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Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

Can buying Fairtrade products help to tackle climate change?

The Fairtrade system includes environmental standards as part of producer certification. The standard requires producers to work to protect the natural environment and make environmental protection a part of farm management. Producers are also encouraged to minimize the use of energy, especially energy from non-renewable sources.

In addition, by purchasing Fairtrade products, shoppers in the UK are ensuring that producer organisations receive a Fairtrade premium for investment in economic, social and environmental products of their own choice. These premiums can enable farmers to implement a range of environmental protection programmes which will contribute to the range of solutions needed to address climate change and ultimately benefit all of us. To give two examples, tea workers in India have invested some of their Fairtrade premium into replacing the traditional wood-burning heating with a solar-panelled system. Coffee farmers in Costa Rica have used the premium to replant trees to prevent soil erosion and have invested in environmentally friendly ovens, fuelled by recycled coffee hulls and the dried shells of macadamia nuts. This means that they no longer need to cut forest trees and so can preserve the rainforest and the oxygen they produce.

By choosing Fairtrade products, you can therefore help producers preserve their own environment as well as have a positive social benefit in their community.

Fairtrade Towns

Fairtrade Town is any community in which people and organisations use their everyday choices to increase sales of Fairtrade products and bring about positive change for farmers and workers in developing countries. Fairtrade Town is a shared achievement and an opportunity for local government, schools, businesses, community organisations and activists to work together. Through doing so, each individual action adds up to make even more of a difference to farmers in developing countries.

Three Rivers is a fair trade district  and Watford, Harpenden, St Albans Ware and Hertford are Fairtrade towns. 

Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation is the independent non-profit organisation that licenses use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products in the UK in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade standards.  The Foundation was established in 1992 by CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Traidcraft and the World Development Movement, later joined by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.  Member organisations now also include Banana Link, Methodist Relief and Development Fund, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, People & Planet, SCIAF, Shared Interest Foundation, Soroptimist International, Tearfund and the United Reformed Church.

The Foundation is the UK member of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO), which unites 21 labelling initiatives across Europe, Japan, North America, Mexico and Australia/New Zealand as well as networks of producer organisations from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

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