How is fair trade helping the United Nations achieve its goals?

Posted: Thu. Sep 28, 2017


At this time each year, presidents, diplomats, and representatives from all nations gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York, NY for the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The UNGA deliberates on urgent and important global issues, such as security, poverty, and migration.

This year’s UNGA has an important emphasis on implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were launched by world leaders at the 2015 General Assembly, and consist of 17 high-level goals with 169 targets. The UN goals are ambitious, but achievable with the help of partnerships between governments, NGOs, international organizations, and businesses. These goals bind the UN bodies, representatives, and staff—as well as their many partners—around a common mission.

With fair trade’s aim of improving global sustainability, our core values align directly with that of the UN’s sustainable development agenda. Below is a snapshot of the ways in which fair trade businesses are helping achieve the SDGs through trade.

Goals_verticalGoal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

The overall mission of fair trade is to create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers, which supports the UN’s target to “build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations.”

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality & empower all women & girls

Fair trade businesses build long-term relationships that empower workers and do not discriminate based on gender, race, national origin, religion, caste, disability, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status.

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive & sustainable economic growth, full & productive employment & decent work for all

Fair trade supports fair wages, prompt payment, and safe and empowering working conditions for all throughout the trading chain, which encourages the growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within & among countries

FTF businesses work with marginalized farmers & artisans and assist in capacity-building, which contributes to income growth in developing countries and for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change & its impacts

Fair trade businesses practice and encourage the responsible stewardship of resources and environmentally sustainable practices – reducing, reusing, reclaiming, and recycling materials wherever possible.

Goal 16: Promote peaceful & inclusive societies for sustainable development & provide access to justice for all

The UN aims to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.” FTF members are dedicated to respecting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as combating child trafficking and exploitative labor.

When you buy from fair trade businesses, your purchases are a part of a much broader effort to end global poverty.

Join the conversation by sharing how your purchases or businesses contribute to the UN sustainable development agenda using the hashtag #fairtrade4sdgs.

More information on these topics can be found below:

Rachel-L-SpenceRachel L. Spence ( is the Fair Trade Federation’s Engagement Manager, responsible for communications, public engagement, and advocacy for fair trade principles and practices.



Leave a Reply