Don’t worry, we get asked all the time…

Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between some of the most disadvantaged farmers and workers in the developing world and the people who buy their products.

When farmers and workers can sell on Fairtrade terms, it provides them with a better deal: an opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future. Fairtrade offers us a powerful way to reduce poverty through our everyday shopping.

About Fairtrade Ireland

Fairtrade Ireland works to promote fair trading practices between Ireland and developing countries. It is a founder member of Fairtrade International, based in Germany, the organisation responsible for setting international Fairtrade standards. Fairtrade Ireland also works closely with FLO’s subsidiary, FLO-Cert, which is responsible for checking compliance with these standards by producers and traders.

Fairtrade Ireland is supported by the main international development and human rights organisations in Ireland – including ActionAid Ireland, Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Comhlámh, Concern, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam Ireland and Trócaire, Irish Congress of Trade Unions and SIPTU.

Fairtrade Ireland’s work is funded by licence fees paid by companies, based on their sales of Fairtrade products. Fairtrade Ireland does not raise funds from the public. The best way to support Fairtrade is by buying Fairtrade products.

Fairtrade Ireland is a not for profit non-governmental organisation established in 1992 and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in 1994. It was granted charitable status for tax purposes by the Revenue Commissioners on 17 May 1995.

Fairtrade Ireland’s main activities include: Fairtrade business development and education and advocacy to raise public awareness of Fairtrade in Ireland.,

Fairtrade Labelling

Since 1996, work with businesses to promote the availability of Fairtrade certified products in Ireland has been the main activity of Fairtrade Ireland; in November that year Bewley’s Ltd imported the first two tonnes of Fairtrade certified coffee to Ireland. The Fairtrade Mark on a product is independent certification that it meets internationally agreed Fairtrade standards and that the farmer or worker who produce it receive a fair return for their work.

Fairtrade certified products are now widely available in shops, restaurants and cafes throughout Ireland and in all the main supermarkets. The range of products continues to grow, and includes coffee, tea, sugar, bananas, chocolate, cocoa, confectionery, cosmetics, biscuits, fresh and dried fruit, cut flowers, ice cream, nuts, spices, fruit juice, honey, jams, rice, wine, oils, cotton and gold.

Irish consumers spent an estimated €392 million on Fairtrade certified products in 2019, a small increase of 3% on consumer spend on 2018. Both Bewleys and Insomnia who are serving 100% Fairtrade coffee and Starbucks’ whose main espresso coffee is Fairtrade - maintained their strong Fairtrade offerings. Lidl saw significant growth in particular in their Fairtrade sourced cocoa product range. Fairtrade bananas are sold in all the main retailers and sales also grew by about 3% during the year.

Benefits to farmers and workers in the Global South The Fairtrade system has two main economic instruments; a minimum price for most commodities and a Fairtrade premium or bonus which is paid on top of this. The Minimum price is intended to cover the cost of production and is a floor price’ ie if the market prices go above the Fairtrade Minimum price te Fairtrade price also goes up. The premium payment is used for investment for the benefit of farmers and workers and the decisions about its use are made by either a General Assembly of small farmers, or by a Premium Committee of workers representatives. The extra benefit to farmers and workers from the sales of Fairtrade products in Ireland in 2019 amounted to approximately €2,176,000. Most of this is going to the producers of coffee, bananas and cocoa products.

To see the full list of companies involved go here

Public Education Advocacy and Awareness-Raising

As well as working with businesses, Fairtrade Ireland promotes public awareness of issues affecting our partners in the global south, and on the benefits of Fairtrade for farmers and workers. This is done through collaborative work with supporters in Fairtrade communities, schools, colleges, universities, councils and workplaces.

Fairtrade Fortnight has been Fairtrade Ireland’s main awareness-raising initiative each year since 2002. Events during the Fortnight include visits by representatives of Fairtrade certified organisations in producer countries to supporter groups, town and city councils, businesses and other organisations throughout the country.