Organisations Supporting Fairtrade Communities
Fair trade is a movement to create fairer international trading practices. In a capitalist market “free trade” principles generally govern international commerce which although on the whole are successful, they often create unfair conditions for smaller, less powerful supply chain members. The idea of fair trade helps workers and farmers, often in the Global South, to obtain improved and ethical working practices, better pricing and trading conditions.The goals of this movement include ensuring everyone in the supply chain gets a fair deal, and encourages improvements in the communities where products, like clothing and textiles, are produced. Fair trade also helps to promote sustainable development, as well as ensuring that humans and the planet are not taken advantage of during the production of goods like clothing.
A British Retail Consortium study reports that "up to 90% of garment workers are paid below the National Minimum Wage, do not have employment contracts and are subject to intense and arbitrary work practices”, which shows the huge need for fair trade in the fashion industry. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of organisations working to support fair trade communities across the Globe. Some of these not-for-profits require our support, not only in the form of donations, but in petitioning those in power - like governments and global fashion brands - to set policies which support those vulnerable to exploitation, so have a read and see how you can help!
Situated in Utrecht, Fairtrade Netherlands is responsible for assessing fair trade within the Netherlands. This corporation helps to make brands and consumers within the country mindful of fair trade, helping them to understand its importance and how they can contribute via the quality mark.
World Fair Trade Organization - Europe
With over 100 members, WFTO-Europe is comprised of fair trade networks and support organisations. WFTO Europe aims to offer support to WFTO Global by being the voice of fair trade in Europe. Additionally, it aims to protect fair trade values and policies.
The Fair Trade Advocacy Office
Based in Brussels, The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) is the voice of the Fair Trade Movement for Fair Trade and Trade Justice, designed to enhance the lives of employees in the South. The FTAO is a project from The World Fair Trade Organization, Fairtrade International and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe that advocates for European legislation which supports fair trade, as well as encouraging members to open and maintain conversations with EU Institutions.
The European Fair Trade Association
Comprising nine European importers within the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, The European Fair Trade Association was founded in 1987 by some of the biggest fair trade importers. Based in the Netherlands, the EFTA aims to assist member organisations, encouraging them to collaborate on fair trade practices; exchanging information and collaboration. The EFTA also maintains Fairdata: records of EFTA suppliers and products.
Oxfam Fair Trade
Oxfam aims to provide a marketplace where every individual seller has fair trade rights. Fair trade aids development so it’s essential that people are given support to bring their products onto the market. Oxfam believes that fair trade rules include paying a fair price to producers of goods in addition to a fairtrade premium. This extra premium is given to benefit community projects.
Since its inception in 1945, CARE has fought to eliminate global poverty. As a large humanitarian agency, CARE provides international emergency relief and development projects.
Additionally, it works with women employees, ensuring they have access to safe working conditions and fair pay. For instance, since 1998, CARE has worked with the Cambodian garment sector to enhance health and safety within the workplace, as well as reducing harassment against young women migrant workers.
Anti-Slavery International, was initially created in 1839 as the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. This advocacy group aims to end world slavery, with projects based in a number of countries, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the UK. By working with local organisations, Anti-Slavery International helps to ensure the freedom of people affected by slavery. Furthermore, they push for the international execution of slavery legislation.
The Clean Clothes Campaign
The Clean Clothes Campaign was established in 1989 as the biggest alliance of non-government organisations and labour unions within the garment sector. It aims to enhance the conditions for workers within this industry, ensuring their rights are protected and respected. The Clean Clothes Campaign also covers a range of issues from women’s rights to diminishing poverty. Working in garment production and consumerism, local issues can be transformed into global actions, particularly via campaigns to support workers.
Labour Behind the Label
Labour Behind the Label - based in Bristol, UK - campaigns for employees rights within the fashion industry. This not-for-profit organisation is the UK platform for The Clean Clothes Campaign, with 19 years creating awareness and research for enhancing workers pay and conditions. Projects include encouraging UK retailers to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, supporting Indonesian workers to obtain their owed compensation, and partnering with workers in Cambodia to campaign for a living wage.
Fair Wear Foundation
The independent Fair Wear Foundation works with clothing brands, employees and influencers within the fashion industry to enhance working conditions in clothing factories. Their main focus is clothing production, such as cutting and sewing. Over 140 brands work with Fair Wear to communicate with factories, governments and others to find solutions to issues, ensuring that the fashion industry is fair to everyone.
Fashion Revolution was created in 2013 following the Rana Plaza disaster. As the biggest fashion activism movement on the planet, this not-for-profit organisation aims to restore the environmental implications that the fashion industry has. With teams in more than 100 countries, Fashion Revolution includes a wide range of people, such as brands, marketers, designers, retailers, fashion lovers and workers.
At SOAS, University of London the Fair Trade, Employment, and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda FTEPR looked very closely into how Fair Trade works, and for whom it works best. We were led by a simple question: do the poorest people in supply chains with Fair Trade certification - i.e. wage workers - benefit from Fair Trade. We found surprising results that showed that - for workers in coffee, tea, and flowers in areas where we did our research - these workers did not gain anything relative to wage workers in other institutional settings for the same crops. Our work has been cited widely in academic studies and the media, and has helped shape ongoing discussions around Fair Trade standards.
WFTO-Europe is one of the regional branches of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) which is the worldwide network of Fair Trade organizations present in more than 70 countries. These enterprises transform local communities, pioneer upcycling, empower women, champion refugee rights and practice organic farming. WFTO gathers together both the pioneers and the innovators in Fair Trade and sets high standards of fair business practice for all. Our mission is carried out by delivering market access for its worldwide membership through policy, advocacy, campaigning, marketing and monitoring.
Fair World Project
Fair World Project (FWP) is a non-profit that advocates for fair trade policies that supports small-scale farmers, artisans and workers by promoting organic and fair trade practices and transparent third-party certification. Through consumer education and advocacy, FWP supports dedicated fair trade producers and brands, and insists on integrity in use of the term "fairness" certifications, labeling, and marketing.