Unfortunately, this is quite confusing. So to paraphrase the great Sheldon Cooper: “all Fairtrade is fair trade, but not all fair trade is Fairtrade”. And “fairly traded” that’s a term all on its own.
Fairtrade vs fair trade
Fairtrade is a brand of the Fairtrade Foundation, the organisation that governs the fair trade movement in the UK. In other countries, different organisations are in charge, if you want to read more, then check out this page. Essentially if you’re buying something that is CERTIFIED as Fairtrade or fair trade, it will conform to the following principles:
- Fair prices paid to producers and workers, that allows them to live, and not just survive.
- Safe working conditions, no child labour and non-discriminatory working conditions
- Two sides, fair trading practices
If you see a product that carries the Fairtrade Foundation certification, or certification from another fair trade governing organisation, you can be sure it conforms to these standards.
So what is fairly traded?
Fairly traded can mean a lot of things, there is little to no policing behind it. Although this doesn’t mean that the products aren’t providing the things outlined above. But without a certificate to guarantee this claim, you should double check.
You should ask:
On what is the claim of being “fairly traded” based?
Can the products be traced through their supply chain back to their original source?
What safeguards are in place to ensure that this is monitored and the standards are adhered to, consistently
You may see other variations of this, these include “fair-trade”, “fair trade” and many more. Anything without a certificate should be a red flag.
How can you be sure your products are genuine Fairtrade products?
To be 100% certain that your products are genuine Fairtrade also look for the Fairtrade Foundation logo (see right). If you’re in doubt, ask. Anyone selling genuine Fairtrade products will be able to answer any questions you have.