2 January, 2020

The Fairtrade Four

Cocoa farmer reaching for a cocoa pod.
by Fairtrade America

A Guide to Fairtrade Certified Products

We get it; it’s hard to know how to shop for the best goods with so many certifications and standards out there. When it comes to fair trade, specifically, a recent study showed that 76% of consumers would view brands more favorably if they carried a Fairtrade America mark. Fairtrade America enables farmers and workers to get a better deal by redressing the balance of trade.

Everyone engages with the global supply chain when purchasing everyday items including coffee, fresh produce and chocolate—all of which begin on a farm, usually in a developing country. Make a positive impact on the livelihood of small-scale farmers and their communities by opting for fair trade goods in the following categories.



The most popular fruit in the United States, bananas are grown by millions of small-scale farmers and plantation workers in tropical regions facing issues that threaten their livelihoods, including low wages, the severe impact of climate change and occupational hazards. Bananas carrying the Fairtrade America mark on their sticker have been produced by organizations or plantations that meet specified social, economic and environmental standards.

Cocoa pods


Child labor remains a serious concern in cocoa farming due to desperation stemming from low prices paid to producers in developing countries. Fairtrade America enforces the strictest economic, social and environmental criteria available of any fair trade certifier, including the most rigorous scrutiny on child labor. Your Fairtrade chocolate is extra sweet because when companies use Fairtrade ingredients, small-scale farmers are better able to achieve dignified livelihoods that don’t force them to resort to exploitative child labor.

coffee beans


The coffee industry is in crisis. Nearly 61 percent of producers are selling their coffee at prices under the cost of production. This inequality jeopardizes the livelihoods of millions of small-scale growers around the world. Fairtrade coffee growers receive some protection from the crisis because they are paid the Fairtrade minimum price.

Cotton plant

Look Good, Feel Good

That $3 t-shirt costs more than meets the eye, including slavery and environmental pollution to produce clothing at such a low cost. Purchase pieces made with fair trade certified cotton to ensure farmers are paid a fair price that enables them to invest in their communities and protect their local environment.

Beyond taste, quality and price, brands can increasingly differentiate themselves by appealing to consumers’ ethical concerns, including secured living wages for small-scale farmers; limited environmental impact; gender equality and the absence of child labor—integral parts of Fairtrade America certification. Fairtrade America works with 60 U.S. brands, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s. Do your part by choosing Fairtrade certified products!

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