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Getting to know: BAFTS

Set up in 1995, BAFTS (The British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers) is a membership organisation for businesses that sell fair trade products, both on a wholesale and a retail basis. While Fairtrade International (FLO) and the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) offer Fair Trade accreditation to large-scale organisations, what BAFTS does is slightly different. Primarily, BAFTS deals with smaller-scale artisans and suppliers who are not large enough to be regulated by FLO or WFTO, and rather than providing certification of any kind, offers a structure for Fair Trade accountability to its members.

Membership is only given to those who can evidence their commitment to the Ten Principles of Fair Trade as set out by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO). Every two years, members are required to account for all they have done to fulfil these criteria both in meeting set targets and in the way they relate to and work with producer groups, against which membership is reviewed for the future by an expert panel.

This way, BAFTS helps small businesses adhering to Fair Trade practices to have their work recognised as such and can be a part of the wider Fair trade movement and community.

Fair Trade and Fairtrade: There’s a difference?

Yup, there is. Confusing, right? But here we’re going to attempt to break it down a little to bring some clarity to the confusion.

Firstly, what is Fair Trade?

Basically, Fair Trade deals with the production and manufacturing process, and so is all about making sure that the WAY products are made adheres to a set of ethical principles. WFTO is the body overseeing the accreditation and regulation of large-scale Fair Trade organisations, measuring them up against the standards outlined below.

According to WFTO, Fair Trade is “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks gender equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers—especially in the South.”

WFTO sets out 10 Principles of Fair Trade:

Organisations must follow these in their day-to-day work and carry out monitoring to ensure that they are upheld if they are to be accredited as Fair Trade. In practice, this will look like an equal relationship between producer and supplier, whereby the skills and craftsmanship of the producer are respected and paid for fairly. Fair Trade thus strengthens the relationship between all parties—from producer to importer to retailer and finally to customer—due to the transparency within the supply chain and the long-lasting bonds forged at each link of the chain.

So, what’s Fairtrade?

While Fair Trade deals with the way that things are made, Fairtrade is concerned with what the things are made out of. In other words, raw materials or ingredients and how they have been farmed, mined or harvested. There is a huge range of ingredients that can be Fairtrade-accredited, such as tea, coffee, sugar, cocoa, bananas, flowers, cotton, wine and even gold.

The organisation in charge of Fairtrade accreditation is Fairtrade International (FLO) and you’ll probably have seen their Mark on products such as chocolate bars or cotton t-shirts. In order for a product to receive the Fairtrade Mark, all the ingredients which can be Fairtrade must be. For instance, for products such as drinks, which largely consist of water, the minimum amount of Fairtrade ingredient required to receive the Mark is 5%.

The standards set by FLO ensure things like safe working conditions, no child labour and bans on the use of dangerous chemicals. They also guarantee that the farmer receives the Fairtrade Minimum Price—enough to cover the costs of production—and an additional Fairtrade Premium to be invested in their business or in community projects of their choice. This could be anything from buying buses and bicycles to building schools and clinics, but most importantly, it is always the local community who choose which projects to invest the Premium in.

This way, Fairtrade not only benefits the producers receiving better prices directly, but also their families and communities. It is a radically inclusive and community-focused approach to trade that seeks to help as many people as possible, rather than creating competitive and individualistic models of business.

Get Involved:

BAFTS represents small-scale retailers and suppliers who are backing Fair Trade and Fairtrade practices. If this describes your business too and you would like to become a BAFTS member, go to their website at

They are also organising an annual Fair Trade conference from 20-21st May 2018 in Westbourne Grove Church, London, so if you’re free, come along for thought-provoking talks, film screenings, engaging workshops and incredible Peruvian food!

If you’re interested in coming, email Kathryn Sygrove at




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