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How Choosing Fairtrade Products Empowers Sustainable Business

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How Does Fairtrade Work?

Fairtrade is an International certification body that advocates for better working conditions and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries, supporting the development of thriving working communities, and giving them more control over their futures, by helping them to build sustainable businesses.

When you buy certified Fairtrade products you are directly supporting the farmers and workers who made the product. Each person involved in the production of Fairtrade products has been paid a fair wage, and is therefore empowered to improve their lives as well as the lives of their families and communities.

Buying items produced by Fairtrade farmers means you can be sure that the product meets internationally agreed Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. These standards include protection of workers’ rights, preservation of environment, action on gender equality, climate change mitigation projects and payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price, set to cover the sustainable cost of production, or the market price when it is higher.

The positive impact of Fairtrade is felt by producers in developing countries all over the world, including Sri Lanka, Kenya and Peru, as well as our neighbours in the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea.


Central de Cafetaleros del Nor Oriente (Cecanor) is a coffee-producing cooperative in the Lambayeque region of northwest Peru, an arid coastal area irrigated by rivers flowing down to the Pacific Ocean from the Andes. Fairtrade certified since its formation in 1999, Cecanor is closely linked to the ‘Café Femenino’ initiative, which encourages women to profit more directly from their involvement in coffee growing and harvesting.


Elmer Martinez told a Fairtrade representative about the practical benefits of investing the Fairtrade Premium in infrastructure development within Cecanor: “Before, there was no road here and we had to travel through another area. Which was more risky. There were many accidents. So we invested the Fairtrade Premium in roads for the two villages here, in conjunction with the regional government and

district municipality. Because roads are really expensive. But the Fairtrade Premium helped.”

Gender equality

Mauricia Esperez, a Cafe Femenino representative within Cecanor, said: “I started in 2000. We were afraid to participate, we almost didn’t participate. As the years went on I started to become involved more. Not only me but also other women started to participate more. We got training about gender equity, we were told about how women had the same rights and the same opportunities. We started to participate, had trainings, coaching for speaking so we could talk a little more fluently and participate more. Now we are also delegates and participate in the committee.”


Gacharagae Tea Factory is located approximately 200 kilometres north of Nairobi in Kenya. Here the farmers own their own land, harvest and pluck their own tea and deliver it to collection centers before the tea is eventually processed into black tea in a large factory close to the village of Mununga.

The factory is owned jointly by the farmers through a loan which they took out in 2000 with the purpose of increasing the production, raising the value of their product and generating higher revenues through better access to an international market. In 2006, the farmers chose to certify their production process according to the Fairtrade Standards in order to achieve a better standard of economic, social and environmental development within both the production and at the community level.

While only a small proportion of overall sales occur on Fairtrade terms, the Fairtade Premium gained has been invested in training on sustainable production, road improvements, electricity, water supply, new classrooms, school material, scholarships to students and a number of income generating projects.


Tea farmer Johnson Kihara said: “Most of our secondary school, our laboratories, had no equipment. But when Fairtrade came, our laboratories where well equipped, and our libraries. We now have electricity in all our community buildings, in churches, collection centers, any building that is community based, funded by the Fairtrade Premium.”

Fairtrade Australia empowers both farmers and workers to thrive, even when market conditions are tough, and invests in strengthening their businesses and the communities around them. By supporting Fairtrade brands we ensure fairness to farmers, families and the environment.

Shop our selection of Fairtrade products here.

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