Five ways Fair Trade can benefit your company


Thirty trillion dollars. That’s the amount companies, industries and organisations invest in making sustainable environmental, social and governance (ESG) decisions every year. In fact, even back in 2005, investors were seeing the value of focusing on ESG, articulated in the report Who Cares Wins. For brands and retailers, supply chains are often where ESG issues require the greatest investment and effort. An increasing number of companies are developing their own standards and reporting mechanisms to achieve sustainable supply chains. The cost of this can be large and the effectiveness difficult to calculate. The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) can help reduce this cost and direct efforts to where there is the greatest positive impact.

By Sarah de Lange, Membership and Monitoring Team

Brands that put people and planet first should carry the WFTO Guaranteed Fair Trade label. Photo: Creative Handicrafts

WFTO is the global network and verifier of social enterprises that fully practice Fair Trade. Founded in 1989, it verifies, monitors and collects information on enterprises in 76 countries. WFTO and its member enterprises dedicate themselves to improving the lives of socially and economically marginalised groups and to fostering inclusive business models, all while using environmentally friendly techniques. 

For brands and retailers that are setting bold ambitions on sustainability and ethical trade, WFTO provides a ready-made network of potential suppliers who meet and beat the strongest ethical and sustainability standard. As social enterprises, they are designed to focus on sustainable and ethical trade. As suppliers, they are inspirational, creating a positive social impact around the world. Tailored for such enterprises, WFTO’s Guarantee System can be a tool for brands and retailers taking ambitious steps in sustainable sourcing. The system can verify existing suppliers, identify new suppliers, and help collect information on supply chains. 

So, how can brands and retailers work with WFTO to create stronger brands, resilient supply chains and sustainable societies? Here are five ways: 

  1. Cost Savings: The WFTO Guarantee System is credible and affordable. By sourcing from enterprises that have achieved Guaranteed status, companies can minimise the cost of monitoring and auditing suppliers directly. You can find potential sourcing partners here.
  2. Label: WFTO’s First Buyer Label confirms that companies are buying from WFTO Guaranteed Fair Tradeenterprises whose main objective is to put people and the planet first.
  3. Guaranteed Fair Trade: member enterprises use the WFTO Guarantee System to report and verify, among other things, living wage, health and safety policies, innovative and inclusive governance cultures, and responsible environmental practices. Companies can rely on the WFTO Guarantee System to meet (and possibly exceed) their own ESG objectives.
  4. Information and data: Through the Guarantee System, WFTO members compile a range of data on livelihoods, human rights and gender that can reduce the cost of monitoring and provide useful insights into the practices of their supplier.
  5. Scope: WFTO uses a consistent set of criteria to verify the practices of Fair Trade Enterprises around the world and in different sectors – including food, clothing, home décor, recycled plastic, skin care products and even agritourism. This broad network means WFTO will be an asset to almost any industry.

WFTO invites companies committed to the ESG principles to work with us, not just to create a sustainable society, but also more resilient businesses that benefit all stakeholders. In the last decade, the case for fair and ethical trade has gone from strength-to-strength. WFTO is ready to collaborate with brands and retailers who are making the ambitious leap forward. Because after all, the Ones Who Care, Win. 

Banner image: WFTO is the global community and verifier of Fair Trade Enterprises. These are businesses that are putting people and planet first. Pebble Child a Guanteed Fair Trade Enterprise toy brand whose mission is to provide livelihoods for rural women in Bangladesh. Photo: PebbleChild