Find answers to some of the questions that are frequently asked about Fairtrade.
If your question is not answered below please visit the Contact us page.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers around the world, but particularly in lower income countries. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the producers from low-income countries. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. Read about what Fairtrade does.
The Fairtrade Foundation is the independent non-profit organisation that licenses use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products in the UK in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade standards.
The Foundation is the UK member of Fairtrade International, which unites over 20 labelling initiatives across Europe, Japan, North America, Mexico and Australia/New Zealand as well as networks of producer organisations from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Find out more about Fairtrade International on their website.
It’s an independent consumer label you see on a product that meets the international Fairtrade standards. It shows that the product has been certified to offer a better deal to the farmers and workers involved. It does not endorse an entire company’s business practices. Read more about the FAIRTRADE Mark.
Fairtrade International (formally known as Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International – or ‘FLO’) is the international body made up of the Fairtrade Foundation and its partner organisations around the world. We’re proud to say it’s 50 per cent owned by the farmers and workers it works for. Fairtrade International is in charge of developing Fairtrade standards for products, supporting farmers and workers, and operating global certification and auditing systems.
Fairtrade International is based in Bonn, Germany, and is composed of two separate organisations:
1. Fairtrade International eV. is a non-profit multi-stakeholder association. FLO develops and reviews international Fairtrade standards and supports farmers and workers to make the most of market opportunities. Read more about Fairtrade International on their website.
2. FLO-CERT GmbH is a limited company in charge of the inspection and certification of farmers, workers and traders. It operates independently of any other interests, and follows the international ISO standard for certification bodies (ISO 65). Read more about FLO-CERT GmbH.
It’s a company that has signed a Licence Agreement with the Fairtrade Foundation and is therefore entitled to apply the FAIRTRADE Mark to specific products covered by the agreement. Find out how to become a Fairtrade Registered Licensee.
Fairtrade standards comprise both minimum social, economic and environmental requirements, which producers must meet to be certified, plus progress requirements that encourage the continuous improvement of farmers’ organisations or the situation of estate workers. Read more about the Fairtrade Standards.
This is either an association of farmers or a company dependent on hired labour that produces one or more commodities for which there are Fairtrade standards and that has been certified to meet those standards. Once certified, they are added to the Fairtrade product register and registered companies can buy from them under Fairtrade terms.
Some Fairtrade certified producer groups are able to sell their entire production under Fairtrade terms, while others sell only a very small percentage and badly need more buyers to offer a Fairtrade deal. It is only by increasing the amount sold as Fairtrade that producer groups are able to receive a steady stream of additional income to improve their lives.
The Fairtrade minimum price defines the lowest possible price that a buyer of Fairtrade products must pay the producer. The minimum price is set based on a consultative process with Fairtrade farmers, workers and traders and guarantees that producer groups receive a price which covers what it costs them to grow their crop. When the market price is higher than the Fairtrade minimum price, the trader must pay the market price.
It’s what makes Fairtrade unique. It’s an additional sum of money paid on top of the Fairtrade minimum price that farmers and workers invest in social, environmental and economic developmental projects to improve their businesses and their communities. They decide democratically by committee how to invest the premium. Read more about how the Fairtrade Premium works.
We certify products, nothing else. But we do run campaigns with local community groups aimed at boosting awareness and understanding of trade issues, and promoting the buying of Fairtrade products as a way for everyone, no matter who they are, to use the power of their purchase to make a difference to the lives of farmers and workers.
These campaigns have a set of goals and receive a certificate of congratulation from the Fairtrade Foundation when they are achieved. Once a local community declares its status as a Fairtrade Town (or university or faith group) it must be committed to continuing campaigning and awareness raising.
Read more about Fairtrade Towns
Read more about Fairtrade Universities
Read more about Fairtrade Faith Groups
The Fairtrade Foundation receives a licence fee, paid by companies using the FAIRTRADE Mark on their products, which constitutes over 85% of the Fairtrade Foundation’s income. The licence fee covers the cost of monitoring and certification which underpins the independent guarantee offered by the FAIRTRADE Mark.
Donations from passionate supporters of Fairtrade, as well as grants from organisations working with us to make trade fairer, are an essential part of the Fairtrade Foundation’s income, making up to 10% of our income.
We receive grants from DFID (Department for International Development), the European Commission, Comic Relief, and a host of other grantmakers. We also receive donations from individual supporters, schools, faith groups, workplaces, Fairtrade Towns and other community organisations.
Breakdown of Fairtrade Foundation funding in 2019
– Licensee fee from Fairtrade certified products: £10.28m – 86%
– Grants and donations: £0.86m – 7%
– Partnership and other income £0.84m – 7%
Major current funders of the Fairtrade Foundation include the following organisations: European Commission, Department for International Development, Traid, and Comic Relief.
The following organisations also provide financial support to the Fairtrade Foundation: Triodos Bank, National Union of Students, Co-op, Aldi, Waitrose & Partners, M&S and Tesco.
Thousands! We have licensed over 4,500 Fairtrade certified products for sale through retail and catering outlets in the UK. Explore a selection of Fairtrade products on our Buying Fairtrade page.
The UK is one of the world’s leading Fairtrade markets, with more products and more awareness of Fairtrade than anywhere else. Almost one in three bananas sold in the UK is Fairtrade. Fairtrade sales in 2012 were £1.57bn.
Fairtrade standards exist for the following products:
– Dried Fruit
– Fresh Fruit & Fresh Vegetables
– Nuts/Oil Seeds/Oil
– Beauty products
– Cut Flowers
– Ornamental Plants
– Sports Balls
See our Buying Fairtrade page. You’ll find Fairtrade products in supermarkets, independent shops, cafés, restaurants, through catering suppliers and wholesales, as well as online. Also check out shops that are part of BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops) which often have product ranges not available in mainstream stores. Visit the BAFTS website.
You can find everything you need to know on our How to stock Fairtrade page.
You can find resources in our Resources Library that explain the benefits of Fairtrade. Share these with the shop manager, while politely asking them to stock Fairtrade. And when they do, support them by telling others and buying the Fairtrade products!
Whatever the price of the product on the shelf, only the FAIRTRADE Mark ensures that the producers have received what is agreed as a fairer price, as well as the Fairtrade premium to invest in the future of their communities. The Fairtrade price applies at the point where the producer organisation sells to the next person in the supply chain (usually an exporter or importer). It is not calculated as a proportion of the final retail price, which is negotiated between the product manufacturer and the retailer.
You can read a fuller explanation here: Retail pricing of Fairtrade products (download)
We are often asked how much farmers receive from the retail price of a product sold on Fairtrade terms compared to the same product sold on conventional terms. While this type of comparison may appear to be a simple way to demonstrate the impact of Fairtrade from the consumer’s perspective, it doesn’t actually address the real inequities in typical conventional market arrangements.
For producers, the value of Fairtrade is not about the relationship of their selling price to that of the finished product, but to their costs of production and the conventional market price. There are also many complex and variable factors to take into account in comparing different elements of the final price paid by consumers which can be misleading. For example, the price received by a cocoa or coffee producer selling to the conventional market depends on many factors including:
– fluctuating international market prices – the producer ‘cut’ from a chocolate bar will vary according to the international price of cocoa at the time of sale and the percentage cocoa content of the bar
– whether the producer is an independent smallholder or a plantation worker
– whether the smallholder/co-operative/plantation carries out processing or other value-added operations
– whether a smallholder sells directly to a local buyer or is a member of a co-operative
– whether the co-operative sells to local traders or to auction, or exports the product on behalf of its members
– local trading conditions – these can vary greatly within a country let alone within different continents e.g. whether the industry has been liberalised or is state-regulated
– the varying costs of production from country to country
Once the primary product is sold to a certified Fairtrade importer, the costs are similar to those for a conventional product – transport and export costs; shipping and insurance; import licences and taxes; ripening or processing; packing; warehousing and distribution; marketing and promotion and; retailer overheads.
The Fairtrade Foundation has no control or influence over commercial costs or margins. And because the major costs of the finished product are incurred after the producer has sold the commodity, the return to the producer will inevitably make up a relatively small percentage of the retail price.
Some organisations, also called Alternative Trading Organisations (ATOs), 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. It can take a long time to agree new international Fairtrade standards, and for many of the products these organisations sell, there may not yet be standards available for their products.
However some other companies make their own ‘fair trade’ claims without having the independent scrutiny of the FAIRTRADE Mark, or being part of a recognised network such as WFTO. 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.
WHY ARENT HANDICRAFTS FAIRTRADE CERTIFIED?
Fairtrade certification and pricing were designed for commodity products. It is hard to adapt the Fairtrade model of standardised minimum pricing to crafts and other products made by small-scale artisans, which are unique, made of varied materials and have highly varied production processes and costs. However, Fairtrade International is working with WFTO to explore whether we could certify these products in the future.
The Fairtrade Foundation’s Commercial Relations team will guide you through the process. For more information read our For Business section of the website.
To become a certified producer group, you’ll need to contact FLO-CERT, details are on their website. Visit the FLO-CERT website.
All Fairtrade standards, including minimum prices and premiums are set by the Standards Unit at Fairtrade International and the minimum prices and premiums for each product are included in the product-specific standards available on the Fairtrade International website. The process for agreeing international Fairtrade standards follows the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Social and Environmental Labelling, where stakeholders (including producers, traders, NGOs) participate in the research and consultation process and final decision making.
There are worldwide prices for some products such as nuts, cocoa and juices, but most products have country-specific or regional prices. This is because production costs vary greatly around the world and prices for new products and origins have been set on a case-by-case basis. As the demand for new prices grows, the Fairtrade International Standards Unit is increasingly using regional rather than country-specific prices.
This means new prices cover as many farmers/workers as possible and avoid the need for new research into pricing for the same product every time a new producer group is identified in a new country. If production costs vary significantly in a region a consensus is reached between the farmers/workers and other stakeholders, in order to set a price that is acceptable for the whole region.
Around 70% of the world’s coffee farmers are small-scale growers, and they face particular disadvantages in the market place. Fairtrade’s mission is to make trade work for marginalised or disadvantaged producers, and therefore there is a global agreement that the system should champion purchase of sustainable coffee from organisations of small coffee farmers explicitly.
Many Fairtrade products, such as coffee, tea, flowers, sugar and rice are 100 per cent Fairtrade. However there are other products, such as cakes, biscuits, ice cream and chocolate, in which the ingredients are a mixture of Fairtrade ingredients not grown in the UK (such as sugar, cocoa, honey and vanilla) and ingredients sourced more locally from UK or European farmers (such as milk, flour or eggs). These are known as ‘composite products’.
To take account of this, the Fairtrade Foundation has developed requirements for where and how the FAIRTRADE Mark may be used based on Fairtrade International policy.
The main principles of these requirements are:
– 100 per cent of any ingredient that can be Fairtrade certified, must be Fairtrade certified.
– Any product may carry the FAIRTRADE Mark if more than 50 per cent of its total ingredients (calculated by dry weight) are sourced from Fairtrade certified producer organisations.
– If the total Fairtrade certified ingredient content is less than 50 per cent, the product may still be eligible if it has one significant Fairtrade ingredient that represents more than 20 per cent of the product’s dry weight. An example of a significant ingredient might be an orange juice drink made of 20 per cent Fairtrade certified orange juice and the rest water.
More information about product certification and these requirements can be found in the Fairtrade standards.
Download the Fairtrade International Composite Policy
For most Fairtrade products including bananas, fresh fruit, coffee, flowers, nuts, rice, spices and others, the Fairtrade system requires these products to be physically traceable. This means they must be labelled and kept separate at every stage of their journey from the farm to the shop shelves. However, when we attempted to introduce similar rules for products such as cocoa, sugar, tea and juice, we discovered that there is very little physical traceability in the way these sectors work.
For example, the chocolate industry is currently not always able to keep Fairtrade cocoa and non-Fairtrade cocoa separate at every stage of production from the cocoa field to the final bar. Cocoa beans are delivered in bulk by farmers and routinely mixed during shipping and in the manufacturing process.
Rather than ruling out these sectors and losing Fairtrade sales opportunities for thousands of small farmers, Fairtrade has set up a system to ensure that manufacturers that want to use the FAIRTRADE Mark must buy the precise amount of produce they need from Fairtrade farmers that will be used in their final product. This system is known as ‘mass balance’.
So, if a chocolate bar uses 500 tonnes of cocoa, then the manufacturer must purchase 500 tonnes of cocoa on Fairtrade terms, including the payment of an additional $200 Fairtrade Premium per tonne. This means that even if the beans are later mixed with non-Fairtrade beans – as often happens – Fairtrade cocoa farmers still get 100 per cent of the benefits, and the better deal that the FAIRTRADE Mark stands for.
Our vision is a world in which all producers enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future. We support farmers and workers, particularly those in lower income countries, to increase their share in global trade. Fairtrade’s stringent inspection and audit system is in place to ensure the amount of Fairtrade product manufactured exactly matches the amount of Fairtrade product purchased.
Smallholder producers in conventional world trade suffer from volatility of prices and unfair trading practices. On top of this, they are increasingly on the front line of climate disaster, and the marginalised are often hit hardest by problems they did not cause. They contribute to global food security and to their national economies, yet increasingly farmers are now suffering through increasing crop failures, water shortages and natural disasters and this in turn is jeopardising the future of agricultural and artisanal supply chains.
The Fairtrade movement promotes a fairer model of trade, which encourages sustainable production and consumption. A recent study on coffee and climate disaster by Le BASIC has shown that fair trading practices improve producers’ livelihoods by ensuring they receive a higher share of value created in the supply chain, helping to significantly mitigate environmental and societal costs borne by producer communities in the Global South. Trade justice is therefore a vital step towards achieving climate justice; prioritising the needs of small-scale farmers and taking into account their increased vulnerabilities.
However, Fairtrade alone cannot meet the scale of the challenges posed by climate emergencies and the inequality in value chains; the current global economic system urgently needs to be transformed.
Fairtrade mainly certifies small-scale farmers who sign up to rigorous standards, which include environmental criteria such as, protecting the natural environment, banning the use of harmful pesticides, minimising the use of energy, especially from non-renewable sources, and making environmental protection part of farm management. Fairtrade also organises training for farmers so they can learn how to grow in harmony with the local environment and avoid creating monocultures. Many producers also invest their Fairtrade Premium – the extra money they get for selling on Fairtrade terms – in various projects aimed at restoring natural areas or reforestation. Fairtrade is a choice for nature, and a way of farming that safeguards both humans and the environment.
By choosing Fairtrade, shoppers in the UK are ensuring that farmers and workers receive a Fairtrade Premium to invest in economic, social and environmental products of their own choice. It means they can implement a range of environmental protection programmes which contribute to the range of solutions needed to mitigate against the effects of climate catastrophes and ultimately benefit us all.
To give two examples, tea workers in India have invested some of their Fairtrade Premium into replacing the traditional wood-burning heating with a solar-panelled system. Coffee farmers in Costa Rica have used the Premium to replant trees to prevent soil erosion and have invested in environmentally friendly ovens, fuelled by recycled coffee hulls and the dried shells of macadamia nuts. This means that they no longer need to cut forest trees and so can preserve the rainforest and the oxygen they produce.
By choosing Fairtrade products, you can help farmers and workers preserve their own environment and allow them to have a positive social benefit in their community.
Climate disasters hit farmers in lower income countries hardest. This includes people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. Through the Fairtrade Premium farmers and workers have a little extra to use when harvests fail, or if they need to change to growing a different crop if the climate becomes unsuitable for the way they currently farm.
The International Fair Trade Movement called on the Parties of the UNFCCC at COP24 to recognise fair trading policies and practices as an important component of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Read their joint Policy Paper, ‘Trade Justice: A key component of building smallholder farmers’ climate resilience’, which outlines five concrete steps needed to urgently transform the global economic system so that it works for people and planet: transparency & binding regulation; financial support; farmer-focused trainings and technical expertise; investment into agronomical research; and tax justice.
Not necessarily. Fairtrade standards require sustainable farming techniques and require higher prices to be paid for organic products. Moreover, Fairtrade Premiums are often used to train producers in organic and sustainable techniques like composting and using recycled materials, which can help them to convert to organic production in the future.
There has been much concern among consumers over GMO crops. Many worry about the risks of environmental contamination and it has been argued that producer dependence on use of GM seeds could outweigh the benefits of the crops.
The Fairtrade system’s environmental standards and guidelines currently forbid the use of GM seeds by farmers, and encourage active monitoring in nearby fields. However, it may not always be possible for small farmers to prevent contamination from a neighbouring field, and therefore we do not label Fairtrade products as 100 per cent GM free.
Read the Q&A on Fairtrade standards and Genetically Modified Organisms
The FAIRTRADE Mark was established specifically to support the most disadvantaged producers in the world by using trade as a tool for sustainable development. We do recognise that many farmers in the UK face similar issues as farmers elsewhere, not least ensuring that they get a decent return for upholding social and environmental standards in their production.
However there are also some major differences. For example, farmers in lower income countries often have little infrastructural support, social security systems or other safety nets available if they cannot get a fair price for their products. The Fairtrade Standards and the Fairtrade Premium safty net, are specifically focused on enabling producers in lower income countries tackle poverty through trade. If the Foundation diverted its attention from this mission, this could potentially end up diluting the benefits of the system for the very farmers and workers we were established to support.
We agree that the principles behind fair trade may provide useful insight into the debate on improving the situation for UK producers. However, the Foundation is not convinced that a labelling scheme is the right solution to the problems affecting UK farmers. A plethora of similar sounding labelling initiatives could result in confusion for consumers and undermine both the local cause and the global situation we care so deeply about.
Rather than yet another label, the Foundation believes a more rigorous investigation by government and the industry itself is needed. This should look into the causes behind the problems being experienced by domestic producers, so that more robust and wide reaching policy tools can be identified – to benefit all affected farmers and to reassure all concerned shoppers.
Buy both! We recognise that many farmers in the UK face similar issues to farmers elsewhere, not least ensuring that they get a fair return for upholding decent social and environmental standards in their production. We therefore support the promotion of sustainable production for UK farmers but our specific role will continue to be supporting farmers from lower income countries.
Fairtrade isn’t in competition with UK farmers and buying local and buying Fairtrade need not be mutually exclusive. Fairtrade focuses mainly on products such as coffee and bananas that can’t be grown in temperate climates or products that can’t be grown in sufficient quantities in the EU e.g. grapes and oranges. For some items such as honey and flowers, local supply is not able to meet the total demand – it has been estimated that both UK flowers and honey account for less than one-third of the UK market – and so imports are necessary to meet demand. Other products, such as apples, are seasonal in both the UK and places like South Africa, and for as long as shoppers want to buy apples out of season, there is a demand for fruit from other countries.
Often the choice facing shoppers is not necessarily between local honey and Fairtrade certified honey but between Fairtrade honey and conventional honey imported from, say, the US or China. It is up to each person to weigh up these choices and shop accordingly.
Ultimately, it is up to each person to do what they see as being in the interests of people and planet. What is important is that we all try to make informed choices wherever possible. We are committed to raising awareness of ways in which buying products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark is empowering and strengthening the future for farmers and workers in lower income countries.
If your company or organisation is selling or expressly promoting Fairtrade certified products you can put the FAIRTRADE Mark on your website and promotional materials in accordance with our guidelines in our Promotional Materials Manual. Find out more about using the FAIRTRADE Mark here.
We’ve got loads of promotional materials available to download from our Resources Library.
The Fairtrade Foundation has a limited number of producer images that are available to use in accordance with copyright agreements. Visit our Resources Library for more details.
We receive many requests every day and are unfortunately unable to accept every invitation.
If you are a group with or working towards Fairtrade status, we will do our very best to accommodate your request. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your event.
If you are a school or community group, you may wish to check if there is a Fairtrade Town, City or other community campaign in your area, and contact the local representative. If you are unsure if there is a Fairtrade group near you, please contact us here. Schools can also find details of organisations and resource people you can contact on the Fairtrade Schools website.
Other organisations can also provide speakers on Fair Trade themes. Traidcraft has a nationwide network of speakers, whilst Shared Interest have ambassadors who can talk about their work providing finance to marginalised producer organisations.
The chocolate industry is currently not always able to keep Fairtrade cocoa and non-Fairtrade cocoa separate at every stage of production from the cocoa field to the final bar. Cocoa beans are delivered in bulk by farmers and routinely mixed during shipping and in the manufacturing process.
Rather than not engaging with the chocolate industry and losing Fairtrade sales opportunities for thousands of small farmers, Fairtrade has set up a system to ensure that chocolate manufacturers that want to use the FAIRTRADE Mark must buy the precise amount of cocoa they need from Fairtrade farmers that will be used in their final product.
So, if a chocolate bar uses 500 tonnes of cocoa, then they must purchase 500 tonnes of cocoa on Fairtrade terms, including the payment of an additional $200 Fairtrade Premium per tonne. This means that even if the beans are later mixed with non-Fairtrade beans – as often happens – Fairtrade cocoa farmers still get 100% of the benefits, and the better deal that the FAIRTRADE Mark stands for.
Research shows that this is what consumers care most about: that every Fairtrade chocolate bar they buy helps deliver a better deal to Fairtrade farmers and workers in the cocoa industry.
Fairtrade’s purpose is to support farmers and workers in lower income countries to increase their share in global trade. Fairtrade’s stringent inspection and audit system is in place to ensure the amount of Fairtrade chocolate manufactured exactly matches the amount of Fairtrade cocoa purchased.
We have worked hard on our rules for messaging on packaging to reflect the new system, in line with trading standards and EU Directives. We also work with chocolate manufacturers to increase their purchases on Fairtrade terms with this arrangement. That is making a huge difference to cocoa farmers in being able to tackle the problems and poverty they experience. But we need to go further.
The more we demand Fairtrade chocolate, the more Fairtrade cocoa beans the companies will be encouraged to purchase, ensuring more benefits to farmers and more sales of Fairtrade cocoa.
The Fairtrade Foundation is unable to provide samples. However, if you contact Fairtrade registered licensees directly, they can often provide samples of tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate.
While we are very pleased that so many students produce dissertations and projects on various aspects of Fairtrade, limited time and resources make it impossible for us to reply to requests like this, or to agree to individual interviews or respond to personal questionnaires. For school and undergraduate student projects, we have put as much information on our website to enable you to find answers to most questions we are asked as part of these projects. In particular, visit the resources pages and visit the producer pages of the website and the Fairtrade Schools website.
Fairtrade International (FLO) has told us that farmers and workers groups are receiving increasing numbers of requests to host visits from the general public. Many groups regret that they are unable to host visits because of their lack of resources and the disruption caused to their work. If there is a clear and definite positive outcome for the producer organisation such as media coverage or project funding arising from a visit, we would be happy to discuss your needs – please get in touch.
A growing number of Fairtrade certified producer groups are diversifying into tourism as an alternative source of income. They include:
South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia: The PASEO Programme helps farmers develop tourism as an additional source of income. The programme has three initial tours with more to follow: Orange Tour to Zebediele Citrus Estate in Limpopo Province, South Africa,Coffee Tour to Kilimanjaro Native Co-operative Union (KNCU) in Tanzania and Coffee Tour to Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union in Ethiopia.
Kahawa Shamba means ‘Coffee Farm’ in Swahili. Set in the beautiful foothills of Kilimanjaro, on a ridge overlooking the Weruweru Gorge, Kahawa Shamba is a community-based project half-owned by KNCU, a Fairtrade certified coffee co-operative. The project was implemented to bring in extra income via tourism to the small-scale coffee farmers in the area and was developed by Tribes along with partners Cafédirect, the charity Twin and the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
India: Makaibari Tea Estate in Darjeeling hosts tourists.
Central and South America
Nicaragua: Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign organises study tours including visits to Fairtrade coffee producer groups.
Costa Rica: Coope Santa Elena is one of nine coffee co-operatives that are members of the Coocafe Co-operative Union. They have a visitor programme and support local study tours.
Ecuador: El Guabo Banana Growers’ Co-operative. ‘The real Ecuador experience. An opportunity to meet local people, learn about Fairtrade and organic banana production and to experience real life at the plantation.’ Email: email@example.com Telephone:+593(0)9 432 7740.
Mexico: US coffee company Higher Grounds Trading Co. organises customised tours to visit Fairtrade coffee co-ops in Chiapas.
Belize: The Toledo Ecotourism Association runs guesthouses and walks in small communities where farmers sell their cocoa under Fairtrade terms.
Like other standard-setting organisations, we understand that standards systems sometimes need to make exceptions. At Fairtrade, any exceptions we make must meet the following principles:
– We carefully consider all exceptions to ensure that overall, there is benefit for producers or workers.
– We assess the risk to the credibility of Fairtrade and how to manage this risk.
– We apply the exceptions to all in the supply chain that might be affected by a particular situation.
– We ensure that the exceptions do not set a precedent that we would not want to see again.
– We ensure exceptions are limited either by time or by volume.
We closely monitor all the exceptions we make at the Fairtrade Foundation. Depending on the situation, exceptions are approved by our Certification and Oversight Committee (CAOC). The CAOC is a group of independent assurance experts who meet regularly to scrutinise the activity of the Fairtrade Foundation’s Product Integrity team. This team review and uphold our licensees’ compliance with the Fairtrade Standards.