Fair Trade

From when ? Where ? What purpose ?

       The first fair trade project were developed in the 40s in the United States, few years later in Europe. In order to contribute to the well-being and the development of poor countries.

But it was not until 1964 that the political dimension of “Fair Trade” was born, especially at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); a new conception of development aid (advantageous access for southern countries) and an international recognition that has since continued to evolve …

Fair Trade “What is it ?”

Fair Trade is an alternative to the conventional trading system, in other words, the dominant world trade. It advocates the reduction of inequalities and thus the development and smooth functioning of the market for small producers. The ultimate goal is to enable them to improve their living conditions by becoming actors of their own development model. Beyond this economic aspect, fair trade also ensures respect for social, cultural and environmental rights.

“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade organisations have a clear commitment to Fair Trade as the principal core of their mission. They, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade ” (Consensus FINE, 2001).

Standards and rules; basic principles

Fair Trade is based on a series of norms and values aimed at establishing a satisfactory and fair trade relationship for all.

The main criteria:

  • economic aspects: market access, sustainable relationship between economic partners, fair remuneration of producers’ work (minimum price and advance payment), transparency and traceability of the product prices;
  • social-cultural aspects: systematic refusal of any form of slavery or forced labor (including the exploitation of children), gender equality, application of national laws and labor standards (working time, minimum income, minimum age, etc.) ), valorization of local cultures and know-how;
  • environmental aspects: reduction of negative environmental and health impacts (promotion of organic farming, reduction of ecological footprint and energy consumption), preservation of biodiversity;
  • evolutionary aspects: raising citizens’ awareness of fair trade issues, encouraging responsible consumption.


  • Work with marginalized producers and ensure a stable, self-sustaining future;
  • Support the participatory role of producers and workers within their own organization;
  • Ensure a fairer world trade.

Did you know ?

In the world

  • Sales of fair products represent between 5.5 and 6 billion euros of turnover;
  • Consumers continue to buy fair trade products more than ever. Among the leading fair trade products, coffee sales increased in 2013 by 8%, cane sugar 22%, banana 12%, and flowers 16%;
  • Fairtrade products are consumed in more than 70 countries by more than 80 million families.


  • In 2012, more than 2 million producers and workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America benefit from fair trade, gathered in some 1,400 professional organizations (cooperatives, associations …) in 75 countries;
  • With their families, around 10 million people benefit from fair trade around the world;
  • However, they represent only a very small share of international trade.