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Is buying Fairtrade products a good idea given concerns on climate change?

Fairtrade recognizes that global action must be taken now to address climate change.       Food miles have come under scrutiny in the climate change debate, which could prove harmful to the economic and social development opportunities created for Fairtrade farmers and workers, who abide by sustainable production standards.       Agriculture plays a big part in the economies of developing countries—for example, it looks to be the most likely source of growth in Africa’s future through benefitting the rural, poor and disadvantaged farmers and workers in the sector.       The evidence of a warming planet is strong, and we must now engage in discussions to find the best way to reduce the impacts of climate change and support developing countries through sustainable development into the future.

Can buying Fairtrade products help to tackle climate change?

While organic certification is not a requirement of the Fairtrade Standards, the standards do require sustainable farming practices and ensure that farmers are paid a higher price for organic produce. The Fairtrade Premium is also regularly used to provide producers with training on organic and sustainable production, helping them to more easily go organic in future.

Can I put the FAIRTRADE Mark on my website or promotional materials?

If your business sells or promotes Fairtrade products, you can display the FAIRTRADE Mark on your website or promotional materials by following our Promotional use of the FAIRTRADE Mark guidelines. Contact us at questions@fairtradeamerica.org to confirm your use of the Mark.

Some people say buy local rather than buy Fairtrade, what is Fairtrade America’s response?

We believe that consumers should support both local and imported Fairtrade products. We support sustainable production in the United States, while continuing with our own clear specialized to support farmers and workers in developing countries.       We do not see Fairtrade products as being in competition with those locally grown in the US. Consumers are able to support both Fairtrade and local. Many of our products (such as bananas and coffee) are grown in very specific climates, meaning that their local production in the US is minimal (currently only Hawaii grows coffee, for instance). For other products, local supply cannot meet the demand, or Fairtrade imports mean that certain fruits can be made available year round. Even others, such as wine, are regularly imported due to their unique tastes based on the growing region.       It is up to customers themselves to make the decision in the shopping aisle to weigh up their choices and do what they see fit when taking into account the interests of people and the planet we share. The most important thing is that we all strive to make informed choices whenever we can. You can help by being a Fairtrade champion, and helping to raise awareness of how our choices can have significant positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged farmers and workers.

What is a Fairtrade registered licensee?

A registered Fairtrade licensee has the rights to use the FAIRTRADE Mark on specific products, as covered by a signed License Agreement with the National Fairtrade Organization in their area. To find out how to license the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on your Fairtrade products in our Business Section.

How many Fairtrade products are there in the US?

There are hundreds of Fairtrade products available in the United States! Visit our Fairtrade Products section to search products and companies.

What difference does Fairtrade makes to the farmers and workers themselves?

Yes! Read up on Fairtrade producer groups and individuals case studies to see the real change Fairtrade has delivered for farmers and workers in developing countries.       Check out our Farmers and Workers page.

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is an independent, third party certification organization, which works in partnership with more than 1.5 million producers in developing countries. Our mission is to secure decent working conditions, fair prices, and better terms of trade. In this way, producers are empowered to improve their social, environmental and economic sustainability. Fairtrade requires that companies pay fair prices. We also work hard to level out the inequalities of global trade as we know it, which traditionally discriminates against the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. Through Fairtrade, farmers and workers take control and build sustainable futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.

What is the difference between Fairtrade and direct trade?

Fairtrade is a global system that adheres to rigorous, internationally agreed standards to ensure that the most vulnerable farmers and workers are empowered to improve their own lives. By choosing products that bear the FAIRTRADE Mark, you have an independent verification that the claims made by the company selling that product are grounded in concrete evidence.       Direct trade mainly is used in reference to coffee and implies a direct relationship between the farmer and the company (usually a coffee roaster). Direct trade and its principles of getting to know and appreciate farmers more is something that we applaud. However, there is no way to verify if a company/roaster’s claims of fair prices and good treatment are correct other than their own word.       Furthermore, although some roasters may deal directly with farmers they still rely on intermediaries like exporters and importers. Therefore, there are still multiple links in their supply chain.

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