What is Fairtrade and why does it matter?

05 August, 2021 3 min read

Fairtrade. This term is often bandied about when it comes to raw ingredients like cocoa, flour, sugar – and coffee. While we all know it’s a good thing, how many of us actually understand what Fairtrade means? 

This Fairtrade Fortnight, we’ll provide a quick glimpse into the world of Fairtrade to demonstrate how it conserves our environment while empowering1.7 million farmers and workers worldwide.

Many sectors within the raw ingredient industry force farmers to sell their product below the cost of production: perpetuating the cycle of poverty and inequality. To support their families, coffee growers are often forced to abandon their crops to search for other work or adopt environmentally unsustainable farming practices, such as using pesticides or clearing rainforests to plant other cash crops. This roll-on effect is enough to leave a bad-taste in anyone’s mouth. 




What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is a trading scheme, verified bycertification, that protects farmers from falling prices by providing them with a reliable way of earning an income. The scheme is designed to provide support that’s impartial, transparent and collaborative. It helps producers maintain their sense of agency and utilise profits to uplift their communities on their own terms. 

Using an ‘aid through trade’ model, Fairtrade doesn’t just help small-scale farmers, it supports gender empowerment programs, environmental sustainability initiatives and improves access to new markets - which is great news for coffee-lovers everywhere.




How does Fairtrade help farmers?

By establishing a Fairtrade Minimum Price, this scheme allows farming cooperatives to plan for the future, allowing them to invest in infrastructure and expansion within their communities. Minimum pricing protects jobs, fuels businesses and helps families to thrive (not simply survive) above the poverty line. And when market prices increase, farmers benefit too, reaping the rewards of a raised income and the flexibility to negotiate for more.




How does Fairtrade work?

Besides a fixed Minimum Pricing, Fairtrade relies on a few core elements, like the Fairtrade Premium, Fairtrade Standards and regulation via an independent board: 50% owned by producers who represent farmer and worker organisations. 

The Fairtrade Premium is a set additional amount of money, paid by the exporter, designed to give farmers the resources to improve the quality of their businesses, communities, and environment. From building wells and hospitals, to investing in infrastructure for organic farming methods, the choice is up to these collectives to decide on where their premium goes.

Fairtrade Standards set the terms of trade for farmers, buyers and producers. The standards champion workers’ rights while providing the framework to help them succeed under the agreement. To make sure these standards are maintained by businesses, brokers and buyers (including Jasper Coffee), third-party auditing takes place throughout the supply chain with regular report submission and levy fees required.  

Setting, reviewing and governing these standards is Fairtrade International, an organisation that’s 50% owned by producers who represent farmer and worker organisations. This balance of stakeholders and producers keeps policy-making fair, especially when it comes to Minimum Pricing, Premiums and Standards. So the farmers don’t just get a seat at the table, they’re key players in all the important decisions.




Why choose Fairtrade?

Shopping Fairtrade means choosing healthy living standards and ending poverty and inequality for good. It means helping families achieve financial security, access education and advocate for business practices aligned with sustainable land management. Choosing Fairtrade is investing in a fair future for all, and it’s as easy as swapping your regular grind for a Fairtrade coffee


Shop our range of Fairtrade certified coffee



Jasper Coffee is proudly Fairtrade licensed since 2003 and submits a quarterly licence fee on sales report to the Fairtrade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ) as part of this certification. This levy goes towards ongoing audits and checks to uphold the quality of this scheme. In fact the cooperative, exporter, importer and roaster must all be licensed by FLO or FTAANZ and submit reports to maintain traceability, setting the global standard.