The International Fair Trade Charter

Many people use the term “Fair Trade”, but what does it actually mean? 

In 2018, more than 250 organisations around the world united to answer this question. The Charter was its result: it represents a joint effort by global Fair Trade organisations to reaffirm the core principles and values of Fair Trade and to set a common vision for its future. The Charter aims to provide a unified framework and direction for the Fair Trade movement worldwide and define a common vision towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Business as usual is not delivering the change needed to meet the SDGs, adopted by the world’s nations on 25 September 2015. The International Fair Trade Charter aims at being a roadmap for change: it sets out a different vision, a world in which justice, equity, and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures, business models, production and consumption patterns and practices so that social and environmental sustainability are incorporated by design. 

In essence, Fair Trade seeks to foster opportunities for small producers while implementing environmental policies in the business, with a great focus on transparency, accountability, and fair trading practices. Additionally, Fair Trade initiatives advocate for awareness and change through ethical consumption and policy influence. By embracing the principles outlined in the International Fair Trade Charter, organisations and individuals unite in a common pursuit of more just and sustainable production patterns and a global trading system that contributes to achieving the SDGs and addressing pressing social and environmental challenges.

Key principles and goals outlined in the International Fair Trade Charter include:

  • Creating Opportunities for Economically Marginalised Producers: Fair Trade is committed to providing better trading conditions and opportunities to small and/or marginalised producers, particularly those in difficult areas. This involves fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for workers’ rights.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Fair Trade organisations pledge to be transparent in their operations and decision-making processes. They are accountable for their social, economic, and environmental impacts.
  • Fair Trading Practices: Fair Trade advocates for fair and equitable trading practices, which means offering fair prices, stable market access, and long-term relationships between buyers and producers.
  • Capacity Building: Fair Trade initiatives focus on producers and workers by providing them with resources, skills, and opportunities for development.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Fair Trade strives to promote environmentally sustainable practices, such as organic farming, no forever chemicals, waste reduction, and responsible use of natural resources.
  • Advocacy and Awareness: The Charter encourages Fair Trade actors to engage in advocacy efforts, raising awareness about Fair Trade principles and influencing policies that support fair and ethical trade.

By signing the International Fair Trade Charter, organisations and individuals demonstrate their commitment to these shared principles and collaborate towards creating a more just and sustainable global trading system. 

If you’d like to download and support the Charter, it is available at this link:

Share This Post


Sign up to our Newsletter

Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific sourcing requests or queries.

Select Topic:

Contact us

Sourcing requests or queries

Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific sourcing requests or queries.

17th international


17-20 SEPT 2024 – CAPE TOWN 

We are thrilled to invite you to our upcoming International Fair Trade Summit, set to take place in the vibrant city of Cape Town, from the 17th to the 20th of September 2024.

The International Fair Trade Summit aims to bring together leaders, practitioners, and advocates from all corners of the globe to collaborate and promote Fair Trade practices. This edition promises to be a unique opportunity for participants to engage in enlightening discussions, exchange ideas, and forge partnerships that will shape the future of Fair Trade.

WFTO Membership & Associate Types

  • Fair Trade Organisations (FTO)

    All trading members of WFTO. This includes all organisations that have more than half of their income and/or more than €100,000 in income from trade.

  • Fair Trade Support Organisations (FTSO)

    An organisation whose primary mission is to support Fair Trade and/or provide services to organisations that are or want to become Fair Trade Organisations.

  • Fair Trade Networks (FTN)

    An organisation which is an association of organisations committed to Fair Trade.

  • Individual Associates (IA)

    Individual Associates are supporters of the Fair Trade movement with limited rights. The WFTO Guarantee System does not apply to them.

  • Associate Organisations (AO)

    Associate Organisations align with WFTO’s values but after their application. They do not undergo monitoring and also have limited rights.

WFTO Guarantee System Monitoring Statuses

  • Candidates

    Candidates have been conditionally approved for membership but have not completed their first monitoring cycle under the WFTO Guarantee System. They have limited rights within WFTO. They may not use the WFTO Member Mark and Product Label or claim that they are monitored by WFTO.

  • Guaranteed Members

    Guaranteed members have met the WFTO Membership requirements and are monitored under the WFTO Guarantee System.

  • Member

    Organisations that have no or little income from trade go through a reduced version of the WFTO Guarantee System that does not include criteria related to trade. These organisations may use the WFTO Member Mark but cannot use the Product Label for any products they may be trading to support their mission. This status only applies to Fair Trade Networks (FTN) and Support Organisations (FTSO).

  • Renewal in Progress

    Members who are in the process of renewing their guaranteed status and are overdue on some requirements retain full rights while they work to meet the demands of the Guarantee System on an administrative or compliance level.

Become an Impact Ally

Collaboration is key to successful transformation, meaningful impact, and our movement

Play Video


WFTO welcomes applications from established Fair Trade Organisations as well as organisations that support Fair Trade. Individuals in their capacity as researchers, writers, consultants and specialists in their field who can contribute solid skills, knowledge and expertise to WFTO and members are also welcome.

Add Your Heading Text Initial requirements for organisations:

  • Compliance with the WFTO 10 Principles of Fair Trade. Please have a look at the WFTO Fair Trade Standard for more specific information on compliance with these principles.

  • All applicant organisations must already be duly registered (as a legal entity) and active for at least one year.

Who can apply?

  • Fair Trade Organisations (FTO)

    All companies, partnerships, co-partnerships and other legal bodies – as determined by the legal provisions of the country of the member concerned – that are directly engaged in Fair Trade. They may be producers or northern or southern based trading FTOs for whom Fair Trade is the main activity. To qualify for FTO membership, income from sales (turnover) must account for 50% or more of the total income. Applications for FTO membership cannot be accepted from organisations with no prior sales history.

  • Fair Trade Networks (FTN)

    Legal entities whose primary function is to serve as national or international associations of Fair Trade producers and/or Fair Trade Organisations.

  • Fair Trade Support Organisations (FTSO)

    Fair Trade Organisations where trading is not the main activity (proportion of trade is less than 50% of total income). These organisations are engaged in Fair Trade indirectly, through activities that promote and support Fair Trade. These activities can include business counselling, finance, advocacy or networking.

  • Associate Organisations

    This is a special category for national or international organisations that are interested in supporting and promoting Fair Trade, including donor organisations. Organisations that do not meet the one-year legal existence requirement also fit in this group.

  • Individual Associates

    Individual researchers, writers, consultants and specialists in their field that can support WFTO. WFTO expects its individual associates to be active Fair Trade supporters whose experience and expertise in their own particular field can be of practical benefit to WFTO's members. To apply, please submit a curriculum vitae.

    While FTO, FTN and FTSO are entitled to full WFTO membership, organizational and individual associates have only limited rights.

Contact us


Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific enquiries
Play Video


The WFTO Product Label is more than just a Fair Trade symbol. It signifies not only that the practices across the supply chain are checked against the WFTO Fair Trade Standard, but it also represents support to the battle against poverty and inequality. Products carrying the WFTO Label are made and traded by Guaranteed Fair Trade Organisations dedicated to the sustainable Fair Trade economy. Every purchase of products with the WFTO Label supports small producers and their communities.

Screenshot 2023 08 01 at 2.40.01 PM