The average household in Northern Ireland spends only a pound a week on fair trade goods, the assembly was told, on 6 March 2012.
Conall McDevitt of the SDLP was speaking for the cross-party motion, which called for the adoption of fair trade procurement by the Stormont Executive.
"It is about a better deal and fairer terms for farmers and producers," he added.
Mr McDevitt paid tribute to Peter Mandelson, "a man we love to hate in this part of Ireland", for his work in encouraging fair trade during his time at the European Commission.
The DUP's Simon Hamilton backed the motion.
"This about trade, it's not about handouts," he said.
Mr Hamilton cautioned that achieving flexibility in procurement, "isn't always as easy as we would like it to be".
Robin Swann expressed the UUP's support for the motion, as did Kieran McCarthy for Alliance.
Jennifer McCann of Sinn Fein said fair trade was about, "how we can use the resources on this earth for everyone".
Enterprise minister Arlene foster replied to the debate on behalf of finance minister Sammy Wilson.
She said the key was "sustainability in the developing world".
Mrs Foster said she was delighted to join her colleagues in supporting the motion.
The minister outlined the means used by the various departments to support fair trade in their procurement policy.
The motion was passed unopposed.