What is Fairtrade?
The prices producers are paid not only covers their production costs and allows them to develop the skills and knowledge to improve their businesses, but also includes a ‘social premium’ which benefits their communities and the environment, and ensures a sustainable living.
Fairtrade also guarantees a fair wage for workers, decent working conditions, health and safety standards, and the security of long term contracts, as well as protecting children from enforced labour.
What this means in terms of impact on individuals’ lives was brought home by a sesame seed producer from Nicaragua, Sandra Rojas, when she visited us. She explained that to her, Fairtrade means "the difference between civilised life and bare existence". For example, shoes on her feet, her children going to school, having enough to eat, and crucially being able to plan.
For her village, Fairtrade means a functioning health clinic, roads and transport and a community building.
The Fairtrade Foundation strives to ensure these better standards are realised, and award their consumer label, the Fairtrade mark, to products which meet these internationally recognised standards.