What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade Store and FTF Logo

Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system.

Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers lack economic opportunity and often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods.

Fair trade is much more than just trade. At the core of the fair trade model is a direct, cooperative, and in-depth relationship between buyers and sellers that keeps all of the principles of fair trade at the forefront.

What Does that Really Mean?

Fair Trade is much more than a trading system. It’s a holistic system of connecting people along the entire trade route: from the devoted farmers and talented artisans who make and grow the products, to the dedicated members of organizations who develop and import the products, bringing them to the global market, to retailers like us and customers like you – every step is important.

Meant to be a long-term system, not short-term charity, Fair Trade works to make communities on all levels sustainable. Fair Trade Organizations are invested in the people they work with, helping them meet nutritional needs, get access to health care, receive financial training, and a variety of other projects, depending on the needs of the community. Sometimes they may need a new sewing room, or a daycare facility, a clean-water well, irrigation system or they may even have enough for a basketball court! The impact of Fair Trade goes way beyond a fair, living wage; it empowers those living in poverty, especially women who are often the most marginalized, to create positive change in their lives and their communities.

What does it mean to be a Member of the Fair Trade Federation?

As members of the Fair Trade Federation, we make the deepest commitment to 360° fair trade. This means that fair trade is at the core of every business decision we make. We undergo rigorous screening and strive to create positive change through all of our work: socially, economically, and environmentally. We work with small farmers and artisans in holistic partnerships built on trust.