World Fair Trade Day 2018

We live fair, one product at a time.

This is the World Fair Trade Organisation’s (WFTO) message for World Fair Trade Day 2018. If you haven’t already heard of the WFTO they’re a global network of organisations representing the fair trade supply chain. Not to be confused with the Fairtrade Foundation who are a separate organisation, representing the Fairtrade Network in the UK. Confused? Me too! 

So, which fair trade product will you be enjoying on World Fair Trade Day? I’ll start the day at 7am with a strong cup of Grumpy Mule coffee. Fairtrade and organic, of course.

335C54FF-B288-4718-A0F7-23E58647A617Coffee. The only words I can muster at 7am on a Saturday morning.

We’re helping out at a school fundraiser and I’ve volunteered to bake some cakes. I’ll be using fairtrade sugar and vanilla bean extract in my cakes.

8900be59-5018-4b26-bc2e-f9cb5f422bbfEssential baking ingredients. Organic and fairtrade, where possible.

The message is one product at a time, but I bet like us, you only have to take a quick peek in the cupboard to find a number of delicious fairtrade goodies – coffee, chocolate, tea, bananas, sugar, vanilla essence, coconut oil, to name but a few.

Last year I wrote about the WFTO’s 10 principles and being pretty naive about the extent to which they battle against poverty and inequality. I also mentioned that buying products with the WFTO or Fairtrade Foundation logo is a really easy way to ensure that your ethical shopping is providing a better deal for farmers.

I’ve been confused by these two organisations’ different logos, and what they mean, so I thought I’d find out for WFTO 2018.

Here’s the WFTO logo.


The WFTO Product Label is more than just a Fair Trade symbol. It signifies not only that the practices across the supply chain are checked against the WFTO Fair Trade Standard, but it also represents support to the battle against poverty and inequality. Products carrying the WFTO Label are made and traded by Guaranteed Fair Trade Organisations dedicated to the sustainable Fair Trade economy. Every purchase of products with the WFTO Label supports small producers and their communities.

I’ve only seen this logo on People Tree labels. I’ve looked for other product examples from the UK but I haven’t found anything yet.

You’ll probably be more familiar with the Fairtrade Foundation logo, I know that I am, it’s the logo found on most fairtrade products.


Fairtrade is another global movement and as already mentioned, the Fairtrade Foundation represents Fairtrade in the UK.

Fairtrade is a movement for change that works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade deliver for farmers and workers.

So, what’s the difference between these organisations?

I stumbled across a Q&A with Christine Gent, on People Tree’s blog The Thread. It’s a pretty short article that eloquently explains the difference. If you’re interested in hearing about this from an expert, I’d urge you to have a read.

My understanding in short is that Fairtrade are a middle-man between businesses and farmers and provide a logo, which shows consumers that the ingredients in a product have been certified and meet with their strict fairtrade standards. There are now over 4,500 Fairtrade products available to buy in the UK. It’s very easy to buy fairtrade. They do lots of other work and this is an incredibly short summary of what they do, but it’s the bit we need to focus on for the comparison.

The WFTO measures the whole of a company against the 10 principles they’ve set out for better transparency in the whole of their supply chain. It’s an important difference. When you see the WFTO logo, you’ll know that the whole of the company behind the product is focused on fair trade throughout the supply chain, in everything they do and produce.

I really hope to start seeing the WFTO logo on more items soon. In the meantime, you can use the search tool on their website to find members and suppliers who they’re working together with at the moment. Traidcraft are one of their member organisations. They have an online shop, selling loads of fairtrade goodies and they’re also great resource. I listened to some of their podcasts yesterday, which are informative and easy to digest.

If you’re in Brighton, I have to shout out The Fair Shop, who’ve been in the business of fairtrade for 10 years now. They’re taking part in the Brighton Fringe this year and are showcasing lots of local brands as part of an exhibition, The Brighton Beach Collective, alongside all of their usual fairtrade stock. I’m not sure what they’re up to today, but do pop in for a browse or a chat with the friendly, knowledgeable staff.

Scrutinising the difference between these logos may seem like a pedantic exercise but I think it’s really important to understand what logos on the goods you buy stand for. And there are important differences between these two organisations. But ultimately they’re both promoting a much better deal for farmers in the developing world. And I keep intending to choose fairtrade when it’s available. So, keep buying fairtrade and happy World Fair Trade Day 2018!

How will you be spending your day? Which fairtrade product will you be enjoying today? What are your favourite fairtrade products? Have you spotted the WFTO logo? Did you know the difference between fairtrade and fair trade? 

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