The Meaning of Fairtrade; Made Easy

The Meaning of Fairtrade; Made Easy

“Trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers.” [1]

When it comes to the word ‘Fairtrade’ it can be a minefield of information which although is readily available to everyone, it can be a little hard to decipher and understand when you really delve into the specifics. In this article I want to help you understand what Fairtrade really means, how we can recognise if a brand is Fairtrade and what it means for them if they are.

In this article I’m going to concentrate on cocoa as a product and look at Seed & Bean as the example in this article-

In a nutshell ‘Fairtade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms for farmers and workers in the developing world.’[2] Fairtrade is a way in which to make the trade between developed countries and developing countries fair and making a difference to the lives of the people who grow and produce the ingredients and products we buy.

Fairtrade has many benefits and makes a huge difference in farmers and workers lives. Fairtrade has economic benefits, environmental benefits and social benefits. Some examples of these benefits are-

  • The Fairtrade Minimum Price supports the farmers that grow products to become less vulnerable to poverty.
  • 'The Fairtrade Standards cover key areas for environmental protection, including energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction, pest management, soil and water quality and harmful chemicals and waste management.’[3]
  • Fairtrade can also support and finance tackling climate change, supporting long-term environmental sustainability.


So what does it mean to be deemed Fairtrade as a brand?

Looking at cocoa, a key ingredient to one of the world’s favourite foods, it can be a tough job to keep up with the growing demand. Fairtrade helps make the process of growing more sustainable. Cocoa is a very sensitive and delicate crop to grow, the climate is specific and cocoa farmers have a big job in protecting the crops from environmental factors such as wind, sun, pests and disease. ‘Between 2016 and 2017 global cocoa prices dropped by more than a third, disease and age are damaging cocoa trees and the number of farmers is falling because the benefits are so poor that few young people want to stay in the profession.’ [4]

Fairtrade makes things more sustainable for cocoa farmers and farming through payment of a thing called the Fairtrade Premium. This is unique to Fairtrade and is an additional sum of money paid above the ‘Fairtrade Minimum Price’ that goes into a fund for workers and farmers to invest in business and/or the community. This enables them to better provide for their themselves and their communities.

By buying Fairtrade, simply look for the Fairtrade logo on the products you buy, you are supporting these farmers and workers to continue being able to produce a product. In simple terms, the more sales of Fairtrade products, the more premium there is to invest in the community of farmers and workers and the wider community they are part of too. This can be spent on anything from improving roads to building a hospital. It can even be used on environmental projects, such as reforesting. Seed & Bean are proud supporters of Fairtrade Premium and buying even just one bar of chocolate means you are helping towards improving the lives of cocoa farming communities.