Fair trade is an evolving movement from a principal idea that in the global trade system everyone should be fairly compensated for their work (Shorette, 2014). Fair trade started as an alternative trade system challenging the inequities of conventional trade and is based on the partnerships between producers and customers.  Earlier Fair trade only had access to the niche markets and moved towards mainstream markets to maximize the amount of trade and at the same time try to keep the core values of delivering sustainable livelihoods and development opportunities to people in the poorest countries of the world (Moore, 2005)….Producers certified by the fair trade organizations able to receive higher prices for their products.

The fair trade global market, whose infrastructure is established by fair trade organizations (FTOs) that regulate the production, distribution, and consumption of fair trade goods, has expanded dramatically since its emergence in the mid-twentieth century. Fair Trade organizations has since evolved into three distinct organizational forms based on (1) direct sales networks, (2) product labeling, and (3) organizational screening (Shorette, 2014).


Fair trade emerged to address international income inequalities, promote democratic community development, and protect the natural environment from destructive production practices via market mechanisms. As such, fair trade can be understood as a new global market where value lies in the conditions of production and exchange in addition to the utility of the goods themselves (Shorette, 2014).


According World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade is; “fundamentally, a response to the failure of conventional trade to deliver sustainable livelihoods and development opportunities to people in the poorest countries of the world . . . from the beginning, the Fair Trade movement aimed to raise awareness among consumers of the problems caused by conventional trade, and to introduce changes to its rules. The sale of products always went alongside with information on the production producers and their conditions of living. It has become the role of World Fair Trade Shops to mobilize consumers to participate in campaigning activities for more global justice.” (wfto.com)

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Fine definition by FINE

The widely accepted universal definition of fair trade is that set by FINE, an association of four largest fair trade networks that includes Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) (formerly International Fair Trade Association), Networks of European World-shops, and European Fair Trade Association.  According to FINE :

“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade. ( FINE, 2001, p. 1)”

Principles of fair trade

In addition to the definition, the 10 core principles of World Fair Trade Organization are listed as : “(1) market access for marginalized producers; (2) sustainable and equitable trading relationships; (3) capacity building and empowerment; (4) consumer awareness raising and advocacy; (5) commitment to long-term trading partnerships; (6) nondiscrimination, gender equity, and freedom of association; (7) safe and healthy working conditions; (8) prohibition of child and forced labor; (9) payment of a fair price; and (10) protection of the natural environment” (www.wfto.com).




Definition of Living Wage


Nicholls  2010 article

Today Fair Trade has a direct effect on the lives of over X (find updated numbers )million producers and their families in X countries in global south. Moreover, Fair trade products have now entered the retail mainstrain and hold significant market shares in a range of categories including bananas, coffee, and organic cotton. Fair trade clothing is still a niche market and increasing its market gradually .


Academic interest in Fair Trade

Fair trade has grown significantly since 1960’s however still relatively small in global trade. (Moore, 2004). Fair trade has attracted attention from researchers in different disciplines including agriculture, economics, marketing, design, rural studies, development studies and theology (Moore 2004) however its ,

Mainstreaming (and talk about dilution of FT)

Fair trade has been entering mainstream markets, however one of the important concern is risk of dilution. (Moore, 2004)


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