The Fairtrade logo is the most recognisable symbol of products independently certified to meet international fair-trade standards. These guidelines act as a guarantee that growers and farmers of listed products are given a better deal when trading their produce.
Today, more than 7.5 million people - farmers, workers and their families - across 59 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
The FAIRTRADE Mark is unique: it guarantees farmers in developing countries a fair price for their products which covers the costs of sustainable production. Because this price is stable it allows them to plan for their future. The rules and practices of international trade are biased in favour of rich countries and powerful companies, often to the cost of poor producers.
As well as providing the framework for socially responsible production and trade, Fairtrade Standards support the social, economic and environmental development of disadvantaged and marginalized small-scale farmers and plantation workers. To meet the standards, farmers' organisations must have a democratic structure and transparent administration that enables effective control by their members. Plantations and estates must meet internationally recognised employment standards based on core International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions. These include paying workers fair wages, guaranteeing the right to join a trade union, freedom from discrimination, health and safety standards, and the provision of adequate housing and other social provisions where relevant.
Rain Forest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land- use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.
More than 25 million people in the tropics depend on coffee, a crop that is the economic backbone of many countries and the world's second most traded commodity after oil. Coffee is farmed on about 12 million hectares (30 million acres) worldwide, an area larger than Portugal and nearly the size of England. Most of the farms are in areas regarded as high priorities for conservation. In 1993, the Rainforest Alliance and its partner groups in the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) demonstrated that traditional, forested coffee farms are havens for wildlife. Now, coffee lovers everywhere can support farmers who maintain these rainforest refuges simply by buying beans stamped with the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal of approval.
Supporting Farmers and Farm Workers
Coffee farming is a grand and noble tradition that is deeply ingrained into the cultures, economies and politics of most producing countries. Millions of families have depended on coffee for generations. Like any farming, growing coffee is risky business. Coffee farmers face difficult challenges: over-supply and low prices, inclement weather, pests and diseases, rising costs and sometimes unhelpful government policies.
The trend toward "modernized" coffee farming, which began in the 1970s, increased supply and also marked a departure from the historic traditions of farming in harmony with nature. The new methodologies put more beans into an already overstocked market and converted coffee farms from self-sustaining sanctuaries into stark and lifeless monocultures. Wildlife disappeared, soils washed downhill and streams choked on silt and agrochemicals. Many farmers sought a balance between the traditions they learned from their grandfathers and the new, high-production, high-cost and high-impact techniques coming out of the agronomy schools. The Rainforest Alliance and its allies worked for years with these forward-thinking farmers, scientists, agronomists, environmentalists and others to develop farm-management guidelines that maintain the eco-friendly traditions, add a growing awareness of social responsibility, and ensure economic sustainability.
Rainforest Alliance certification helps farmers bear the erratic swings in the global market by giving them the keys to improved farm management, negotiating leverage and access to premium markets. By implementing the SAN sustainable farm-management system, farmers can control costs, gain efficiencies and improve crop quality.