100% of our crop is sold to the Fairtrade market. The current price of coffee in the conventional market doesn't cover the cost of producing the coffee.

Guillermo Vargas Leiton, coffee farmer, Costa Rica

What is Fairtrade?

A Fair Price

The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent consumer label which appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.

For a product to display the FAIRTRADE Mark it must meet international Fairtrade standards. These standards are set by the international certification body Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO).

Producer organisations that supply Fairtrade products are inspected and certified by FLO. They receive a minimum price that covers the cost of sustainable production and an extra premium that is invested in social or economic development projects.

The Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation licenses the FAIRTRADE Mark to products in the UK which meet FLO standards. The supplier (brand-owner or main national distributor) must sign the Foundation’s Licence Agreement which provides a licence to use the Mark. Read more.


Development agencies recognised the important role that consumers could play to improve the situation for producers. By buying direct from farmers at better prices, helping to strengthen their organisations and marketing their produce directly through their own one world shops and catalogues, the charities offered consumers the opportunity to buy products which were bought on the basis of a fair trade.

Fairtrade Labelling was created in the Netherlands in the late 1980s. The Max Havelaar Foundation launched the first Fairtrade consumer guarantee label in 1988 on coffee sourced from Mexico.

Today FLO co-ordinates Fairtrade Labelling in 20 countries including the UK.

FLO contact details

FLO International
Bonner Talweg 177
D - 53129 Bonn
T +49-228-949230
F +49-228-2421713

E-mail: info@fairtrade.net
Web: www.fairtrade.net

Pictured: Packing mangoes, Ecuador.

Fairtrade guarantees a fair price to producers in the Third World, not subject to the free market which often traps them in an endless cycle of poverty. Minimum health, safety and environmental standards must be complied with, and no child or forced labour can occur. Producers are small scale, and organised into co-operatives. They are paid enough to enable them to invest in basics such as education, healthcare and clean water, as well as better equipment with which to make their living.

The UK is the world's largest market for Fairtrade goods, with about £190m worth sold last year out of global sales of over £500m which benefited over 5 million people in more than 50 countries. Best known for coffee, tea and bananas, there are now over 1500 Fairtrade products including clothing, sports balls and flowers, as well as spices, fruit juices and wine.

Full details are available online at www.fairtrade.org.uk