Fairtrade vs. fair trade

Fairtrade, fair trade, fairly traded—what do they all mean? With so many terms out there, it can be confusing to make sense of them all. We’ll help you clear things up.

Greenwashing is a real problem. It can trick shoppers into purchasing products that they believe were created ethically and sustainably—when in fact they were not. Learning how to spot the right terms will help you buy or source items that align with your values.

What's the difference?

  • Fair trade

    Fair trade (two words) or fairly traded is a general term referring to many things—it could be ethical trade, the fair trade movement, or fair trade products. Unlike Organic, “fair trade” is not a protected term—so any company can call their products fair trade, even when they’re not. Some companies create “fair trade” claims without the independent, third-party verification that Fairtrade has, or without being a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) network.

    Look for the Fairtrade Mark on a product’s packaging to be sure it’s actually Fairtrade certified.

  • Fairtrade

    Fairtrade (one word) is only used by organizations, brands and products that are part of the Fairtrade International system. We are a global network of more than 2 million farmers and workers who grown in almost 80 countries worldwide. You can tell the difference by looking for the blue and green Fairtrade Mark on a product’s packaging. When products have our logo on them, it means that they meet our rigorous social, economic and environmental standards, and they have been independently audited by FLOCERT.

    Find out what's behind the Mark.

The Fairtrade Difference

Fairtrade is part of a broad landscape of organizations working to make ethical and sustainable sourcing the norm. We can’t do it alone, but we are proud not only of what we do but how we do it.

Planet Earth with people viewing it illustration

100+ countries participate in the Fairtrade system

Farmers and workers illustration

Over 2 million farmers and workers worldwide are Fairtrade certified

Supply chain data illustration

$238M+ in Fairtrade Premium was paid to Fairtrade farmers in 2019

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$40M+ in Fairtrade Premium went back to banana farmers and workers last year

Committed brands, deep impact

The brands we work with have made a commitment to ethical sourcing. One that requires paying a fair price (which is often more than the market rate) and chipping into a support network that ensures farmers are getting the resources they need to be successful.

Ben & Jerry's Logo

Ben & Jerry's

Fairtrade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of Fairtrade goes to the heart of our values and the sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.

Read Ben & Jerry's Fairtrade story

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Endangered Species Chocolate

"Endangered Species Chocolate is committed to crafting delicious premium chocolate while supporting species, habitat, and humanity." - Curt Vander Meer, CEO of Endangered Species Chocolate

Read more about Endangered Species Chocolate

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Conscious Step

Conscious Step believes they have a responsibility to create clothing that makes you feel good about what you wear. The source 100% Fairtrade and Organic cotton. These values have aligned them with a growing base of conscious consumers, igniting global expansion.

Learn about Conscious Step

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Divine Chocolate

I started at Divine 20 years ago so of course there are many things that I know now that it would have been useful to know then. Knowing that Fairtrade would become so mainstream would have been very reassuring - as we were doing something very bold and taking a leap of faith. - Sophi Tranchell, CEO of Divine Chocolate

Read more avout Divine Chocolate

Nespresso Logo


Nespresso has been committed to sustainable sourcing for 30+ years. But the last five years have set Nespresso’s Fairtrade farmers on a path of long-term wellbeing even after their farming days are over.

Read more

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Endangered Species Chocolate Logo
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Divine Chocolate Logo
Nespresso Logo

We’re in this together

Fairtrade America partners with brands on the journey to certification and beyond. We can help with everything from finding a certified supply chain to marketing your newly certified product.

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