Christmas is approaching, and it’s time to think about Christmas presents for your family and friends. Why not have a look in a Fair Trade shop? Buying Fair Trade goods is a way of helping producers in developing countries to grow their business by paying a fair price for their products.

The Fair Trade movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards. Fair Trade labelling is a certification system designed to allow consumers to identify goods which meet agreed standards. Overseen by a standard-setting body, called FLO International and FLO-CERT, a certification body, the system involves independent auditing of producers and traders to ensure that the agreed standards are met.

Fair Trade certification aims not only at fair prices, but also at the respect of the principles of ethical purchasing, which include ILO agreements, such as those banning child and slave labour. Fair trade principles also include guaranteeing a safe workplace and the right to unionise; adherence to the United Nations charter of human rights; and a fair price that covers the cost of production, facilitates social development and respects the environment.