Fair Trade is a movement promoting trading partnerships based on dialogue, transparency and respect and that seeks greater equity in International trade.The key principles for Fair Trade as set for by the Fair Trade Federation are:
Creating Opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers - Fair trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Its purpose is to create opportunities for producers who have been economically disadvantaged or marginalized in the conventional trading system.
Gender Equity - Emphasis is often place on ensuring that women's work is properly valued and rewarded. Women are always paid for their contribution to the production process and are empowered in their organizations.
Transparency and Accountability - Fair trade involves transparent management and commercial relations in order to deal fairly and respectfully with trading partners and customers.
Capacity Building - Fair trade assists in developing producer independence through sustained relationships with trading partners that provide continuity, and often include management skills development, improved access to markets, and financial and technical assistance.
Payment of a Fair Price - A fair price in the regional or local context is one that has been agreed through dialogue and participation. It covers not only the costs of production but enables production that is socially just and environmentally sound. It provides fair pay to the producers and takes into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. Fair Traders ensure prompt payment to their partners and, whenever possible, help producers with access to pre production financing.
Working Conditions - Fair trade means a safe and healthy working environment for producers. The participation of children (if any) does not adversely affect their well-being, security, educational requirements and need for recreation, and conforms to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the law and norms in the local context.
Environmental Sustainability - Fair Trade encourages producers to engage in production practices that manage and use local resources sustainably. Fair traders often work directly with producers in regions of high bioactivity in order to develop products based on sustainable use of their natural resources, giving communities incentive to preserve their natural environments for future generations.
Promoting Fairer Trade - Fair Trade Organizations educate the public about the importance of purchasing fairly traded products, highlight the need for change in the practices of conventional trade, and publicly demonstrate how fair trade is a successful model that emphasizes social justice and environmental sustainability, over the endless drive for increased profits. By providing information about producer's history, culture and living conditions, Fair Trade enhances cross-cultural understanding and respect between consumers and communities in the developing world.