Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the FTAO do?

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office speaks out on behalf of the Fair Trade movement for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South.

The office monitors European and international trade and development policies, ensures a constant dialogue between the Fair Trade movement and political decision-makers, develops political positions in the area of Fair Trade and trade justice and publishes information material such as newsletters and brochures.

Learn more here.


2. What is Fair Trade Advocacy?

Speaking out for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers - especially in the South.

See more here.


3. What is the definition of Fair Trade?

The currently accepted definition of Fair Trade is as follow:

"Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade Organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade."

(Definition of Fair Trade, Charter of Fair Trade Principles)

Learn more about Fair Trade here.


4. What is the relationship between "Fair Trade Definition" and "Charter of Fair Trade Principles"?

The Charter of Fair Trade principles was adopted by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and Fairtrade International (FLO) in January 2009. The Charter builds on the Fair Trade definition that was agreed in 2001 by IFAT (now WFTO), FLO, EFTA and NEWS (no longer exists). The Charter aims to provide a single international reference point for Fair Trade through a concise explanation of Fair Trade principles and the two main routes by which they are implemented.

You can find the Charter of Fair Trade Principles on our website in various languages.


5. Does the EU support Fair Trade?

Fair Trade has been recognized by the European Parliament in 2006, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee in 2009 and the Committee of the Regions in 2010.

Read more in section Fair Trade and the EU.


6. How can I obtain funding for Fair Trade projects from the EU?

The European Commission has provided financial support for Fair Trade and other sustainable trade related activities essentially through its:

  • development cooperation instruments (budget chapter 19)
  • co-financing actions with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)

Between 2007 and 2008, € 19.466 million were allocated for various NGOimplemented and co-financed actions. The majority of these actions were in the field of awareness raising within the EU. For the budget years 2008 and 2009, €1 million each year have been included specifically for actions related to Fair Trade in the Global South. However, this €1 million was co-opted into the general budget and ever since 2010, even though the European Parliament year on year calls for a specific ear marking for Fair Trade, this €1 million has been lost.

For all calls for proposals from the European Commission, please monitor their website.

The European Commission Development Cooperation office - EuropeAid has also issued a guidance document for European Commission Delegations in non-EU countries explaining what Fair Trade is and giving guidance to those EC Delegations that wish to support local Fair Trade projects.

Fair Trade organizations wishing to learn more about financing possibilities are strongly encouraged to contact the European Commission Delegation in their respective country. Contact details of European Commission Delegations are available here.


7. I am a student doing a project on Fair Trade. Can you tell me what studies that have been done on Fair Trade? Can I interview someone from the Fair Trade Advocacy Office?

We are glad that more and more students are interested in Fair Trade and the work of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office. However, due to limited capacities, we are not able to answer all email requests personally. If you are researching about Fair Trade Advocacy, before contacting us, please first read our website sections carefully, as they may contain the information you are looking for. If you are researching about Fair Trade or would like to contact Fair Trade producers and organizations, please visit the Fair Trade Networks’ websites for more information and contact them directly. Below you find their websites on which you can find a lot of information on Fair Trade, products, certification systems and members.

World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO):

Fairtrade International (FLO):

European Fair Trade Association (EFTA):


8. I am a member of WFTO/FLO/EFTA. Am I also therefore an FTAO member?

Fairtrade International (FLO), World Fair Trade Organisation - Europe (WFTO-E) and/or European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) network members are not automatically direct members of FTAO.

The FTAO is governed by the Fair Trade networks. Our work plan is decided by the Fair Trade networks and we can therefore not work for specific Fair Trade organizations on their specific policy or advocacy issues.

Fair Trade network members have the possibility to be involved in our expert groups and also to be closely informed of relevant policy and advocacy developments. In such cases, contact for more information.


9. What is the relation between FTAO and FINE?

FINE was an informal body made up of Fairtrade International (FLO), World Fair Trade Organisation - Europe (WFTO-E, originally IFAT), NEWS (no longer exists) and the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA). This body met regularly to discuss common issues and concerns of the Fair Trade Movement. Due to developments within these networks, FINE has not formally met for a long time. The networks now meet to discuss joint issues in other forums.

FINE set up FTAO in 2004 and the managers of these networks managed also FTAO. This is why FTAO has been associated in the past with FINE. In 2011, FTAO became the legally-independent and is a joint initiative of FLO, WFTO - Europe and EFTA.

To learn more about our vision, scope of work and objectives please see the Fair Trade Advocacy Office Strategic plan 2011-2015.



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