Understanding International Social Enterprise (3) – Fair Trade

"Goods produced under conditions which do not meet a rudimentary standard to decency should be regarded as contraband and not allowed to pollute the channels of international commerce." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Fair trade is a recent movement highlighting equity within the exchange of goods. Traders sell products in compliance with social and environmental production standards through trade associations such as Fair Trade Federation or Fairtrade Foundation, and pay producers fairly. That is to say, traders and producers agree through dialogue on a fair price that covers labor and material costs and compensates producers for their work.

The model particularly focuses on exports from developing countries to developed ones. Hence, it creates employment and generates income for economically disadvantaged producers in developing countries. Fair trade also encourages humane working conditions, integrates cultural and environmental factors into the products, and promotes transparent and sustainable relations with producers and gender equity.

For example, Ten Thousand Villages is the biggest fair trade retailer in the U.S. and Canada selling handicrafts and coffee beans from over 38 countries. eBay has also created a subsidiary online marketplace to sell eco- and people-positive products from certified producers all over the world.

Want to contribute to social justice and environmental soundness? Choosing fair trade products is a great way to align your purchasing power with your personal values!


Find Us Online



Coming Events

Native Learning Center Webinar: Strategic Planning for Housing

Invest Local

We help businesses and nonprofits to access the capital they need to grow.

See our Resources Guide, and visit our Page.


See how entrepreneurs and communities are leveraging the power of the marketplace for betterment. Get inspired & get to work!

Bookmark and Share



Using the power of business to solve social
and environmental problems.