follows their global sustainability standards. 

I would like to know more about Fairtrade Standards 

Fairtrade Standards are designed to support the sustainable development of small producer organisations and agricultural workers in developing countries. Fairtrade farmers must follow these guidelines if they are to sell on Fairtrade terms. The Standards incorporate social, economic and environmental criteria. In fact, around a third cover environmental practices. The Standards contain both core requirements and development requirements aimed at improving practices that benefit producers and their communities. Traders are also covered by the Standards, underscoring the commitments companies and businesses must make to contribute to sustainability in their supply chains and operations. 

Read more about Fairtrade Standards

How is Fairtrade governed?

50% representation of farmers and workers disadvantaged by global trade.

50% representation of national Fairtrade organisations.

The Fairtrade market

Do consumers actually want Fairtrade?

Yes! 77% of consumers have actively chosen a Fairtrade product over a non-Fairtrade product in their shopping. All UK retailers have made Fairtrade products available for their customers. With a growing trend towards eco and ethical shopping, particularly in younger generations, Fairtrade is the best brand to align with for genuine impact, and consumer appeal. And we have a solid grassroots movement of campaigners, schools, churches and towns who continually bang the drum on why shoppers should choose Fairtrade. 

Which well-known brands already work with Fairtrade?

There are over 400 brands and businesses already working with Fairtrade. They include major retailers like the Co-op, Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl and M&S, traders, cutting-edge new brands and household names like Mars, Ben & Jerry’s, Tony’s Chocolonely, Propercorn, Hun Wines.

What does my licence fee pay for?

By far the majority of your investment goes directly into producers’ hands in the form of support and training. It also assists in funding campaigning to increase awareness of Fairtrade and to generate sales, as well as advocacy work aimed at our government. Your licence fee, when used alongside those of thousands of other businesses and global grant funding, can achieve significant economies of scale offering real impact.

What are the rules for using the FAIRTRADE Mark on pack?

You need approval from us at the Fairtrade Foundation to use the FAIRTRADE Mark on pack or in promotional materials prior to publication.  It is direct and straightforward to ask for this approval, simply email us commercial@fairtrade.org.uk 

We’ve teamed up with consumers to produce a guide to using the FAIRTRADE Mark on pack. The guidelines aim to increase visibility of Fairtrade and to give clarity to consumers about your Fairtrade commitments. 

All licensees receive a detailed Mark Guidelines pack, but here are some useful rules to bear in mind:  

  • The FAIRTRADE Mark should always be on the front and preferably on the bottom left of the pack, visible to the consumer when placed on a shelf. 
  • The FAIRTRADE Mark should be used in full colour whenever possible, but is also available in black and white. 
  • The appropriate Fairtrade Statement should be placed on the back of the pack, including the list of Fairtrade ingredients. 
What operational and customer service support will I get if I join Fairtrade?

We have a dedicated and friendly team of Business Engagement Officers, available Monday to Friday 9.30-5.30pm. Please contact us on commercial@fairtrade.org.uk or 0203 301 5001. 

We’ll ensure you have one key point of contact who you can get in touch with for any operational queries. 

We understand that a robust and sustainable supply chain is important to you. We can provide supply chain support and help you identify suitable supply of Fairtrade products. 

We can support you if Fairtrade ingredients are unavailable or hard to find. 

We can provide training and support to help you provide your product and supply chain information, and to submit your products and sales reports to the Fairtrade Foundation for approval. 

What evidence do you have that customers want Fairtrade?

We update our consumer preference statistics on a quarterly basis. Please contact us if you wish to discuss these in more detail.
Get in touch at commercial@fairtrade.org.uk or 0203 301 5001. 

Fairtrade for farmers

What is the impact Fairtrade makes?

We drink 2.25 billion cups of coffee a day worldwide. If all coffee were Fairtrade, farmers would get an additional £5.5 million per day to develop their communities and environment. Take a look at our Annual Impact Report to see what difference Fairtrade has made for over 1.7m farmers and workers. But the difference is best heard from the farmers and workers themselves. Hear about Edith’s life as a cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire: 

Hear from Segundo and his family about their efforts to adapt to climate change in Peru: 

Which is better for coffee farmers, direct trade or Fairtrade?

They don’t have to be mutually exclusive! Check out this case study from Cafédirect to see how they have fantastic long-term relationships with their coffee producers while they source on Fairtrade terms  

How do you support producers to work with Fairtrade?  

As well as receiving the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Fairtrade Premium, farmers and workers have access to free training and advice from their producer network, tailored to address their specific requirements. During the COVID pandemic, farmers were able to use the Premium funds flexibly and as farmers are experiencing climate shocks, Fairtrade is supporting them in their struggle to be more climate resilient.

What is the Fairtrade Premium used for?

The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum of money, paid on top of the selling price, that farming cooperatives invest in projects of their choice. Members decide together how to spend the Fairtrade Premium to reach their goals, such as improving their farms, businesses, environment or health and education in their community. Listen to tea farmers explaining the difference the Fairtrade Premium makes to them.