The Cooperative Difference

Fair Trader tries very hard to apply co-operative principles in everything it does

Co-operative values

Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Co-operative Principles

Fair Trader puts its values into practice by following The Co-operative Principles :

Anyone who shares our belief that we can make a meaningful, personal contribution to building a better world by supporting the development of fair trade, is welcome to join.

Members’ input to the development of the business is actively sought, and every member has an equal say on major decisions via online voting. The voluntary unpaid board is re-appointed annually by the members.

We are funded entirely by member subscriptions, and members get dividend points with every purchase. Any financial surpluses are reinvested to help our fair trade suppliers sell more of their products.

Apart from our manager and a part-time assistant, we are run entirely by committed volunteers. We have no borrowings and are not beholden to any other organisation.

Members organise regular events which provide an opportunity to learn from, and co-operate with, our suppliers and other stakeholders. This learning helps us develop ourselves and work more effectively together.

We are seeking partnerships with other co-operatives to develop online sales of our fairly-traded gifts to help our co-operative supplier member communities in the developing world.

Fair Trader members undertake a seven-point sustainability assessment on every product/supplier we offer, to ensure that they provide sustainable development in environmental, social and economic terms.

For a few examples of our projects, click here.


We offer schools the chance to buy Fairtrade and fairly traded products e.g. a Fairtrade Food Basket that includes a CD of Fairtrade producer stories.


We have designed a calendar – term by term with suggested activities to develop children’s understanding of fair trade. Use Fair Trader to save time and learn from other schools’ fantastic fair trade ideas.


Fair Trader works hard to support schools acheive/maintain Fairtrade school status. Click here to download

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