Guide

Ethical trading

Dealing in Fairtrade products

One way in which your business can help ensure that producers' basic rights are respected and sustainable development is promoted is by dealing in Fairtrade products.

Fairtrade products are those which carry the Fairtrade label known as the Fairtrade mark. They will have been certified by the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) as conforming to standards which improve the development of disadvantaged producers in developing countries.

There are two sets of standards. The first is designed to protect the rights of smallholders organised into co-operatives and the second applies to workers on plantations and in factories.

These standards cover a range of basic rights including wages, health and safety, trade union membership and housing. They also cover issues including environmental standards. For example, FLO certification ensures producers are not only fairly paid but also receive a premium to invest in community development.

Fairtrade products are mainly agricultural commodities, eg tea and sugar, though manufactured products including footballs, clothing and beauty products have now been certified.

It is estimated that UK sales of Fairtrade products reached almost £1.64 billion in 2016. Many large organisations have adopted the standards so they can benefit from the increased consumer awareness of and desire for Fairtrade products.

Fairtrade isn't only for large organisations. By dealing in Fairtrade products you can bring significant benefits to your business as well as helping ensure a fair deal for producers. Your business can also:

  • promote its corporate social responsibility credentials
  • attract ethically motivated customers
  • attract ethically motivated investors

Find out more about Fairtrade.