The Fairtrade system includes Fairtrade International, 19 national Fairtrade organizations (NFOs), three producer networks, and eight Fairtrade Marketing Organizations (FMOs). Each actor complements each other and plays its part in order to achieve the common mission of ’empowering producers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives’. Our Global Strategy 2016-2020 offers a coherent framework to bring the different Fairtrade organizations together to work as one. Over the past year, we have made significant progress in both aligning all Fairtrade members’ plans to the Global Strategy and our efforts to achieve our common objectives.

Aligning members’ plans to the Global Strategy

The majority of Fairtrade members’ plans are now aligned with the Fairtrade Global Strategy and most have reported on their key performance indicators (KPIs). Producer networks have also provided narrative reports detailing both the activities they have implemented and financial data. We are investing in standardizing the reporting format, so that the information is valid, relevant, and meets best practice reporting standards.

Global Category Plans – Pulling together in one direction

In our Global Strategy, we have committed to increase the proportion of Fairtrade sales in cocoa, coffee and bananas. The goal is ambitious: by 2020, cocoa, coffee and banana Fairtrade producer organizations will sell at least 50 percent of their produce under Fairtrade terms. We have also committed to identifying how we can achieve greater impact in the next tier of products such as tea, cotton, flowers and sugar.

In order to meet these ambitious goals, a new way of working was implemented in 2016 based on the Global Category Plans. These plans coordinate the efforts of all the actors across the Fairtrade system, and guide the relevant use of different interventions to address the many challenges that prevent Fairtrade certified producer organizations reaching their full potential and benefiting from increased sales. Product-specific Global Category Plans with associated budgets are now in place for coffee, cocoa and bananas as well as for second tier products such as flowers, sugar and cotton.

Category plans have allowed us to establish a system that clearly links value chain activities with strategic objectives, outcomes, fund allocation and funding sources.

One Theory of Change to measure our progress

Underpinning our Global Strategy is the goal of enabling farmers and workers to move up the value chain, build stronger businesses and fairer workplaces, and access new markets. To evaluate our progress towards these goals, we have developed Fairtrade’s Theory of Change:

The Theory of Change provides the framework to analyse, learn from and improve our work within a global system. As part of our learning process, we use findings from commissioned and external research to identify challenges and design interventions to overcome them.

View the impact reports and research on Fairtrade.

The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team also developed the Learning Platform in 2016, to ensure organization-wide access to Fairtrade-related research and studies, better dissemination of information, and broader implementation of knowledge-based improvements. This central repository also provides a means of tracking changes for evidence-based decision-making. The first learning workshops took place at the Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) and the Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo (CLAC) in order to consult and validate the analyses and recommendations of the Learning Platform’s research with the producer networks.

Campaigning as one Global System

Building on the success of last year’s World Fairtrade Challenge, the Fairtrade system again organized a global campaign to mark World Fair Trade Day in May 2017. This year, more than two million people took part in more than 4,000 events to celebrate Fairtrade. This Global Campaign shows the Fairtrade system already resonates with supporters, but is still committed to reaching out to grassroots movements and consumers around the world, striking a balance between speaking with a strong and coherent voice, while delivering relevant information to our different national audiences.

Read more about the World Fairtrade Challenge 2017.

What's next?

  • Standardization of financial reporting to enable a more effective evaluation of the return on investment made by the system
  • Alignment of timelines for reporting KPIs and strategy-related indicators
  • Building on the experience and learnings from the past year, develop Global Product Category plans for 2018 and beyond
  • Planning for the World Fairtrade Challenge 2018