Approx 790 words.

When you choose Fairtrade, you’re helping make a difference to farmers all over the world. Fairtrade is a global movement that guarantees producers a fair deal. By making sure they’re paid fairly, it means that the producers who make many of our delicious goods, from chocolate and coffee to tea and bananas, are empowered through trade, not aid.

“Fairtrade…is freedom. It’s communication, it’s sustainability, it’s empowerment…it’s everything for us in a world that’s so competitive.”

Diomedes Rodriguez, member of Coobana banana cooperative

From the best ways to support Fairtrade, to how it’s transforming communities, here’s everything you need to know.

Fairtrade is about empowering farmers and workers

When you buy products with the Fairtrade Mark, you’re supporting the farmers and workers’ human rights, giving them the tools to fight injustice.

That’s because Fairtrade ensures producers get:

  • a fair price for their product through the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium
  • fair terms of trade when selling their products
  • good working conditions that are socially fair, economically responsible and friendly to the environment, which is ensured through the Fairtrade Standards
  • freedom from forced or under-age labour

“Before Fairtrade, farmers struggled on their own, and the area was in poverty. Now, we support the farmers, children have parks to play in and community centres have been renovated.”

Emmanuel Hall, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association

How does Fairtrade help communities?

On top of the Fairtrade Minimum Price which farmers are paid their crops, there’s also the Fairtrade Premium, an extra sum of money that gets put into a a communal fund for the producers.

The producers work out between themselves the best way to spend it, which is often on funding community initiatives like new a health centre, transport for workers, or improved education opportunities.

In Tilimuqui, Argentina, the Fairtrade Premium generated from sales of the locally made Fairtrade La Riojana Malbec, combined with extra financial support from Co-op, funded a new secondary school in 2010, which today is attended by the children of the La Riojana winemakers.

In 2020, the school celebrated it the 10 year anniversary of its opening! Since then, it’s grown to 79 staff and over 530 students, and continues to be a valuable part of the community.

Shopping at Co-op is an easy way to support Fairtrade

Did you know that Co-op was the first supermarket to stock Fairtrade in all our stores? That was back in 1998, and we’ve been proud to support Fairtrade ever since.

We make it easy as possible for you to buy Fairtrade, and with Co-op stores in every postcode stocking a huge range of Fairtrade product, you can help make a difference and support international producers every time you do your shopping. 

Fun fact: in 2015 we sold our 50 millionth bottle of Fairtrade wine – making us the biggest Fairtrade wine retailer in the world!

How does Fairtrade help farmers develop sustainably?

Fairtrade producers have to adhere to Fairtrade’s rigorous environmental standards, encouraging farming practices which are more eco-friendly, sustainable and limits the strain on the environment.

For instance, Grace, who grows stunning Fairtrade roses for us in the Naivasha region of Kenya, works on a farm that holds itself to high sustainability standards, from capturing rain water to supporting reforestation projects throughout the country. 

As well as looking after the local environment, choosing Fairtrade also helps fight against the effects of climate change. It supports vulnerable farming communities experiencing climate change’s effects by offering on-the-ground training and support on ways to mitigate the damage it can have.

Fairtrade keeps the consumer informed

The Fairtrade Mark is a logo which helps you understand what you’re buying, and when you see it, you can trust you’re making an ethical purchase that will benefit the producer, their community, and their local environment. 

So when you buy our Fairtrade bananas, with the Fairtrade Mark, you can shop in good faith knowing you’re supporting workers like the ones at the Volta River Estates banana farm in Ghana.

Fairtrade is a whole lot more than a logo, though – it’s a huge global movement. It’s made up of a staggering 1.7 million farmers, campaigners, schools, business, organisations like the Fairtrade Foundation, and brands like the Co-op. Together, we’re all helping make sure that more farmers get paid a fair deal for their work. So the next time you go shopping, choose Fairtrade, and together we can help change lives.

Emily Pearce
Food Policy Officer – Fair Trade

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. I read, some years ago, that producers have to pay a fee to be considered for “membership” to the fairtrade community, Is this still the case?

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  2. Thought fair trade was in the Coop long before 1998. Maybe there was a different name for it.

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  3. When is Fairtrade Fortnight this year?

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#TheCoopWay, Food