What Is Fairtrade?

The FAIRTRADE Marks

The FAIRTRADE Mark is the symbol of the international Fairtrade system – and the most globally recognized independent ethical certification logo.

Different MARKS, the same rigorous Standards

Products bearing one of the FAIRTRADE Marks meet the economic, social, and environmental criteria defined by the Fairtrade Standards. When you buy products with this logo, you support farmers and workers as they improve their lives and their communities. Our blue and green Mark is trusted by consumers in more than 120 countries around the world as the leading social and sustainable development label.

The FAIRTRADE Mark

The original FAIRTRADE Mark has always stood for fairly produced and fairly traded products. It also means the product is fully traceable (kept separate from non-certified products) from farm to shelf. You see this Mark on single-ingredient products, such as bananas and coffee.

If you see the FAIRTRADE Mark with an arrow, it means to look on the back of the packaging to learn more about the ingredients and sourcing method.

This Mark with an arrow is used on products with multiple ingredients, such as chocolate bars or cereal. All the ingredients that are available under Fairtrade conditions have to be Fairtrade (e.g., all the cocoa, sugar and vanilla).

This Mark is also used on single-ingredient products that have been sourced using “mass balance.” This is possible only for cocoa, sugar, fruit juice and tea. This means that companies purchase 100 percent of the volume of ingredients that they label as Fairtrade, but do not need to keep it separate and may mix it with non-Fairtrade ingredients at some point in the supply chain.

Specific Product Marks

Two products have their own specific Marks, gold and cotton. The FAIRTRADE Gold Mark stands for the fair extraction and trading of all of the gold used in a piece of jewelry, as well as the gold’s physical traceability throughout the supply chain. This certification may also be indicated by a stamp on the final piece of jewelry.

The FAIRTRADE Cotton Mark indicates that a product is made with raw cotton that has been fairly produced and traded, which is directly traceable through all stages of production and separated from non-Fairtrade cotton during processing. A blended fabric can carry this label if 100 percent of the cotton used in the blend is Fairtrade certified.There is also a Fairtrade Textile Standard which mandates ethical production of a textile or piece of clothing – you may see a garment with tags that show it is both made from Fairtrade cotton and certified under the Fairtrade Textile Standard.

Fairtrade Sourced Ingredient Mark

These white Marks indicate that the ingredient named on the tab has been sourced as Fairtrade, such as Fairtrade cocoa in a breakfast cereal. (This is different from the black FAIRTRADE Mark, which signifies that all the ingredients that are available as Fairtrade are Fairtrade certified.)

In this sourcing model, which covers all Fairtrade commodities, except for coffee and bananas, the product carries these labels  to indicate that an ingredient is Fairtrade certified. Examples could be Fairtrade roses in a mixed bunch of flowers, or Fairtrade cocoa used in a cereal where the rest of the ingredients are not Fairtrade.

Up to two FSI Marks can be used on the front of the packaging. An arrow in a tab indicates that the ingredient was sourced using “mass balance” and points to more information on the back of the package.

The Fairtrade Sourced Ingredient model allows farmers and workers more opportunities to sell their produce on Fairtrade terms and gives companies greater flexibility to incorporate Fairtrade ingredients into their products, product ranges or even across their whole business. It also gives consumers more options to shop sustainably. Ingredients sourced under this model continue to be certified according to the same Fairtrade Standards, and producers still receive all the same benefits.

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