This glossary of terms was created by members of the Fair Trade Federation JEDI Committee. This is an ever-evolving collection of terms to help the Fair Trade Federation community develop shared language. During this process, we curated terminology and concepts that are both unique to the Fair Trade community, but also some that have more broader applications.
Accountability is an ongoing process that involves developing and implementing processes and systems that enable individuals and groups to be held responsible for their actions and decisions and to ensure that their work embodies fair trade practices.
Reference: Racial Equity Tools
“Fair Trade started with individual companies called Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs), who made a commitment to work directly with indigenous peoples and to market their products directly to consumers. By cutting out middlemen, ATOs have been able to pay farmers substantially more while offering a competitive product.”
Reference: Equal Exchange
B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. These businesses come from many different industries, not just those engaged in international trade.
Reference: B Corp Certification
Gender binary refers to the common belief that people come in exactly two sexes/genders: female and male, women and men. Language that furthers these notions is considered binary language. Being gender-inclusive involves communicating in a way that does not discriminate against a particular sex or gender identity, and does not perpetuate gender stereotypes.
To develop and strengthen the skills, instincts, abilities, processes, and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in a fast-changing world.
Reference: United Nations
The unacknowledged adoption and misuse or co-opting of cultural symbols, rituals, aesthetics, textiles, language, food, traditions, etc. by individuals from another, often more dominant, culture or society. Cultural appropriation is most problematic when individuals from a dominant culture are profiting off the traditions of a marginalized culture. “Appropriation” often occurs without any understanding of the cultural practices being appropriated, resulting in the co-opting of culturally significant traditions by turning them into “meaningless” trends that ignore cultural nuance and history.
Reference: Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation
The active process of sustainably maintaining the traditions, language, and practices of a culture.
Practices, customs, and beliefs of a specific culture that are passed down from one generation to the next.
Also referred to as workplace intimidation, coercive practices happen when a person in power uses that power to improperly influence the behavior of those within their control, often individuals unlikely to speak up for themselves. This can take the form of an action involving threats, humiliation, and intimidation and can be psychological, emotional, sexual, or physical.
An organization collectively owned by a group of individuals, in Fair Trade these are often farmers or artisans, who have come together to grow and develop the organization. Benefits are distributed equitably.
Please refer to “Global South / Global North Country”
The right of a person to be treated with value and respect.
Being treated differently and looked down upon. The denial of justice and fair treatment by both individuals and institutions in many areas, including employment, education, housing, banking, and political rights, and often follows prejudiced thinking.
Reference: St. Mary’s College
The wide variety of shared and different personal and group characteristics among human beings. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, religion, ability, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance, and cultural, ethnic, or racial identity. We acknowledge and actively work to create safe spaces that honor the many ways individuals identify.
Creating opportunities for economic mobility for all people. Economic justice, which touches the individual person as well as the social order, encompasses the moral principles which guide us in designing our economic institutions. These institutions determine how each person earns a living, enters into contracts, exchanges goods and services with others.
Reference: Center for Economic and Social Justice
Practices that protect and regenerate environmental resources. The direct effect of socio-economic activities on the environment.
Individuals in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content (not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal.
Reference: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
All individuals have the same access to resources and opportunities.
Recognizes differing barriers for individuals from different identities and communities, and takes those differences into account to offer individuals the support they need to gain equal access to resources and opportunities.
A social construct that divides individuals into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as a shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history, and ancestral geographical base.
Reference: Pacific University
In some places or cultures, it is common for children to learn and participate in labor practices. Exploitative child labor would be unpaid labor and/or labor that prevents a child from their Rights as a Child: education, healthcare, basic needs (food/water/shelter), and protection from abuse. In the FTF Code of Practice, a child is defined as an individual under 16 years old.
“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.”
Reference: WFTO Definition of Fair Trade
One of two approaches recognized by the International Fair Trade Charter to practice fair trade, the ‘product certification route’ guarantees fair production and/or distribution conditions of a specific product. The certification approach uses third-party auditing and is primarily focused on labor conditions.
Reference: Fair Trade Charter Website
Please see “Fair Trade Verification” for information on the other approach
Fair Trade organizations with a clear commitment to Fair Trade as a core principle of their mission. They are actively engaged in supporting producers, raising awareness, and campaigning for changes in the rules and the practice of conventional international trade.
A global movement that, “ . . . brings together many actors such as Fair Trade organizations, labeling initiatives, marketing organizations, national Fair Trade networks, Fair Trade support organizations, Fair Trade Towns, academic and education institutions, specialized Fair Trade importers, civil society organizations in both the North and Global South, places of worship, researchers and volunteers.” Collectively, these stakeholders, backed by consumers, advocate for more ethical global trading practices.
Reference: Fair Trade Advocacy Office
One of two approaches recognized by the International Fair Trade Charter to practice fair trade, the ‘integrated supply-chain route’ (also known as Fair Trade Verification) is a system in which all the actors across the chain (from producers to exporter/importers, wholesalers, retailers, etc.), are jointly committed to Fair Trade and fair practices in an enterprise.
Reference: Fair Trade Charter Website
Please see “Fair Trade Certification” for information on the other approach
Gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls, and boys that are socially constructed. This includes norms, behaviors, and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl, or boy. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time. Rigid gender norms can negatively affect people with diverse gender identities, and they often face violence, stigma, and discrimination as a result.
Reference: World Health Organization
The Fair Trade Federation uses the term “Global South” to refer to nations within Africa, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia that have a medium or low Human Development Index (generally <0.7.) Most of these nations are within the Southern Hemisphere. The term “Global North” is used to refer to nations with a high Human Development Index, these nations are typically in the Northern Hemisphere.
The WFTO Guarantee System (GS) combines Fair Trade and social enterprise verification into one. It is built to verify that an enterprise is mission-led, focused on the interests of its producers, and this is in the structure, systems, and practices of the enterprise.
References: WFTO Guarantee System
Any unwanted behavior, physical or verbal, that makes a person feel uncomfortable, humiliated, or distressed. This can include, but is not limited to, unwanted physical contact, sexual advances, or requests for sexual favors.
Creating a safe, welcoming environment that honors, respects, takes into consideration, and listens to all people, regardless of differences.
Permission given with knowledge of all the mechanisms through which information, stories, and/or images will be disseminated, shared, and used. This includes fully disclosing the various stakeholders who may use that information, the gravity of dissemination, and how.
“The new International Fair Trade Charter enshrines the common vision and fundamental values of the Fair Trade movement to put us on the path to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Reference: Fair Trade Charter Website
Justice means different things within different contexts. As a community, we view justice as both a concept and an act, one that is centered in fairness and building systems within our organizations that center people and the environment, undoing the inequities and harm that exist.
The means of securing the resources to live a safe and dignified life.
The minimum income necessary for an individual to maintain a standard of living that meets their basic human needs – food, housing, and other similar essentials.
Reference: Global Living Wage Coalition
Members strive to establish direct, equitable relationships built on mutual respect, and develop secure and safe ways for suppliers/artisans/producer groups to notify them of any concerns. Instead of one-off projects, members strive to build sustainable, long-term relationships with the partners they are collaborating with.
Mutually beneficial partnerships are rooted in reciprocal relationships among stakeholders. The themes of mutuality and reciprocity emphasize that all stakeholders in a specific partnership benefit from the partnership in a way that is meaningful and beneficial to them as well as to the larger shared goals.
Reference: Georgia Tech
The form, structure, features, and appearance as well as the plans, drawings, sketches and other design information necessary to manufacture a product, all privately belonging to a certain organization or individual.
Reference: Law Insider
To attempt to persuade someone to switch to a particular religious belief, faith, or way of living.
A social construct that artificially divides individuals into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly skin color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation or history, ethnic classification, and/or the social, economic, and political needs of a society at a given period of time.
Reference: Pacific University
The belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherently superior “race” resulting in the systemic oppression of a racial group(s) to the social, economic, and political advantage of the supposedly “superior” race.
Reference: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
A holistic approach to agriculture that focuses on the interconnection of farming systems and the ecological system as a whole, and seeks to restore environments to grow productivity
A process that includes identifying and assessing potential suppliers as well as selecting and engaging with appropriate suppliers who offer the best value, the process of vetting, selecting, and managing suppliers who can provide the products a business needs for day-to-day running.
A person with an interest or concern in something. In fair trade, this can refer to (but is not limited to): suppliers/artisans/producer groups, farmers, customers, investors, employees, etc.
The individuals and/or groups with whom fair trade business organizations collaborate to make/source products. This is how the FTF refers to all individuals who are physically creating fair trade products. As FTF members often refer to their partners in different ways, this is meant to be an all-encompassing reference to fair trade production partners.
“Development that does not exhaust resources for the future generations; the capacity of people and institutions is permanently enhanced; and responsibilities and benefits are broadly shared.”
A system deeply rooted in unjust practices based on prejudice.Policies and procedures that result in exclusionary practices, with certain individuals receiving unequal access, particularly marginalized individuals. These barriers affect groups disproportionately by both perpetuating and maintaining stark disparities.
Being open about how you operate within your organization and/or with the public, allowing scrutiny and for those on the outside to understand and ask questions.
Reference: Fair Trade Federation Principle #2
An organization formed by workers who join together and use their strength to have a voice in their workplace.
Verbal harassment is a type of non-physical harassment that makes employees feel less comfortable, humiliated, threatened, or intimidated. Most of the time, people find it challenging to identify verbal harassment because of varied reactions among colleagues.
Reference: Easy Llama
“The WFTO is the global community and verifier of social enterprises that fully practice Fair Trade. Spread across 76 countries, WFTO members all exist to serve marginalized communities. To be a WFTO member, an enterprise or organization must demonstrate they put people and planet first in everything they do. We are democratically run by our members, who are part of a broader community of over 1,000 social enterprises and 1,500 shops.”