The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), formerly known as IFAT (International Federation for Alternative Trade), is a global authority on Fair Trade. It is the global representative body of over 400 organisations committed to 100% Fair Trade. Its goal is to enable producers to improve their livelihoods and communities through Fair Trade. It does this by delivering market access for its worldwide membership through policy, advocacy, campaigning, marketing and monitoring. 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.
WFTO operates in 70 countries across 5 regions; Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North American and the Pacific Rim, with elected global and regional boards. It is the only global network whose members represent the Fair Trade chain from production to sale. WFTO was born out of the International Fair Trade Association on 15 October 2008 and was considered a response to the extraordinary issues of our time: the failure of global bodies to impact the imbalance in trade, the failure of governments and businesses to tackle climate change and the failure of the financial system. Fair Trade is more than just trading: it proves that greater justice in world trade is possible. It highlights the need for change in the rules and practice of conventional trade and shows how a successful business can also put people first.
WFTO members are organisations differentiated by their 100% Fair Trade commitment to eradicate poverty through sustainable economic development; pioneering social and environmental policy and practice and continual reinvestment in marginalised artisans, farmers and producer communities in some of the most fragile places on earth. Fair Trade today is a truly global movement. Over a million small-scale producers and workers are organized in as many as 3,000 grassroots organizations and their umbrella structures in over 50 countries in the South. Their products are sold in thousands of World-shops or Fair Trade shops, supermarkets and many other sales points in the North and, increasingly, in sales outlets in the Southern hemisphere.
Ever more public institutions are serving Fair Trade products and local authorities include fair and sustainable criteria in their public tenders. Thousands of towns, universities and churches have applied for Fair Trade status, committing to promote Fair Trade and to contribute to overcoming poverty and exclusion. Increasingly, representatives from developing countries promote Fair Trade because it enables small and marginalized producers in their countries to live and work in dignity. Fair Trade is increasingly on the agenda of policy makers throughout the world. Fundamentally, the World Fair Trade Organization is a global community of pioneering and passionate change-makers, responsible for the development of the sustainable Fair Trade economy, for the greater good.
To learn more about the history of the WFTO and the Fair Trade movement, see the Global WFTO website.