10 of the best fair trade brands in the UK
To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight from 24th February to 8th March, here are some of our favourite fair trade-certified companies and products to try today.
Since launching in 1994, the iconic Fairtrade mark has appeared on over 6,000 products in the UK. From its core tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate products, today Fairtrade is the most recognised ethical label, covering everything from gold jewellery to footballs.
Whilst it may be the most well-known, the Fairtrade Foundation isn't the only certification, as ethical options continue to grow. As consumers, choosing fairly traded products means we can make a difference to some of the poorest people and communities in the world, ensuring that farmers and workers haven't been exploited.
With Fairtrade Fornight being marked from 24th February to 8th March, it's the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on the brands that are truly making a difference to the lives of producers and growers that rely on our purchases. Luckily, from food and drinks, to homewares and fashion, there are plenty of brands out there today that meet the fair trade criteria, making it that much easier for ethical consumers to make more conscious purchases. Here are some of our favourite fair trade brands in the UK.
Since 2013, this skincare brand has been dedicated to making a change and contributing to a fairer, more eco-friendly and sustainable future. Consequent of fair dealings with producers from some of the world’s poorest countries such as Pakistan, India and Brazil, where FAIR SQUARED pay a Fairtrade premium to benefit the communities, the brand is now one of the first cosmetic companies to carry the well-recognised Fairtrade seal on all of its products. What's more, FAIR SQUARED products are certified NaTrue natural and organic, vegan, halal, and carbon neutral, with emissions offset in Raichur, a rural district in central India, where the brand finances clean and efficient pressure cookers for the local families. The brand's new 100% Zero Waste range takes things one step further: the eco-conscious products are now contained in plastic-free packaging, which consists of glass bottles with aluminium lids fitted with a new Fairtrade biodegradable rubber seal. The brand offers everything from organic shampoo, hand cream and lip balm, to vegan condoms and menstrual cups.
When you think of fair-trade-certified products, chocolate is probably one of the first to come to mind – and for good reason! Chocolate is loved by millions of us around the world, and that means there are also millions of people who depend on growing cocoa for their livelihoods. So opting for fair-trade chocolate means you can make a huge difference with every bar that you buy. There are several delicious ethical brands on the market today, but we particularly love Seed and Bean, which helps to provide small-scale family farmers with a more stable income, and ensure working conditions are maintained to a high standard. The bars are also organic and plastic-free, as the inner foil is home-compostable!
Fair trade tea products are becoming more readily available, so you're likely to easily find certified brands in most supermarkets and online. We love Cilpper Teas, which launched the first Fairtrade-certified tea in 1994. Tea is the second-most popular beverage in the world after water, and Brits buy over 80% of the total supply. But low tea prices and poor wages mean that tea-growing communities can struggle with extreme poverty, so our purchase can have a big impact, as Fairtrade farmers are guaranteed a fair price that covers their costs at the very least. Clipper Teas is also organic, and the brand has recently introduced plastic-free teabags – even more reason to brew up!
People Tree has been a pioneer in fair trade fashion since 1991, and was the first fashion company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organisation product label. Under each product description, you can find out who made your garment. This particular Moomin T-shirt, made from certified-Fairtrade organic cotton, was made by Assisi Garments, which is a social enterprise in India where skilled artisans transform fair trade organic cotton into beautiful clothing.
Many of us start the day with a good strong cup of coffee, but do you know the impact that your love of caffeine is having on farmers and producers around the world?
When you choose Fairtrade coffee, not only can farmers build a better quality of life for their families and communities, they can invest in growing better quality beans, too. Fairtrade coffee farmers invest at least 25 percent of their Fairtrade premium in improving productivity and quality. By opting for Fairtrade coffee, you're providing support to farmers in the many challenges they face, including climate change, low and unpredictable incomes, and even food supply. Bird & Wild is one of our favourite Fairtrade-certified organic coffee brands. The company naturally grows coffee under the rainforest canopy, a haven for birds, where it's allowed to grow slowly in wild conditions to develop a complex and distinctive flavour. The brand also donates 6% of sales to the RSPB.
Looking for fair trade homewares? Dip & Doze makes simple, affordable bedding and bath towels using organically grown and Fairtrade-certified cotton. We love the White Edged Set, a dreamy bedding set with natural coconut buttons adding a lovely detail.
Established in 1979, Traidcraft is billed as the original fair trade pioneer in the UK. The brand advocates the importance of organic farming, sustainability and transparency to the lives of growers and artisans around the world. The brand also co-founded the Fairtrade Foundation in the 90s! On the company's online shop, you'll find a curated collection of everything from fair trade ethical gifts, homewares and toys, to fashion and food.
Purchasing Fairtrade jewellery means you're making a difference to the lives of small-scale mining operators and artisans as well as their communities. Lebrusan Studio sources its gold from Fairmined-certified miners, which has allowed them to invest in a brick production shop and in cattle herds, diversifying the sources of income for their community. The company uses its fair trade gold to produce beautiful jewellery, including ethical engagement rings, ethical wedding rings, bespoke pieces, and everyday gold and diamond accessories.
Many supermarkets today have a decent selection of fair trade wines – which is music to our ears! Journey's End is a Fairtrade-certified producer in South Africa that ploughs its profits back into the community in the way of building projects, rewilding and soup kitchens. The bottles don't carry the Fairtrade logo though, which only goes to show that it's worth doing your research to source fair trade products, rather than relying on labels! Journey's End wine is available in M&S.
Every vegetarian and vegan needs a well-stocked spice cupboard, and this brand helps us to stock up on ethically sourced options. Many spice farmers around the world are quite vulnerable. And with frequent harvest failures, price fixing, and market crashes rife, black pepper farming is one of the most exploitative. Luckily, brands like Steenbergs are easily available online and in supermarkets, so you can get your hands on high-quality, responsibly-sourced spices.