The Impact Of Our Work
Fairtrade certification makes a significant difference to the lives of farmers and workers, their families, and their wider communities.
The difference that Fairtrade makes
Our approach to maximize impact for producers includes rigorous standards for certification, direct and indirect support to organizations, strong action on key issues, and advocating for trade policy change in the North. Fairtrade is about far more than just fair prices – we create sustainable impact in three interconnected areas: economic, social, and environmental.
- Through the Minimum Price for most commodities, Fairtrade helps certified farmers become more income-secure and less vulnerable to market uncertainty.
- In many key commodity sectors, Fairtrade certification enables farmers to negotiate a higher price for their product than the conventional market price.
- Additional income through the Fairtrade Premium supports improvements to product quality and productivity, strong cooperatives, investment in collective assets, and local infrastructure.
- Long-term business contracts with exporters and traders enable producers to grow their businesses and plan for the future.
- Fairtrade empowers farmers by helping them organize into cooperatives. This improves their negotiating position within the supply chain. Farmers and workers who choose to participate in Fairtrade feel a real sense of control over their lives with greater power and voice.
- Workers on larger farms are protected by the Fairtrade Standards, which ensure better working conditions, health and safety measures, and the right to unionize.
- The Standards also promote gender equality, and prohibit child and forced labour.
- The Fairtrade Premium is often invested in projects which benefit entire communities, such as health facilities, schools, housing, and clean water.
- The Fairtrade Standards encourage efficient management of natural resources like soil and water, and restrict the use of harmful chemicals.
- Fairtrade favours organic farming, which gives farmers financial benefits, and access to new markets.
- With climate change increasingly impacting farmers, Fairtrade provides access to financing, support and expertise to help them adapt. We also have a Fairtrade Carbon Credits program which enable producers to make their contribution to climate change mitigation while adapting to new realities.
Fairtrade differs from other certification schemes by addressing critically important issues through our Standards, policies, and global advocacy work for better trade.
Our Standards meet or exceed international norms for income and labour conditions, and our independent auditing process verifies that producers are in compliance.
Income for agricultural producers is often unsustainable. Our financial measures make a big difference, but we’re also developing living wage benchmarks to take this further.
Around 98 million children still work on farms. Our youth-inclusive approach fights the root causes, and lets the children of Fairtrade farmers learn and play, as kids should.
Millions of vulnerable people are forced to work against their will. Producer organizations are asked to implement specific procedures prohibiting modern slavery.
Women grow at least half the world’s food, but face severe challenges. We prohibit discrimination and exploitative behaviour, and help women achieve positions of leadership.
Fairtrade works for workers on large farms by following conventions of the ILO for our requirements on income, health and safety, contracts, and social security.
How we measure impact
The Fairtrade system has an ongoing program of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL). This is used to improve our understanding of how being part of Fairtrade is benefiting producer organizations and their members, and to generate recommendations and analysis in support of increased effectiveness and impact. This information is used to improve the Fairtrade Standards, producer support, certification, and other Fairtrade activities, in order to deliver greater positive impacts for participating farmers and workers and their organizations.
Fairtrade is an evolving system committed to learning how our approach can improve to make a bigger difference for farmer and worker communities in the Global South. Although a lot has been achieved, our vision is ambitious and there is always more that Fairtrade can and should do to extend its impact to more vulnerable regions and difficult-to-reach groups.
Our Theory of Change captures the range of things Fairtrade does as a system and relates these logically to desired immediate, mid-term and long-term changes.