How it works
The problems experienced by poor producers and workers in developing countries differ greatly from product to product. The majority of coffee and cocoa, for example, is grown by independent small farmers, working their own land and marketing their produce through a local co-operative. For these producers, receiving a fair price for their beans is more important than any other aspect of a fair trade. Most tea, however, is grown on estates. The concern for workers employed on tea plantations is fair wages and decent working conditions.
To address this there are two sets of generic producer standards ; one for small farmers and one for workers on plantations and in factories. The first set applies to smallholders organised in co-operatives or other organisations with a democratic, participative structure. The second set applies to organised workers, whose employers pay decent wages, guarantee the right to join trade unions and provide good housing when relevant. On plantations and in factories, minimum health and safety as well as environmental standards must be complied with, and no child or forced labour can occur.
Trading standards stipulate that traders must:
pay a price to producers that covers the costs of sustainable production and living;
pay a 'premium' that producers can invest in development;
make partial advance payments when requested by producers;
sign contracts that allow for long-term planning and sustainable production practices.