Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate and flowers.
Fair Trade certified sales in 2008 amounted to approximately US$4.08 billion (€2) worldwide, a 22 % year-to-year increase. While this represents a tiny fraction of world trade in physical merchandise, some fair trade products account for 20-50% of all sales in their product categories. In June 2008, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International estimated that over 7.5 million producers and their families were benefiting from fair trade funded infrastructure, technical assistance and community development projects.
The response to fair trade has been mixed. Fair trade's increasing popularity has drawn criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. The Adam Smith Institute sees "fair trade" as a type of subsidy or marketing ploy that impedes growth. Segments of the left, such as French author Christian Jacquiau, criticize fair trade for not adequately challenging the current trading system.