Consumers Favour Fairtrade as Ethical Label of Choice

Fairtrade International releases 2012-13 annual report on “Unlocking the Power”

Bonn, Germany, 3 September 2013.

Fairtrade International’s 2012-13 annual report, released today, shows strong sales and continued consumer trust, making Fairtrade the label of choice for shoppers around the world. The report is based on the organization’s work in the past year on “Unlocking the Power” of producers and is highlighted by 16 percent growth in the total number of producer organizations compared to 2011.

Over 1.3 million farmers and workers in 70 countries are part of 1,149 Fairtrade producer organizations. In addition to sales income, these producer groups benefitted from around 80 million euros in Fairtrade Premium money for sustainability and development projects in 2012.

Consumer sales increased significantly in key markets, including: Germany (33 percent), the Netherlands (26 percent), Sweden (28 percent), Switzerland (15 percent), and the UK (16 percent). Last year’s growth nearly completely offset the drop in total 2012 sales caused by Fair Trade USA’s withdrawal from the international system at the end of 2011. Excluding the USA, average sales in all other Fairtrade markets increased by over 20 percent compared to 2011.

Despite positive trends in consumer sales and an increase in Fairtrade producer organizations, many people are still beyond Fairtrade’s reach. The number of Fairtrade producers is just a fraction of the total number of producers around the world.

“In the ultimate irony, half of the world’s hungriest people are smallholder farmers, yet they grow 70 percent of the world’s food,” said Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International. “Fairtrade’s strong sales growth in 2012 is encouraging, but we are productively dissatisfied.  We must step up the reach of Fairtrade if we are to break the mould of unfairness that is so deeply embedded in trade.

“When in 2013, a tea worker can still earn less than one percent of the price of a pack of tea, something must be systemically wrong with global trade. That underscores the urgency of Fairtrade unlocking the power of campaigners, consumers and producers to drive change.”

Spreading the benefits of Fairtrade is a cornerstone of Fairtrade’s three-year strategy, “Unlocking the Power of the Many.” Innovative projects aimed at enabling disadvantaged farmers and workers to run sustainable businesses and bring about change in their communities are being prepared for 2014.

Consumers showed their support for Fairtrade by spending 4.8 billion euros on Fairtrade products in 2012. Nine in ten consumers in five leading Fairtrade markets recognized the FAIRTRADE Mark. A Fairtrade-commissioned study in 17 countries confirmed Fairtrade’s position as the most widely-recognized ethical label. Across all markets, six in ten consumers have seen the FAIRTRADE Mark, and of those, nine in ten trust it.

Expanding Fairtrade to more consumers is also critical to “Unlocking the Power of the Many.” In 2013, Fairtrade products became available in Kenya and will be available in India later this year, providing consumers in those markets the chance to buy Fairtrade products from Fairtrade producers in the same country.


Highlights from 2012-13 at Fairtrade International:

Producer networks are now half-owners of Fairtrade International, making Fairtrade the only ethical certification scheme in the world to be jointly-owned by its producers.

Nespresso, Ben and Jerry’s, and Maltesers made major new commitments with Fairtrade.

The Fairtrade Access Fund has given US$5.65 million in loans to small producer organizations in Latin America to address their most pressing financial needs.

More than half of all bananas sold in Switzerland’s retail chains are from Fairtrade producers, and over 40 percent of sugar bags in the UK bear the FAIRTRADE Mark. Globally, sales of Fairtrade flowers grew by over 50 percent.

Over 30,000 Fairtrade products are now sold in more than 125 countries worldwide.


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