Our questions: Is there an organization that regulates fair trade? What are these regulations? How are they enforced? Who comes up with the regulations? How are companies able to say they are fair trade when sometimes it turns out they are not?

Fair Trade Definition:
"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 (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."
- Source: Make Trade Fair

Organizations that monitor/regulate fair trade:
Fairtrade International: Fairtrade International is the organization that coordinates Fairtrade labelling at an international level. The global umbrella organization for Fairtrade.

Setting Fairtrade Standards: "A key part of Fairtrade International’s role is to develop and review the Fairtrade Standards. These Standards apply to all Fairtrade producers. They also apply to the companies who market Fairtrade products, such as importers, exporters and licensees."
- Source: Fairtrade International
Standards are set by Fairtrade International, in conjunction with consultations with the major stakeholders in the Fairtrade system. Stakeholders usually include producers, Producer Networks, suppliers, retailers, other units within Fairtrade International, FLO-CERT and Labelling Initiatives.

Objectives of Fairtrade Standards:
  • ensure that producers receive prices that cover their average costs of sustainable production;
  • provide an additional Fairtrade Premium which can be invested in projects that enhance social, economic and environmental development;
  • enable pre-financing for producers who require it;
  • facilitate long-term trading partnerships and enable greater producer control over the trading process;
  • set clear minimum and progressive criteria to ensure that the conditions of production and trade of all Fairtrade certified products are socially, economically fair and environmentally responsible.
- Source: Fairtrade International

Fairtrade standards for producers and traders: Generic Standards
Here are some additional standards specifically for fairtrade coffee: Coffee Standards

For more information on Fairtrade standards, visit Aims of Fairtrade Standards and Setting the Standards

World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO): "The WFTO is a global authority on Fair Trade, not because we say so, but because our members make it so. Membership of the WFTO is limited to organizations that demonstrate a 100% Fair Trade commitment and apply its 10 Principles of Fair Trade. WFTO Members are not just the pioneers of the movement but the innovators of the market. The WFTO represents Fair Traders from grassroots through to the G8 and is the authentic voice of Fair Trade, having driven the movement for 20 years. It is the only global network whose members represent the Fair Trade chain from production to sale."
- Source: World Fair Trade Organization

Fair trade principles: WFTO prescribes 10 Principles that Fair Trade Organizations must follow in their day-to-day work and carries out monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld:
  1. Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
  2. Transparency and accountability
  3. Fair trading practices
  4. Payment of a fair price
  5. Ensuring no child labor and no forced labor
  6. Commitment to non discrimination, gender equity, and freedom of association
  7. Ensuring good working conditions
  8. Providing capacity building
  9. Promoting fair trade
  10. Respect for the environment
- Source: 10 Principles of Fair Trade (visit this sit for more information on WFTO principles)

Fair trade monitoring: All WFTO members are required to pass through our monitoring process, which is based on a self assessment against the 10 Principles of Fair Trade.

How do we know if companies really use Fairtrade products?
The FAIRTRADE Certification Mark is the only independent assurance that Fairtrade Standards have been met. Products bearing this mark meet the rigorous Fairtrade Standards. The Fairtrade label is a product label.

The WFTO logo is for organisations who demonstrate a 100% commitment to Fair Trade in all their business activities. Only monitored WFTO members are authorized to use the logo. The WFTO logo is not a product mark - it is used to brand organisations that are committed to 100% Fair Trade.

FYI: What is the difference between Fair Trade and Fairtrade?
"The term Fairtrade is used to describe the certification and labelling system governed by Fairtrade International. The Fairtrade system allows consumers to identify goods that have met Fairtrade standards. In the USA and Canada, the national labelling initiatives use the term “Fair Trade Certified” instead of “Fairtrade”.
The term Fair Trade is used to refer to the Fair Trade movement as a whole and the organizations that abide to the high principles of Fair Trade. This includes both labelled and unlabelled goods and the work of Alternative Trade Organizations, Fair Trade federations and networks such as EFTA."
- Source: Fairtrade International