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I’m always asked about Fairtrade, how it actually makes a difference and how choosing Fairtrade at Co-op not only supports communities around the world, but our local communities here in the UK too.

Here are the questions I’m asked most:

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is an independent certification label. It’s part-owned by representatives of farmers and producers and makes sure these producers get a fair price for their goods.

For most products sold under Fairtrade terms, a minimum price is set to protect Fairtrade farmers and producers. An additional Fairtrade Premium is paid on top of this, which producers invest democratically in their businesses or communities, providing essentials from fertiliser and farm equipment to water pumps, schools and health clinics.

Fairtrade Foundation is a charity that makes sure producers comply with regulations and requirements covering everything from environmental protection to safe workplaces and gender balance.

Co-op Membership has changed

When did Fairtrade start?

Fairtrade Foundation was founded in the UK in 1992 by organisations such as CAFOD, Traidcraft and the Women’s Institute.

The fair trade movement, however, really began as long ago as 1946 when a woman from Pennsylvania in the United States called Edna Ruth Byler started buying needlework from low-income women in Puerto Rico.

What does the Fairtrade Mark mean?


The Fairtrade Mark is a registered certification label licensed by the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK. Ingredients in products carrying the Fairtrade Mark are fairly sourced from from certified producers in developing countries.

The Fairtrade Mark was launched in the UK in 1994 and our Co-op has pioneered fairly traded products ever since.

Why does the Co-op support Fairtrade?

Our Co-op continues to champion Fairtrade as the values of the Fairtrade movement reflect our own founding co-operative values and principles. Fairtrade is the only “ethical” label to:

  • make sure a minimum price and premium is paid to producers
  • include the producers in the decision-making process
  • continuously show it’s the most effective scheme for producers

How has Co-op recently supported Fairtrade?

Last year all Co-op chocolate confectionery began to carry the Fairtrade Mark and we made the decision to source all the cocoa we use across our entire Co-op Brand range under Fairtrade terms.

We have also recently announced that all Co-op African roses are now Fairtrade, all 35 million stems sold a year.

Digital Engagement - Fairtrade #TheCoopWay Q1 - Blog post - Roses Banner

How does choosing Fairtrade at Co-op support communities locally too?

Our local communities in the UK also benefit from Co-op Fairtrade sales thanks to our Co-op Membership.

When Co-op Members buy select Co-op products, including Co-op Fairtrade products, they earn 5% back for them and 1% back for their local community.

Co-op Members can choose which local community cause to donate their 1% community reward to on their online Co-op Membership account.

See website for full terms and conditions.

Where can I find Fairtrade resources for schools and community groups?

Find free Co-op Fairtrade resources on our website, including a printable:

Find more at and find our Fairtrade film and others on our YouTube channel.

Brad Hill
Fairtrade Strategy Manager

Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. […] continuing and strengthening our commitments on Fairtrade […]

  2. […] wine and now, we can announce that we’re switching more of our Co-op South African wines to Fairtrade terms from May […]

  3. […] What is Fairtrade and how does it help? • We’re strengthening our commitment to Fairtrade producers #TheCoopWay • All Co-op African […]

  4. that is very rude boyz

  5. Hi
    I think Fairtrade is fantastic and am getting involved with Fairtrade Fortnight by visiting schools to hold lessons, holding a coffee morning and talking about Fairtrade with my Colleagues in store. With its importance I don’t u understand why so many stores have stopped selling our own chocolate bars and not all stores have our own brand chocolate buttons. Our range seems focused on Cadbury and Mars.

    • Hi Debbie, That’s wonderful, we think it’s so important to talk to schools about it too. If you want to let us know which store is your local we can look into the chocolate situation for you. ^Siobhan

  6. […] Find out more about Fairtrade from Brad, our Fairtrade Strategy Manager. […]

  7. Thanks Brad, as always perfectly put.


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