Discovery Organics | Fair Trade
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Fair Trade

Our Commitment to Fair Trade

We believe in direct relationships with growers, whether they are in our own backyard, or Latin America. We believe in paying a fair wage, and supporting small-scale growers in developing countries. We are a licensee and a Most Valuable Player of Fairtrade Canada.

Fair Trade is an easy extension of the Discovery Organics buying philosophy; we believe in supporting small scale farmers, endeavoring to help them build a market for their crops, and make enough money to cover the cost of production plus a fair profit on the crops we buy. Those are the same goals we have had since the first day we opened our doors.

We have seen firsthand, through numerous visits to farms in South America and Mexico, the transformative nature of Fair Trade. To learn more our partnerships in Latin America, check out our Grower Profiles!

FairTradeMagAd1-01Fair Trade Produce

We are constantly working to increase the selection and availability of Fair Trade produce in Western Canada so that consumers have an ethical choice. By working with growers in the southern hemisphere, we can compliment the local season for many products that we cannot grow locally all year-round.

Our Fair Trade product availability varies throughout the year according to the growing seasons of our suppliers.

All of the following products are certified Organic and Fair Trade:


Fair Trade can mean a variety of things to different people – a social justice movement, an alternative business model, a system for ethical trade, a vehicle for poverty alleviation, a model for economic development in developing countries, or just simply, fair international trade.

At a basic level, Fair Trade is a global trading model that certifies a wide range of products to guarantee ethical sourcing based on a number of criteria. Fair Trade certification guarantees that producers are paid a fair price, and that there are no human right’s violations including child labour. With the great amount of uncertainties in the supply chain of global commodities, this transparent, verifiable, and accountable process allows consumers to buy products with confidence.

There are elements that we don’t talk about enough – Fair Trade producers also gain access to pre-harvest credit (A.k.a. pre financing), long term contracts, and social premiums, which is an additional payment of 5-20% over the cost of the fruits or vegetables, used solely for community development; creating better schools, safer infrastructures, medical clinics, composting facilities.

Fair Trade is a transparent and accountable system. Not only do producers have to be certified to call their products Fair Trade, but importers also have to undergo a certification process, which includes meeting standards to prove that we are “fair” in all aspects of our business. This includes yearly audits that ensure that we have contracts with producers, that we pay producers on time, and that we pay a fair price.




source: Fairtrade Foundation

More about how Fairtrade International monitors and measures impact

The Basic Principles of Fair Trade*

Fair prices: Farmers, hired workers, artisans and other producers re-ceive a fair price or wage for their time and materials. Producer organizations often receive pre-harvest or pre-production credit on favorable terms.

Fair & safe labor conditions: Workers on farms, in factories and on plantations enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and humane treatment. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.

Direct trade: Importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empow-ering producers to develop the business capacity necessary to com-pete in the global marketplace.

Democratic and transparent organizations: Producers decide democ-ratically how to invest Fair Trade premiums for community develop-ment and capacity building of producer organizations.

Community development: Producers invest premiums in social and business development projects like youth scholarship programs, health care, clean water access, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.

Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and Genetically Modified Organisms are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable methods that protect producers’ health and preserve eco-systems.

Source: The Fair Trade Resource Network




source: What is behind the FAIRTRADE mark

Our Fair Trade Objectives

Our Fair Trade objectives are to increase profits for growers, and create financing for social programs. We work tirelessly to bring new growers and traders into the Fair Trade system and advocate the positive impact of purchasing in this manner. We review our performance by seeing higher and higher values of social premium payments to growers, through our increasing volumes, as well as offering growers the highest possible price.

Our Fair Trade relationships are planned to be maintained in perpetuity.

We also visit all of the cooperatives that we work with directly to assess the outcomes of the social impact of Fair Trade purchases, including working conditions, living conditions and social programs such as access to microfinance, technical improvements that improve their working conditions and safety, equality for women, child labour policy, health care, education, etc.

This policy was developed to enable us to not only understand the direct impact of Fair Trade, but through frequent visits to many growers, to assess the year-over-year changes that have been accomplished.

Fair Trade Social Premiums

On top of ensuring a stable minimum price covering producers’ costs, Fair Trade also generates funds for social projects and community development through Fair Trade Social premiums. For every case of bananas that we buy, we pay an additional amount to the producers, which are used exclusively for development projects, decided upon democratically. All growers and workers are involved in this process to collectively address the most critical needs in the area.

The use of Fair Trade Social Premiums varies greatly depending on the specific needs of the community, but generally they focus on:

Education: School infrastructure, school supplies, scholarships and bursaries, payment of school fees, teacher training, and adult education

Health: Clinics, health insurance, medical supplies, health training, sanitation, Dental and eye surgery clinics

Environment: Organic certification, environmental and waste management, environmental development projects

Gender Equity: Programs and projects focusing on women’s needs, including income generation projects, training and development, and health.

Business Development: Management training, technical training, safety improvements, and proper Food Safe packing facilities.

The example of fairtrade bananas

For every case of Fair Trade bananas we buy, $1.00 is directly returned to the cooperative as a social premium and 30 cents goes to the Fairtrade International system to support these growers through ongoing grower development. Between 2009 and 2012 the social premiums, just from our sales alone, BOS coop in Northern Peru has received $300,000 as social premiums that have been invested back into the community.


Fair Trade Certification & Labels

For a product to be recognized as Fair Trade, it needs to be certified. With the continuing growth of Fair Trade, there are a number of certifying bodies and labels, but the two most well-known and reliable is the Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO) and the Institute for Marketecology (IMO), each having their own certification process and label. Discovery is a Fairtrade Canada licensee and a brandholder with Fair for Life, IMO’s Fair Trade certification program.

Fairtrade International (formerly FLO)


A global organization working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers”.

Fairtrade International is a non-profit, multi-stakeholder association involving

-Producer networks:

There are producer networks in three continents, CLAC in Latin America and the Caribbean, Fairtrade Africa and NAPP in Asia & Pacific

Producer networks are regional associations that Fairtrade certified producer organizations may join if they wish. They represent small-scale producers, workers and other producer stakeholders. They offer technical assistance, provide support to farmers or farm-workers. Representatives of the producer networks sit on the Board of directors Fairtrade International and therefore take part in the decision making process. 50% of the Fairtrade International’s general assembly is represented by producers

-National Fairtrade organizations (see map below) which license the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark on products and promote Fairtrade in their territory. As founding members, many of these organizations helped to establish Fairtrade International in 1997. There are 19 national Fairtrade organizations covering 24 countries. Learn more about Fairtrade Canada

-A leadership team based in Bonn, Germany

FLO-CERT is the independent verification body ensuring the audits across the supply chains of the global Fairtrade system. FLO-CERT inspects and certifies producer organizations and audits traders.

Fairtrade International develops and reviews Fairtrade Standards, assists producers in gaining and maintaining Fairtrade certification and capitalizing on market opportunities.

The system is designed for both food and non-food commodities (cosmetics, textiles etc.)

For more information visit or

Certification hierarchy

The certification world is generally composed of three levels of certification.

The lowest level is the certification body (CB). These organizations are the ones doing the audits on the companies who will, depending on the outcome, be certified or recertified.

Most have been accredited to audit companies by an accreditation body (AB) or certifiers of certifiers. An accreditation body sets standards and guidelines by which to audit companies, and then certifies CBs to do the auditing.  Accreditation bodies then continuously make sure that CBs and their employees are following the standards that the AB has set up.

Finally, the third level of checks is through accreditor associations (or quintessentially certifiers of certifiers of certifiers…). These are groups that ABs join voluntarily with a desire for consistent, mutually agreed upon standards which many different ABs in different markets will promote. Just like the CBs that they audit, accreditation bodies are audited by their accreditor association in order to join and continue to be audited during their membership.

Membership Organizations

Evaluates organizations for their full commitment to Fair Trade principles and accepts only “100%” fair trade organizations – screening process only, no “on the ground” audit. Below are the logos of relevant certification programs and membership organizations. A product sold by a company that is a member of a fair trade organization may not have gone through third party certification; conversely, a product certified “fair trade” under a certification program does not mean that the company that produces that certified product is itself a dedicated fair trade company.

Principles for Recognizing Fair Trade Organizations (FTOs):

  • Support Safe & Empowering Working
  • Conditions
  • Ensure the Rights of Children
  • Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
  • Respect Cultural Identity

Fair Trade Federation (FTF)

The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. The Federation is part of the global fair trade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty.

More information here

World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)WFTO

The WFTO is a global authority on fair trade, not because we say so, but because our members make it so.

Membership of the WFTO is limited to organizations that demonstrate a 100% fair trade commitment and apply its 10 Principles of Fair Trade. WFTO members who are monitored against these Principles are listed in the FT100 index of world-leading Fair Trade brands, businesses and organizations. Not just the pioneers of the movement but the innovators of the market.

The WFTO represents Fair Traders from grassroots through to the G8 and is the authentic voice of Fair Trade, having driven the movement for 20 years. It is the only global network whose members represent the Fair Trade chain from production to sale.

More information here

Domestic Fair Trade Association (DFTA)DFTA_logo_jpg2-300x128

The Domestic Fair Trade Movement aims to raise awareness on domestic farming issues while striving for social justice for our local growers. The DFTA is a consensus based organization that is doing tremendous development work to achieve the goals of the movement across the Americas.

The Domestic Fair Trade Association is a collaboration of organizations representing farmers, farm workers, food system workers, retailers, manufacturers, processors, and non-governmental organizations. Internationally, the Fair Trade movement has united farmers, workers, traders and consumers with a message of fairness, equity and environmental stewardship in trade with producers in marginalized countries. Increasingly, we can see that the challenges faced by rural communities are very similar around the world.

The work of the DFTA is guided by the Principles for Domestic Fair Trade as defined by its members. These principles represent the values which underlie and guide our work together as organizations and individuals united for the promotion of “Health, Justice and Sustainability.”

More information here

 Support groups

Support groups are generally more focused on consumers and the civil society.

They are not supposed to be enforcers or certifiers of international fair trade standards, but work to connect actors of the fair trade movement and educate the general public on the movement’s legitimacy as well. Among many others, below are 2 active local groups

The Canadian Fair Trade Network (CFTN) CFTN

CFTN is a non-profit organization that works to advance awareness and support for fair trade in Canada. It supports collaboration within the fair trade movement to encourage support for fair trade products and practices. It envisions a Canada that is a global leader in social and environmental responsibility.

Their mission is to foster relationships, knowledge, sharing, and action to advance fair trade in the interest of civil society in Canada.

CFTN publishes the Fair trade magazine, “Canada’s voice for social sustainability’, previous issues available here

More information here

Fair Trade Vancouver FTV-Logo

Let’s not try to run before learning how to walk. Before thinking about increasing the availability of Fair Trade products by working alongside Fair Trade retailers, distributors and suppliers, FTV’s main goal is to educate citizens of Metro Vancouver on how they can support people in the developing world by choosing Fair Trade in their everyday purchasing practices.

FTV is an independent volunteer based organization. Not in the business of selling Fair Trade products nor do they allow anyone with a direct interest in selling Fair Trade products to sit on our Board of Directors or Steering Committee.

More information here

Fair World ProjectFWP

South of the 49th parallel, “Fair World Project (FWP) is an independent campaign of the Organic Consumers Association which seeks to protect the use of the term “fair trade” in the marketplace, expand markets for authentic fair trade, educate consumers about key issues in trade and agriculture, advocate for policies leading to a just economy, and facilitate collaborative relationships to create true system change.

Fair World Project was initially launched by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) in 2010 with an emphasis on promoting fair trade in commerce, especially in organic production systems, and protecting the term “fair trade” from dilution and misuse for mere PR purposes, as conscious consumers expand the market for fairly traded products. While still guided by the principles of fair trade, we have expanded our mission to include labor justice, sweat-free apparel and family-scale farming that does not fit the traditional fair trade model. This expanded approach reflects the recognition that a just economy will not be achieved through a single model alone.”

More information here