The NYC Fair Trade Coalition is a grassroots organization that promotes fair trade businesses and retailers in New York City and educates consumers on the importance of fair trade. It partners with ethically-aligned businesses, retailers, NGOs, and citizens in New York City to host events and engage the public in dialogue. It offers its members advertising support through its social media channels, coordinates sales events, and fosters networking among ethical and fair trade businesses. 

What is fair trade?


Fair trade is a trading partnership based on reciprocal benefits and mutual respect between producer/artisan and seller. Fair trade partnerships ensure that 1) prices paid to producers truly and justly reflect their work, 2) that workers have the right to organize, 3) that national health, safety, and wage laws are enforced, and 4) that products are environmentally sustainable and conserve natural resources. Fair trade offers better wages to producers/artisans, improved terms of trade, and the business skills necessary to produce high-quality products that can compete in the global marketplace. Through this model of respectful trade, farmers and workers can improve their lives and plan for their futures. Today, fair trade benefits more than 1.2 million farming families in 70 developing countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Fair trade is respect, empowerment, and sustainability.


Why should I buy fair trade?


Fair trade is a tangible and powerful way to reduce poverty through everyday shopping while conserving the natural resources of the planet. The NYC Fair Trade Coalition explains fair trade purchasing as “voting with your dollar.” When you buy fair trade, you are empowering the producer/artisan and showing the global market that you respect the life at the other end of the supply chain and that you want companies and businesses to do the same.


New Yorkers have major consumer pull and our city is an enormous and bustling market. The more you buy fair trade products or ask your retailers to carry fair trade, the clearer the message is: New York City wants ethical/sustainable products and business practices. Companies and businesses look at the bottom line.  If you are not buying their product, they notice. If you hold back a purchase until those companies start practicing fair trade, you will see change and a positive impact. If you start buying more fair trade products, companies will want to adopt such practices.


How do I know that a product is fair trade?


The easiest step in identifying a fair trade product is the label.  Click on the links to see the identifying fair trade label and to read more information.


Fair Trade Certifying Bodies:


Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade International

Fair for Life


Fair Trade Membership Associations:


Fair Trade Federation

World Fair Trade Organization


If you don’t see a fair trade label on a product, do your own due diligence and research the company to see if they meet your value standards. It seems like a lot of work, but take a few minutes to ask the following.


  • Where is this product coming from?

  • How was it produced?

  • Who produced it?


If the company is responsive and responsible, continue supporting their efforts and hold them accountable for maintaining fair trade practices and environmental stewardship. If a company lacks information on their practices, start writing emails and requesting transparency. We have amazing power as consumers. Companies need us and we should only support businesses that align with our values of fair trade and mutual respect. Exercise your fair trade buying power!


Thank you Fair Trade Resources Network and Fair Trade USA for help with these answers.