Fairtrade facts and benefits

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. The scheme ensures that commercial companies pay stable fair prices for products.

This enables producers to plan, improve their businesses, develop skills and increasingly, adapt to climate change.

As part of the scheme, Fairtrade provides a social premium, life transforming funds to be used to benefit the community through schools, roads, health clinics and more.

"Our mission is to connect disadvantaged farmers and workers with consumers, promote fairer trading conditions, and empower farmers and workers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives."

Fairtrade Foundation 2020,

Fairtrade Foundation 2020

Fairtrade facts

Fairtrade delivers many benefits to producers and consumers around the globe, below are some facts and figures.*

*Sources: The Fairtrade Foundation and The Fairtrade Foundation blog.

Fairtrade producers

  • The Fairtrade system currently works with over 1.70 million farmers and workers.
  • There are 1,707 Fairtrade producer organisations across 73 countries.
  • More than 2,400 companies have licensed over 35,000 Fairtrade products
  • Fairtrade sales reached over £8.9 billion (2018 figure) from 158 countries.
  • On average each Fairtrade producer organisation receives £108,000 in Fairtrade premium
  • 25% of all Fairtrade farmers and workers are women and Fairtrade Standards are designed to prevent gender inequality, increase female participation, and empower more women and girls to access the benefits of Fairtrade.
  • 5 hectares is the average size of the plot cultivated by a Fairtrade farmer.
  • Small producer organisations spend 50% of the Fairtrade premium in services for farmers and the provision of agricultural tools and training and 50% in education services and housing improvements.
  • Environmental protection is ingrained in Fairtrade: farmers have to improve soil and water quality, manage pests, avoid using harmful chemicals, manage waste, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity.

Fairtrade and UK consumers

  • Fairtrade products are now sold in more than 120 countries across the world with over 4,500 products available for purchase.
  • 82% of UK shoppers care about Fairtrade (2018 figure) and and 84% believe in the importance of third-party certification.
  • 93% of the UK public recognise the Fairtrade mark and 83% trust it when deciding whether a product is ethical.
  • One in four shoppers now regularly buy several Fairtrade products and one in three bananas sold in the UK are Fairtrade.
  • In 2018 (latest figure available) over £34 million worth of Fairtrade premium was generated in sales in the UK.

Fairtrade and UWE Bristol

We know that Fairtrade makes the University a better place in so many ways:

  • It helps students to be aware of their place in the world and their responsibilities as global citizens. It really does provide a practical illustration of 'Good Economics', one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, to which UWE Bristol is a signatory.
  • For students, staff and visitors, our support of Fairtrade makes the University feel like a place people want to study work and visit. Put simply, they feel that it is a good thing to do!
  • Fairtrade helps our Hospitality and Procurement teams to meet their Sustainability Plan targets for ethical purchasing, and similarly the Students' Union at UWE to meet the demands for ethical products from our students.
  • Fairtrade provides a powerful and multi-faceted subject of study for our teaching, and its application has been steadily growing to include more subject areas from Film to Events Management, from Foundation year to master's students.
  • Fairtrade helps us to support the City of Bristol through the Bristol Fairtrade network and to influence the higher education sector as a whole through the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges.

Fairtrade campaigners in the UK and Bristol

  • From Fairtrade towns, cities and boroughs, to Fairtrade schools and universities, there are over 10,000 groups campaigning to make trade fair. 
  • In the first nine months of 2019 there were 16,000 local events, 100,000 petition signatures, and 6,000 local media stories in the UK alone. And there are Fairtrade towns popping up all over the world, from Canada to India.
  • Bristol is a Fairtrade city and has its own Fairtrade organisation, Bristol Fairtrade, which organises a range of events and activities including the annual South West Fairtrade Business Awards, at which UWE Bristol and The Students' Union at UWE are regular participants and finalists.

Going for gold

Find out about Bristol's ambition to be a Gold Sustainable Food City.

Contact us

Contact the Sustainability Team or The Students' Union at UWE Green Team if you have any queries.