What’s the difference? 

1) “Fair trade” now means many things. It is important to distinguish between fair trade certified products and fully committed fair trade companies.
2) FTF members are fully committed fair trade companies. We support artisans and farmers who
are often ignored by conventional corporations and many times struggle to compete. We are
deeply committed and connected to them.
3) Fair trade certification is a tool that allows larger corporations to clean up their existing supply
chains. Increasingly, certification has moved away from farmer cooperatives and now includes
large factories and farms that are audited for basic health and safety, with an extra percentage
added to the price (known as the “fair trade premium.”)
4) Fully committed fair trade companies have built ethical behavior into their DNA. It is part of
every decision and process. Companies that sell certified products sometimes source only a
small percent on certified terms. It’s a positive direction, but the degree of commitment can vary
Why does it matter? 
1) Although they both use the words “fair trade,” these approaches are not the same. Fair trade
certification is a tool for auditing farms and worksites. Fully fair trade companies seek deeper
relationships and are totally focused on ethical supply chains for everything they purchase.
2) Historically, fair trade implicitly meant a holistic approach to trade. That’s not the case anymore.
This has challenged all of us to be clearer about what we do, and why it’s important.
3) Fully committed fair traders are dedicated to all nine fair trade principles. Long term, respectful
trading relationships are at the core of our model. Through these relationships, we create change.

Fair Trade Federation 
July, 2014