Fair Trade Principles

Fair Trade strives for a more juste distribution of
income generated by world-wide trade relations-hips.
The working and living conditions of produ-cers
and workers in economically disadvantaged
regions - particularly in the south- should be
improved by creating market access for their pro-ducts
at fair conditions.
Fair Trade promotes sustainable development -meaning
in particular social justice, economic
development, protection of the environment and
the preservation of cultural diversity - and as pos-sible
promotes trade within and between the coun-tries
in the south.
The social standards and environmental norms
Fair Trade strives for, are in line with (or whenever
possible go beyond) national laws and the conven-tions
of the International Labour Organisation
For Fair Trade the co-operation and co-responsi-blity
of all actors within the trade chain is essential.
Continuous information activities deepen the
awareness for this aspect. It is an integral part of
Fair Trade to make consumers more sensitive for a
fairer distribution of the goods of this world. The
credibility of Fair Trade is reached through inde-pendent
* ILO-conventions:
Forced Labour (Nr.29)
Freedom of association (87)
Right to organize and collective bargaining (98)
Equal remuneration (100)
Abolition of forced labour (105
Discrimination (111)
Minimum Age (138)
Occupational Safety and Health (155)
Home Work (177).
The goals of Fair Trade Explanations Fair Trade Principles
Swiss Forum For Fair Trade SFFT
Participants in Fair Trade
The participating partners in Fair Trade are:
Producers (farmers, agricultural labourers, crafts-men/
women, factory workers or their association;
plantation owners and export organisations in eco-nomically
disadvantaged regions particularly in the
Importers and support organisations (import and
marketing enterprises or their Swiss and European
alliances, processing enterprises, label organisati-ons,
NGOs which support Fair Trade and/or prac-tice
trading activities themselves)
Distributors (Fair Trade specialised shops, super-markets,
organic produce speciality shops, other
small stores etc.)
Fair Trade is not merely a question of price; in essence it
deals with the improvement of the working and living
conditions of the people in economically disadvantaged
regions particularly in the south. Compliance with the
whole of Fair Trade principles is precondition to achieve
this. Depending on the economic sector, Fair Trade needs
to be complemented by other instruments of ethical busi-ness
behaviour (code of conduct, standardised norms etc.).
The relationship of Fair Trade towards these other instru-ments
gradually needs to be differentiated and made con-crete.
Atelier Müller Lütolf, Berne
Swiss Coalition of Development Organisations (Swissaid/-Lenten
Fund/Bread for All/Helvetas/Caritas), Arbeitskreis
Tourismus und Entwicklung, Association romande des
Magasins du Monde, Associazione Botthege del Mondo,
Bread for all, Caritas, claro SA, Fondation le Balafon,
gebana SA, Swiss Interchurch Aid HEKS, Oikocredit,
TerrEspoir, Tiers-Monde Genève, Schweizer Arbeiterhilfs-werk,
STEP, Swissaid, WWF Panda SA
These principles are signed by
the following institutions
Swiss Forum for Fair Trade SFFT
c/o Bread for all, Monbijoustrasse 29, CH-3001 Berne
Phone ++41 31 380 65 65 Fax ++41 31 380 65 64
e-mail: stueckelberger@bfa-ppp.ch
The term «fair trade» is neither protected nor legally
regulated. Over time different organisations have deve-loped
their own criteria which characterise Fair Trade.
The Swiss Forum For Fair Trade (SFFT) has taken these
criteria as a base for the elaboration of the following
common principles. They are to be taken as an inventory
of the status-quo, coherent with the Fair Trade-criteria of
FLO, EFTA, NEWS and the EC.
These common principles of the SFFT were unanimous-ly
approved by the plenary session on 19 January 2001.
For the signing organisations the principles represent the
smallest common denominator, upon which they prac-tice,
actively promote and/or support Fair Trade.
The common principles have no (restricting) effect on
more far reaching criteria that some organisations might
apply additionally.
Since Fair Trade is only one form of ethical business
practice where other initiatives with similar objectives
exist, a debate is needed about differences, common
grounds, co-operation and perspectives.
The following principles correspond to today’s practice – they
are therefore not in a definite form. As a process they will be re-formulated
and adapted to new developments and new practices.

A cost-covering price assures the producers their
economic existence.
The decision about the use of the additional income
through fair prices, premiums or additional paym-ents,
remains with the producers or workers, res-pectively.
Pre-financing of production or favourable credits
are given to the producers upon request.
The pricing policy towards the producers is trans-parent.
Fair pricing contributes to guarantee the producers‘ exis-tence
and to enable a life in dignity .
Control and information
In Fair Trade the compliance with the criteria is
regularly being monitored amongst all the actors
along the trade chain. Internal and/or external
controls are made, preferably in co-operation
with representatives of the hired-workers, NGOs
and/or trade-unions.
Fair Trade maintains an open information policy,
making information about the producers, sup-pliers,
origin of products, production, manage-ment,
finances and the results of the controls
disposable towards producers and consumers.
Continuous information and educational work is
an important integral part for the support of Fair
Trade and for the reinforcement of consumer res-ponsibility.
The regular controls guarantee the credibility of Fair
Trade. They further serve as monitoring to support the
efforts of (principally the smallest) producers to deal with
the demands of trade and to become more competent and
professional. For wage-earners the controls also serve to
improve their position as workers.
Principles of Fair Trade
Trade relationships
In Fair Trade long-term and stable trading relati-onships
between importers and producers as
partners are fostered.
The importers are in direct contact with the pro-ducers
or their associations, respectively, and
purchase the products as direct as possible from
them or their export organisation.
The production for the Fair Trade market should
not endanger the production for self-supplied
These long-term, fair trade-relationships may contribute
to a self-sustained development process for the local
This document was unanimously approved by the plenary
session of the Swiss Forum for Fair Trade on 19 January 2001.
Working conditions for wage-earners
Enterprises with wage-earners (factories, plantati-ons,
processing operations etc.) have to meet social
and health minimal standards which are in line with
national laws and ILO-conventions*: right to free-dom
of organisation, right of collective bargaining,
equal remuneration, prohibition of forced labour
and abusive child labour.
The enterprises must pay a living-wage to the
wage-earners; there should be no exaggeration in
working hours, and the work place must be appro-priately
and safely equipped (i.e. protective clo-thing,
protection from health risks, lighting conditi-ons,
ventilation etc.)
All this should contribute to prevent discrimination for raci-al,
ethnical, gender or religious reasons and to strengthen
the position of the wage-earners in the enterprises. Fair
Trade thus can play an exemplary function.
The products of Fair Trade are produced as far as
possible under socially and ecologically sustainable
The quality of the products corresponds to the
demand in the consumer markets; the orientation
along these standards allows the producers to deve-lop
the necessary market and trade know-how.
Among the agricultural products, priority is given to
the organically produced ones, since organic pro-duction
comes closest to sustainable agriculture.
Genetically modified products are excluded from
Fair Trade.
A step-by-step conversion is being strived for towards ecolo-gical
production and processing techniques and agricultural
production methods, according to the standards of recogni-sed
certification and environmental organisations.


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