Why is this important?
Fair trade has historically referred to a movement to provide economic opportunities to small-scale farmers and artisans in the Global South. More recently, the concept has expanded and various people have tried to apply the principles of fair trade to other situations such as large-scale agriculture and agricultural production in the Global North.
FWP believes that eradicating exploitation and unfair conditions wherever they exist is vital to a just economy, but that fair trade certification is not always the correct tool to achieve this. Therefore, expanding the use of fair trade certification into new territory should be done transparently and with involvement of both the current fair trade movement as well as the intended beneficiaries of expansion.
In addition, if and when certification expands to include new situations, communication and labeling should be clear and transparent for consumers. Because of fair trade’s strong association with small-scale producers in the Global South, it is not currently appropriate to apply the words “fair trade” to large-scale agriculture or production in the Global North without indicating the scale or scope clearly.
Updated: July 30, 2014 (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as, in some cases, direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.)