Fair Trade - frequently asked questions

What is Fair Trade?

Fairtrade International provide a comprehensive answer to this question here.

What is the difference between Fairtrade and Fair Trade?

Fair Trade refers to the trading system, organisations and movement that together seek greater equity in international trade. There are several Fair Trade organisations operating to achieve this shared aim. Fair Trade Towns International is a Fair Trade movement.

Fairtrade specifically refers to the producer networks, organisations and international movement that are operate under the non-profit organisation Fairtrade International (FLO). Fairtrade Foundation, Fairtrade Certification (the FAIRTRADE Mark) and the UK Fairtrade Towns movement all operate under FLO.

Bristol Fair Trade Network supports and advocates for Fair Trade trading systems and producer networks that have been independently accredited, including Fairtrade.

Where can I buy Fair Trade products

For more information on local businesses and organisations that sell, produce and support Fair Trade visit our Local Fair Traders directory. To discover nationally available brands and retailers, visit the Fairtrade Foundation’s Buying Fairtrade pages.

How sustainable is Fair Trade?

To discover all the ways in which Fair Trade promotes sustainability, see Fairtrade Foundation’s response to this question.

In 2015, to celebrate the International Fair Trade Towns Conference in Bristol and the city’s year as Green Capital, we teamed up with Griot Creative to make the short film ‘How Green is Fairtrade?’.

Isn't direct trade better?

Direct trade – often associated with coffee supply chains – is a way of trading that, like Fair Trade, cuts out the middleman and sees distributors sourcing directly from growers. Direct trade relationships can result in positive social, economic and environmental outcomes for farmers and workers, but lacks the third-party regulation that Fair Trade certification guarantees and doesn’t necessarily address the same issues that Fair Trade seeks to address. For this reason, we recommend always looking for Fair Trade certification, such as the FAIRTRADE Mark. For a better understanding of how Fair Trade and direct trade differ, we think this article, provides a thorough overview.

I care about Fair Trade, but want to support local producers – how can I do both?

Fair Trade is first and foremost about supporting small-scale farmers and local economies. Many farmers in the UK face similar problems to farmers in developing countries, in so far as they struggle to obtain a fair price for their product. When choosing products that are grown or produced in the UK, it’s important to source them from small-scale, sustainable farms and producers, and to pay a fair price that allows the farmers and workers to make a living from their trade. The Fair Trade system advocates for a similar approach to produce sourced from developing nations. Fair Trade organisations focus on products that can’t be readily grown in the UK or Europe eg. coffee or bananas, or whose local supply can’t meet demand eg. honey or grapes. The Fair Trade movement stands alongside local food and trade campaigners to give farmers from developing nations a voice and, together, ensure everyone growing and producing our food, clothes and more can make a living and decide their own future.

Bristol Fair Trade Network works with organisations and businesses in Bristol and the South West that support Fair Trade in the workplace, purchase or sell Fair Trade products, or who manufacture their own products from Fair Trade certified ingredients, to celebrate and promote their support of Fair Trade. By doing so, we hope to have a positive impact on these businesses and the local economy, as well as the international Fair Trade system.

You can discover more about the organisations supporting Fair Trade locally in our online directory. Look out for the ‘Fair Trade & Local’ badge, identifying manufacturers of products made locally using Fair Trade certified products and ingredients.

What is a Fairtrade City?

Bristol is a Fairtrade City, as recognised by the Fairtrade Town movement in the UK, which is part of Fair Trade Towns International. Read more about our Fairtrade City status here.

Bristol Fair Trade Network - Frequently asked questions

How can I meet other people who care about Fair Trade in Bristol?

Bristol Fair Trade Network hosts quarterly socials where supporters of Fair Trade or those wishing to find out more can meet and discuss the latest Fair Trade campaigns and developments, instigate or join local Fair Trade activities and find opportunities to volunteer. Take a look at our next events and join us!.

How can I run my own Fair Trade event in Bristol?

We encourage anyone to set up their own event in support of Fair Trade in Bristol, and we’re happy to discuss ideas and help you promote it. For more information, visit our Events page.

Can Bristol Fair Trade visit my school/club/workplace?

We will always do our best to accommodate requests for a visit to your school, club or workplace to talk more about Fair Trade, depending on the availability of our volunteers. Visits to profit-making organisations may incur a small fee depending on the nature of the request. Please contact us if you’d like to make enquiries.

I don't live in Bristol, but want to get involved Fair Trade – how?

Bristol is just one of a thriving network of Fairtrade Towns in the UK, which in turn forms part of Fair Trade Towns International. The Communities Team at the Fairtrade Foundation can help you find your nearest Fairtrade Town in the UK.

Can I have some materials for my event/school etc.

Bristol Fair Trade is not able to provide materials for events and teaching, however the Fairtrade Foundation has a wide variety of materials available for free or at minimal cost in their online shop.

Are there any paid opportunities with Bristol Fair Trade?

At present, there is only one paid role with Bristol Fair Trade and this role is currently filled. Any future paid opportunities will be advertised on our website.

How can I do work experience with Bristol Fair Trade?

Unfortunately we’re not able to offer work experience placements with Bristol Fair Trade as our coordinator works irregular hours and is often based away from the office. We do occasionally require volunteers for specific roles and projects that would provide valuable opportunities to gain work experience. These roles will be published on our volunteer page, with details of how to apply.