The Fairtrade Awards - The Shift from Best-in-Class to Values-Driven Recognition

In 2012, Fairtrade Canada launched the inaugural Canadian Fairtrade Awards, which recognized seven Canadian retail and food service providers in recognition for their ongoing support and commitment to fair trade. In the past 7 years, the Canadian Fairtrade Awards have evolved to include recognition of fair trade community groups and other categories based on a “best-in-class” model.

While celebrating best-in-class for Canadian businesses, Fair Trade Programs, and other community groups has been an exciting way to recognize leaders in the Canadian fair trade movement, we want to ensure that the Canadian Fair Trade Awards reflect the greater vision and values of fair trade. We want to recognize the specific qualities and strengths exemplified by the collective fair trade community that have contributed to the vibrant, dedicated movement in Canada.

As stated in the International Fair Trade Charter: “the Fair Trade movement is made up of individuals, organizations and networks that share a common vision of a world in which justice, equity and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full human potential.”

With this common vision in mind, we are shifting our categories from the best-in-class model to values-driven recognition. The updated awards categories will reflect the diverse strengths the Canadian fair trade community brings to the table in our collective effort to grow the impact for producers in the Global South and position Canada as a leader in sustainable trade.

The majority of the Canadian Fairtrade Awards will continue to be judged by an independent panel of judges. The Lifetime Achievement Award will also continue to be selected by Fairtrade Canada’s Executive Director and Board Chair. The Fairtrade All-Star Award will transition to a “people’s choice” award, with 3 candidates jointly selected by the CFTN, AQCÉ, and Fairtrade Canada, with the winner being selected by the fair trade community through an online voting process.

What does this mean for my Fair Trade Program group, Business, or Retailer?

  • We have worked to simplify the application process by reducing the number of questions and focusing on in-depth qualitative responses.
  • Fair Trade Program groups, licensees, traders, and retailers can now apply for multiple awards categories within their respective segment.
  • The new categories will be clearly segmented into business and community focused categories.
  • We are opening up our community awards to fair trade groups actively working on Fair Trade Program designation.