Fair trade is an organized social movement that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement known as fairtrade indicating the certification advocates the payment of a higher price to exporters as well as higher social and environmental standards.
It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers, and gold. There are several recognized Fairtrade certifiers, including Fairtrade International, IMO and Eco-Social. Additionally, Fair Trade USA, formerly a licensing agency for the Fairtrade International label, broke from the system and is implementing its own fair trade labelling scheme, which has resulted in controversy due to its inclusion of independent smallholders and estates for all crops.
In 2008, products certified with Fairtrade International’s Fairtrade certification amounted to approximately US$4.98 billion worldwide, a 22% year-to-year increase. The Fair trade industry does not reveal how much of this is the extra price charged for Fairtrade goods, or how much of the extra price reaches the producer. Fairtrade branding has extended beyond food and fibre, a development that has been particularly vibrant in the UK where there are 500 Fairtrade Towns, 118 Fairtrade universities, over 6,000 Fairtrade churches, and over 4,000 UK schools registered in the Fairtrade Schools Scheme.