The Fairtrade Business Opportunity

Fairtrade is a global movement supported by a wide network of producers, consumers, businesses, retailers and civil society organisations. We work with over 1,4 million farmers and farm workers, and there are over 30,000 Fairtrade labelled products sold in 125 countries worldwide, where Fairtrade enjoys high levels of recognition and trust among consumers.

2013 was year of impressive growth for Fairtrade. Shoppers spent €5.5 billion on Fairtrade products, a 15% increase on 2012 figures. While European and North American markets are still leaders in Fairtrade consumption, emerging economies like South Africa, Brazil, India and Kenya are steadily growing their domestic demand. In South Africa, Fairtrade sales increased by 23% in 2013, when local consumers spent over R287 million in Fairtrade labelled products. Since the launch of the first Fairtrade product in 2010, the South African Fairtrade market increased five-fold, and we are currently the fastest-growing ethical / sustainable label in the country, with logo recognition that peaks to 11% within target consumer segments.

> Download our Fairtrade by the Numbers fact sheet



Whether you are a farm, trader, brand, or distribution outlet, Fairtrade adds value to your business by helping you:

  • achieve your own sustainability / Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals;
  • gain better access to local and international markets;
  • build a more sustainble brand image;
  • gain a valuable partner for research and development;
  • invest in a more sustainable future for South Africa and the region.

What we certify

Fairtrade Standards are designed to support sustainable agriculture and the development of smallholder farmers and farm workers in developing countries. To this end, we certify producers that fall within our geographical scope, and we have developed standards for the following product categories:

  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Cotton
  • Flowers
  • Fresh Fruit (including Juice)
  • Herbs & Spices
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Tea / Rooibos Tea
  • Wine

We also certify so-called 'composite products', namely products that are made from more than one ingredient. For example, a milk chocolate bar is made from cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk. In order to certify a composite product, two rules are followed: (1) all that can be Fairtrade must be Fairtrade, and (2) the Fairtrade ingredients must make up at least 20% of the total product composition. Therefore, in the case of milk chocolate, only the cocoa and the sugar must be certified because we do not have Fairtrade milk.

Composite products still carry the FAIRTRADE Mark on the front of the pack, but the percentage of Fairtrade ingredients is displayed on the back. In the case of single ingredient products like coffee, 100% of the product must be Fairtrade certified in order to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark.

Since 2014, companies are also able to commit to single ingredient sourcing for cocoa, sugar and cotton. Click here to find out more about our Fairtrade Sourcing Programmes.

How it works 

Fairtrade is a supply chain certification. This means that, for a product to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark, each company involved in the growing, trading, processing and manufacturing of the product must be certified against the applicable Fairtrade Standard and audited every year. At last, the brand-owner must obtain the license to use the Fairtrade Mark on packaging.

Fairtrade certification is managed by FLOCERT, which is a third-party auditing body specialised in Fairtrade, whereas Fairtrade licensing is managed by us Fairtrade Label South Africa.

This is a mock-up of a standard Fairtrade supply chain: