In this post I am going to be talking about Ethical Branding and one of the things that jumped into my head when we were told about this was The Fairtrade Foundation. I know what your thinking, heres Sam talking about food again. However, The Fairtrade foundation is a registered charity in the United Kingdom (no. 1043886), and they were founded in 1992 which ties in nicely with the other posts I have done in this unit that relate back to the 1990’s. 

What the Foundation does and what it aims to do

The mission statement of The Fairtrade Foundation, taken from their website is,

“The Foundation’s mission is to work with businesses, community groups and individuals to improve the trading position of producer organisations in the South and to deliver sustainable livelihoods for farmers, workers and their communities by –

–> Being a passionate and ambitious development organisation committed to tackling poverty and injustice through trade
–> Using certification and product labelling, through the FAIRTRADE Mark, as a tool for our development goals
–> Bringing together producers and consumers in a citizens’ movement for change
–> Being recognised as the UK’s leading authority on Fairtrade”

Most of you are asking what the Fairtrade foundation actually does, and there is no way that says it better than the section on The Fairtrade Foundation‘s website so below, is a copy of what the foundation does and what the main areas they work within are.

“Our four key areas of activity are:

–> Providing an independent certification of the trade chain, licensing use of the FAIRTRADE Mark as a consumer guarantee on products
–> Facilitating the market to grow demand for Fairtrade and enable producers to sell to traders and retailers
–> Working with our partners to support producer organisations and their networks
–> Raising public awareness of the need for Fairtrade and the importance of the FAIRTRADE Mark

The Foundation works to the definition of Fair Trade agreed by FINE, a working group of the four international Fair Trade networks (Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International, International Fair Trade Association, Network of European World Shops and the European Fair Trade Association):

Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks 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”

History of the Foundation

The foundation was founded by the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD), The World Development Movement, Oxfam, Trade craft and Christian Aid, back in 1992 and they were soon joined by the worlds largest women’s movement, the Women’s Institute (The WI) who are normally known for their cracking Victoria Sponge Cakes. The first product to be Certified by the Foundation was Green and Blacks: Maya Gold Chocolate back in 1994 which was made with Cocoa from Belize. This was soon followed by  Clipper Tea and Cafedirect Coffee.

In January 1997, a campaign was launched to target Institutions and Restaurants as the Fairtrade Coffee has become more widely available to the catering trade.

Jumping into the new Millenium saw a massive boost in the amount of companies that became involved in the Fairtrade movement, local councils, big corporate giants such as what is now known as Aviva and even the Government Houses started to change their catering facilities to fairtrade tea and coffee. However, there was one company that were seeming to be getting more involved than most and that was The Co-operative (The Co-op) by introducing the first Bananas to carry the Fairtrade Mark and also the first Milk Chocolate bars to carry it as well.

Fact: Copmanthorpe Methodist Church in York becomes the 1000th in the UK to achieve ‘Fairtrade Church’ status from the Fairtrade Foundation.

As it Currently stands there are a lot of big name companies that have become involved over the past decade. Big name super markets like Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose have started producing their own brand products with the Fairtrade Mark on them as well as The Co-op increasing their range of own brand fairtrade products. Also, Cadbury, chocolate manufacturing giant, had their Dairy Milk bar recognised by the foundation and given the Fairtrade Mark.

There is now bits of everything that have been recognised by the Fairtrade foundation such as Beauty Products to Beer and from Coffee to Cotton.

Public Opinion

In many ways I think that there are both good and bad things that are perceived my the general public about Fairtrade products. One of the main ones is the price of products, they think that much like Organic food, that Fairtrade food is more expensive but in reality its not. It just means that the money that is spent on the product is going back to those who grow it and not just the people that manufacture the end product. Despite this, there is still a large number of the population that believe in what the Fairtrade foundation is doing and try their best to buy all their products as fair trade. I think that when people see the Fairtrade mark, people also think of a better product because they relate it to someone actually growing the raw materials and care put into it instead of just something coming out of a factory. All in all, I think that The Fairtrade Foundation is a great thing because in the long run, it helps everybody in one way or another.