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While the Fair Trade movement has taken off most notably in the UK and US, its
presence in Singapore has room for growth. The majority of Fair Trade products arrive in
supermarkets and shopping centres largely through the efforts of UK coffee company
Café Direct as well as multinationals such as Marks & Spencers. A smaller though
significant percentage arrive through the “organic backdoor”, in products that have
double certification.

Given the established consumer culture of Singapore, Fair Trade has high potential for
encouraging ethical consumption – if leveraged properly. This guide seeks to list the
various Fair Trade items available in Singapore, to benefit ethical consumers – and
thereby create that leverage.
What’s Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is generally regarded as the gold standard in ethical consumption, given its
wide recognition, comprehensive standards, and independent certification. It’s a good
alternative to unfair trade rules such as import tariffs and Western farm subsidies. Most
of all, it’s proven to make a significant difference in the lives of the producers groups it

As defined by the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, “Fair-trade is a trading partnership,

based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international
trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to,
and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers – especially in the
South. Fair-trade organisations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in
supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules
and prqactices of conventional international trade.”

Why Fair Trade?

A decent Farmers & producer groups are usually paid a fraction of
the eventual sale price of a product.
living wage

Protect the Farmers implement integrated crop management and

avoid the use of toxic agrochemicals for pest
environment management.

Sustainable Farmers’ and workers organisations receive a ‘social

premium’ to invest back in their communities. This can be
community used to improve health services, provide medical supplies,
development build schools, and provide education for children.

Access to Fair Trade helps producers to gain a better understanding

international markets, providing them with contacts and
international resources to present their products at international fairs.

Ensuring Through cooperatives and trade unions, workers are

better able to defend their rights. Children are not
labour rights exploited.

Reduce Provide farmers with economically viable alternatives to

the growing of coca and opium poppies, the raw materials
harmful for cocaine and heroin. (according to TransFair USA)
The various trademarks

Consumers, however, do need to take note of the 3 main standards in use:

The Fairtrade Mark is used mostly for commodity products.
Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International
( develops the standards while FLO-CERT
GMBH ( certifies producers. The most common
Fair Trade logo around.
Used solely by US companies and is administered by TransFair

The World Fair Trade Organisation Mark ( is

used to certify companies, not products, especially those which
retail “fairly traded” handicrafts.

Community Trade vs. Fair Trade

The Body Shop has been running their community trade scheme
since 1986, much longer than the Fair Trade concept itself. In the late
Anita Roddick's book, Business as Unusual, she lays out the
company guidelines on the small communities they trade with: 1)
Social or economically marginalised involved with and benefit from
the trade, 2) Commercially viable, 3) Able to build a trading relationship that can benefit
the primary producer or processor, and 4) Using a product or process that is both
socially and economically benign and sustainable.

So while its products are ‘fairly traded’ (as opposed to Fairtrade), as big name brands go,
it’s done much more than any of its competitors, with its far-reaching codes of conduct
and extensive reporting on its own social and environmental practices.

Rainforest Alliance vs. Fair Trade So This
This chart summarises the main differences between Fair Trade and the Rainforest
Alliance, used by McDonald’s in Singapore. From the Organic Consumers Association:

Fair Trade vs. Ethically Traded

While both terms are widely used, they are
not interchangeable. The main difference
between the two terms is that one is
independently certified.

Starbucks sells “ethically traded coffee”,

and just one blend of Fairtrade coffee (Café
Estima) by the bag.

Associations & Networks
While Singapore does not yet have a National Initiative
to look after the promotion and development of Fair
Trade in the county, the community-run Fair Trade SG
network connects Fair Trade businesses and ethical
consumers, and provides updates on the development
of Fair Trade and helps organise FT events.

World Fair Trade Day 2008

Date: 10 May 2008
Location: Food #03

Green Carnival booth

Date: 2 Oct 2006
Location: NUS

The Great Singapore (Fair Trade) Sale

Date: 8 Jun 2008
Location: Food For Thought

Fair Trade SG Yahoo group:

Fair Trade SG Facebook group:
Contact: Jared Tham, theflyinguniversity at
Fair Trade companies
Cafédirect is the UK’s largest Fairtrade
coffee company. Their contribution to
Fairtrade goes far above what the
Fairtrade mark requires, with 70% of
their profits going back to producer
groups. Singapore is their second
Asian base, after Hong Kong.

Cafédirect products are distributed

through 2 main channels. Their commercial channel distributes its Fairtrade coffee, tea
and hot chocolate through outlets such as Market Place, Three-Sixty, Cold Storage,
Giant, Fair Price Finest, and more recently, through 13 Cedele cafes.

Its NGO channel distributes through Food #03, a neat little vegetarian restaurant in Little
India. Book Café has also recently started selling Cafédirect products at its Clarke Quay
Central branch.

Contact: Francois Giry, francois.giry at

Contact: Woon Tien Wei, admin at

Contact: Yeap Cheng Guat, cheng at

Contact: Fumiko, kawaguchi at
Fair Trade companies

Villagexchange Fair Trade Pte Ltd is a

social enterprise and the first to promote
Fair Trade in Singapore. Its main product
line is a series of locally-designed T-shirts
made of Fairtrade cotton.

Contact: Joanna Mok, info at

Bisous La works with WFTO-

certified small co-operatives and
small businesses in Nepal to
produce hand-sewn felt
accessories for women and
Contact: Helena Messing, info @

‘Fairly traded’ products

Artisans d'Angkor promotes the fair, sustainable

development of Cambodian arts and crafts with benefits to
rural communities. It has pioneered a new social policy in
Cambodia with contracted levels of pay along with social and medical benefits. 5% of its
craftsmen are people with disabilities. The craftsmen have formed an association which
holds a 20% share in the company. It is retailing at Changi Terminal 3, Departure Hall,
Mezzanine Level 3.
Fair Trade Coffee & Tea

Apart from switching most of its coffee and tea to

Fairtrade, Marks & Spencer’s Centrepoint outlet has a
Café Revive that sells only Fairtrade coffee and tea. They
also sell Fairtrade Double Chocolate biscuits and
Fairtrade Chilean honey.
Starbucks sells the Café Estima Blend™, its fair trade
blend, by the bag.
Muji commenced sales of fair trade Black coffee and Café
Au Lait in October 2006, in response to requests from
customers who wanted them to sell fair trade products.
Asia-Euro Marketing Services Pte Ltd has been
supporting and supplying Fairtrade coffees from
Rombouts Coffee (Belgium) & Malongo Coffee (France),
available in vacuum-packed coffee pods for use with their
Spresso machines.
Ban Choon is Singapore's leading importer and
distributor of organic food. Its products sometimes have
the USDA or NASSA organic labels as part of double
Gan Teck Kar Investments Pte Ltd imports the Honest
Tea range, which is Fair Trade-certified and USDA
Organic-certified. Available at Meidi-Ya Supermarket at
the basement of Daimaru.
Fair Trade products in supermarkets

Supermarkets Products
The best stores to find its Fair Trade range is at
Naturally Market Place at Vivo City.

Cafédirect range
Clipper – Tea, Coffee & Hot Chocolate
Wholesome Sweeteners – sugars & molasses
Green and Blacks – Maya Gold Chocolate
London Tea Company – various
Burnt Sugar

Carrefour has an entire organic section at their Suntec
location, on consignment from Ban Choon.

Carrefour – inhouse Fair Trade chocolate

Clipper – Organic Fair Trade Drinking Chocolate
Larabar – Organic Fair Trade Food Bars
Wholesome Sweeteners – Organic Dark Brown Sugar.

Clipper – Organic Fairtrade Hot Chocolate
Honest Tea – Fair Trade-certified Oolong Tea

FT Organic Cane Sugar from Peru

Café Direct coffee products
Other Fair Trade products
Ben & Jerry’s sells Fairtrade-certified Chocolate ice


Fair Trade Maara Shiraz available at Marks & Spencer.

A subsidiary of Monsoon in the UK, Accessorize has 5

stores in Singapore at Bugis Junction, Raffles City, Ngee
Ann City, Metro Paragon, and Changi Airport Terminal 3.
They sell Fair Trade bags from India.
Kiehl’s has launched a cosmetic product named Superbly
Restorative Preparations with Fairly Traded Argan Oil.
The bottles are made with 100% post-consumer recycled
plastic, which is completely biodegradable.
L’Organic stocks a range of Fair Trade cosmetic products
from Jardin Bio equitable.
About this Guide
This guide is a collaboration by the Fairtrade SG network,
and should be accredited as such.

This guide will only be available in digital format, to allow
for multiple updates. It can be found at

A note about copyright

This guide is copyrighted under Creative Commons’
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Singapore
license (,
which allows for the document to be shared and remixed,
as along as there is attribution, that this work not be used
for commercial purposes, and that any derivatives be
distributed under similar licenses.

To contribute to the development of this guide, please
contact Jared at theflyinguniversity at

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