What is fair trade ?

Fair trade is an alternative to conventional trade whose approach is to use trade as a lever for development and reduce inequalities, ensuring the fair compensation of producers. In addition to this economic perspective, there are ethical, social and environmental concerns.
Read the 10 principles of Fair Trade

What is the extent of fair trade ?

In Belgium

• Fair trade sales in 2012 amounted to just over 95 million euros.

• Between 2001 and 2010 fair trade sales increased by 83%.

• Every Belgian spends an average of € 8.6 a year on the purchase of fair trade products. It’s better than our French neighbors (6.24 euros), but much worse than our British neighbors (34.5 euros).

• the Trade for Development Center barometer on Fair Trade shows fair trade awareness is increasing year by year. In 2012, 90% of people living in Belgium said they had already heard about fair trade, compared to 79% in 2011.

For more information about fair trade in Belgium, see the 2014 TDC Barometer.

In Europe

• Europe alone accounts for nearly 65% ​​of the global fair trade market, with sales of 3.18 billion euros in 2011.

• In Switzerland and Great Britain, consumers spent 41 euros and 34.5 euros, respectively, on fair trade products in 2012. In some European countries, Fairtrade products achieved very high market shares : in Switzerland, for example, 50% of bananas sold are fair trade

• There are fair trade products in more than 63,000 sales locations in Europe.

In the world

• Worldwide sales of fair trade products in 2012 amounted to between 5.5 and 6 billion euros in sales.

• According to the US Fair Trade Federation, fair trade sales represent 0.1% of world trade.

• More than 30,000 products are consumed in 70 consumer countries.

Why buy fair trade products ?

Buying a fair trade product helps to promote its economic, social and environmental values ​​. It is a conscious act that contributes to the development of a fairer trade for all links in the chain from producer to consumer.

How to recognize if something is fair trade ?

Many products bear a label certifying that they are fair trade products. Some brands like those of our members also market fair trade products with or without labels, but guaranteeing respect for the principles of fair trade.

It is more difficult to recognize if à product is fair trade when it comes to a non-food product. These products are generally marketed in alternative businesses or markets. In this circumstance, we encourage you to learn more about the values supported by the brand.

What are fair trade products ?

There are more than 30,000 fair trade products, whether in food or non-food (crafts, clothing, etc.). Nevertheless, bananas, sugar, chocolate, and coffee remain the most popular consumer products

Does BFTF sell Fair Trade products ?

BFTF is the Belgian Fair Trade Federation. It does not have a store location. Its members market fair trade products and some of them have their own outlet point(s).

Where to find fair trade products ?

Fair trade products are found in a large number of supermarkets but also and especially in alternative or fair trade shops like those of our members.

Does a fair trade product cost more ?

Fair trade products are more expensive than low-end products in high volume stores, but they usually cost as much, or sometimes less, than products of equivalent quality.

Be careful to compare what is comparable. When fair trade offers quality products, one must compare them with products of the same quality.

Why buy a fair trade product rather than an organic product or a local product ?

First, consider that more than 50% of Fairtrade certified products (formerly Max Havelaar) are also certified organic ( Fair trade is therefore compatible with organic food, and the respect for the environment is one of the essential principles of fair trade.

Fairtrade products are essentially products that are not native to our countries, such as coffee, chocolate, bananas, cotton or local handicrafts of the South.

But recently, fair trade North / North has developed, and some large fair trade brands now offer local fair trade products that respect the environment and support a small scale farming with an expertise specific to the field.

Can a product that comes from Belgium be fair trade ?

Although different from traditional fair trade (North / South), fair trade "North / North" is developing. Some fair trade organizations now offer fair trade products from European countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Greece, etc.).

For more info :

- Read the TDC article 
- Read the Oxfam study

How to encourage fair trade ?

  • As a consumer : buy fair trade products !
  • As a citizen : take part in the awareness-raising activities organized during Fair Trade Week ; encourage your municipality to become a Fair Trade County ; raise the awareness of those around you about fair trade, etc. !
  • As a teacher : organize an activity in your school or class with specialized organizations like Miel Maya Honing, Oxfam-Magasins du monde, etc. !
  • As a merchant or professional in the HoReCa : market and use fair trade products in your brand !
  • As a business leader : educate your employees and use the Fairtrade principles in your structure !

Nous contacter

Pierre-Yves Brasseur


BFTF asbl
Siège social :
Avenue Comte de Smet de Nayer, 14 boîte 3 - 5000 Namur
Siège d’exploitation :
Rue du Fort, 35 - 1060 Saint-Gilles

N° Entreprise : 0808 549 636
Banque Triodos : 523-0803449-73

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