Fairtrade is all about offering a better deal to small-scale farmers, workers and craftspeople in the developing world. By offering better prices, better working conditions and better terms of trade it enables them to build secure and sustainable livelihoods, take more control of their own futures and invest in the well-being of their families and communities.
As well as paying producers a guaranteed fair price, Fairtrade is distinguished by various key features:
The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) lists ten central principles of fair trade in more detail here
You can also find a lot of helpful information on the website of the Fairtrade Foundation here
During the years since the shop opened, the wider Fairtrade market has grown at an astonishing pace and moved from the fringe to the mainstream. The range of Fairtrade products and the number of outlets in which they can be found has increased beyond anything we could have dreamed in 2003. Now all the major supermarkets and multi-nationals boast Fairtrade lines - which represents both a major triumph and a whole new set of challenges.
Although so much ground has been gained, the Fairtrade battle is far from won. The systems and practices which govern most of world trade are still firmly skewed against the poor and marginalised; the campaign for trade justice remains as necessary and urgent as ever. We are sure that Fairtrade at St Michaels, as an independent shop at the heart of the city, still has an essential role to play in this campaign, and our basic aims remain very much the same as when we first started up: