Terminology: what’s the difference between Fairtrade & Fair Trade?

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One of the most interesting issues that came up yesterday from talking to our visiting expert was the fact that Fair Trade and Fairtrade are not the same thing. It matters and makes a difference if it’s one word or two. We asked Carry to send us an explanation, and here it is! What difference does this make to how we think of, research and judge ethical clothing?

… the confusion of Fairtrade and Fair Trade is common … Fairtrade is only applicable to commodities, which in the fashion industry means cotton.  The Fairtrade label is a guarantee that the production of the raw material has met the standards established by FLO, the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, guaranteeing a price which covers the cost of production and a premium to invest back into their business or community.  The Fairtrade mark only applies to the particular product on which the label is displayed.

The accepted definition of Fair Trade is as follows:
“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seek greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade Organisations, backed by  consumers, are engaged actively  in supporting producers,  awareness  raising  and  in campaigning  for  changes  in  the  rules  and practice  of conventional international trade.”  

Many people believe that Fair Trade is just about a fair price, but Fair Trade goes much further than this as there are 9 principles other than the fair price. Fair Trade companies such as People Tree and Pachacuti follow the Charter of Fair Trade Principles.

1 Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
2 Transparency and Accountability
3  Fair Trading Practices & the protection and promotion of Cultural Identity
4 Fair Price
5  Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor
6 Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Freedom of Association
7 Ensuring Good Working Conditions
8 Providing Capacity Building
9 Promoting Fair Trade
10 Respect for the Environment

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