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 a minimum stable fair price 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 benefit the community through schools, roads, health clinics, and more.

Fairtrade standards

To guarantee that Fairtrade standards have been met, FLOCERT, an independent organisation, carries out checks and accredits the products with the Fairtrade logo.

Learn more about what Fairtrade does

"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, here 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.

The difference that Fairtrade makes

Economic benefits

  • The Fairtrade Minimum Price is supporting the farmers that grow products such as cocoa, coffee and bananas to become more income-secure and less vulnerable to poverty.
  • Fairtrade is gradually empowering communities to organise into cooperatives and improve their negotiating position within the supply chain. This can enable them to negotiate a higher price for their product than the conventional market price.
  • Fairtrade improves access to agricultural services like organic training and premium markets. As a result, farmers have an incentive to farm better and sell more.
  • Additional income through the Fairtrade Premium is supporting better farming, strong cooperatives and investment in collective assets to improve crops and yields.

Environmental benefits

  • The Fairtrade Standards cover key areas for environmental protection, including energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction, soil and water quality, pest management, biodiversity protection, prohibition of genetically modified organisms and harmful chemicals, and waste management.
  • The Fairtrade Standards promote training for farmers, which can include advice on switching to environmentally friendly practices, such as developing nutrient-rich soils that support healthy plants and encouraging wildlife to help control pests and diseases.
  • For some farmers, the Fairtrade (and organic) Standards have resulted in switches to less toxic pesticides, which, as well as being better for the environment, have a positive impact on producers’ health.
  • Fairtrade can provide access to finance, support, and expertise in tackling climate change, supporting long-term environmental sustainability.

Social benefits

  • Farmers and workers who choose to participate in Fairtrade often feel a real sense of control over their future with greater power and voice.
  • Fairtrade can support workers to realise their rights and negotiate the terms and conditions of their work through trade unions and collective bargaining.
  • Fairtrade can provide producer support and expertise in deepening gender equality.
  • For workers employed on Fairtrade certified plantations, investment of the Fairtrade Premium into education, better housing, better schools, and medical facilities is highly valued.
  • Investment of the Fairtrade Premium by co-operatives in community development projects is improving the quality of life of rural communities.
  • Achieving development impact is a long-term process and results vary significantly based on regional context, product, supply chain specifics, and external factors.

Fairtrade and UWE Bristol

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

  • It connects students and staff with the wider world and issues of social and climate justice and raises awareness of 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 for learning and 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.

Contact us

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

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