(Frankfurt, Germany) On Friday 3rd of February 2023, the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and its partner project UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, came together to make a joint statement about the value that Fair Trade practices bring for both consumers and buyers in building a sustainable future. 

At the present moment, people and planet are not at the heart of most of the businesses that are populating our economies. Yet, conscious consumers are representing worldwide a growing influencing agent in the current economic climate: by not compromising the well-being of producers and the environment for financial benefits, consumers who buy Fair Trade products are contributing to building a better and more sustainable future together with mission-led enterprises. That is why the need for verification systems to bridge the gap between producers and consumers and create a common language built on transparency is key to ultimately revolutionising the current economic system. 

The worldwide multi-billion artisan sector is expected to grow significantly in the coming years due to the popularity of handcrafted items. The same goes for small-scale farmers and local food production that is populating more and our food markets. Likewise, the drive to use purchasing power to create social and environmental goods is increasing among citizens around the globe. Fair Trade Enterprises are ideally placed to leverage these two trends for the benefit of people and the planet, as their business model is set up in such a way that puts climate, environment, social and gender justice at its core. WFTO provides a verification system that ensures that the enterprises that are part of its global community are truly committed to the 10 principles of Fair Trade. Through its Guarantee System, WFTO verifies that an enterprise is mission-led, focused on the interests of people and the planet and that this is rooted in its structure, systems and practices.

MADE51, the global brand UNHCR that selected WFTO as its implementation partner, aims at connecting refugee artisans with international markets. By working with 3,500+ refugees and host community artisans, MADE51 aims to fully strengthen the inclusion of refugees in global value chains while meeting the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals. Of the 40 local social enterprises that have joined the project, 10 are WFTO-verified Fair Trade enterprises. This ensures that their business model is focused both on the well-being of refugee artisans and on the protection of the environment. As the implementation partner of UNHCR, WFTO closely works with refugee artisans and their skills, traditions and heritage to handcraft unique products. This guarantees them an income and financial independence but also allows consumers to experience, within each piece, a story of culture and resilience. 

Together with UNHCR, WFTO utilises a collaborative approach to build an ecosystem that delivers a viable route to market Fair Trade, sustainably sourced, ethically produced and refugee-made goods. 

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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.

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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.