The fair trade movement began in the late 1950’s in response to the desire of socially-concious Northern consumers to support the development of Southern farmers and workers. These consumers understood that conventional global trade was driving unequal trading relationship and exploitative working conditions. By the 90s, the various fair and ethial trade initiatives had largely been consolidated under the Fairtrade International (FLO) which developed tools to assess and monitor the production and marketing chain and to ensure that producers were paid a "fair price" for their produce and that benefits went directly to the producers.
EMG has been involved in the governance of fair trade in South Africa and the region since the first South African producers were accredited. EMG staff member Mandy Moussouris is an active member of the board of Fair Trade South Africa and sits on the FLO Workers Rights Advisory Committee. Noel Oettle serves on the FLO International Board and the board of Fair Trade Africa.