UK shoppers help generate $41m for Fairtrade communities in 2019

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Latest figures show shoppers back Fairtrade during challenging market and care more than ever about helping farmers and workers combat low prices in trade.

Strong sales performance across commodities led to $41million in Premium going to Fairtrade farmers and workers in 2019 to invest in farmer and worker-led projects to boost local economies and improve community services in the Global South, new figures reveal.

Fairtrade Foundation’s 2019 Annual Report shows shoppers care more about Fairtrade than ever with increases across key commodities, including;

·         Fairtrade flowers grow by 12%

·         Fairtrade cocoa sales volumes increase by 23%

·         Fairtrade coffee volumes increase by 3%

·         Developing categories wine and gold show increases of 10% and 30% respectively.

Welcoming the figures, Michael Gidney, chief executive, Fairtrade Foundation said: “In recent years – from Brexit to price crashes – we’ve been working hard to campaign for trade justice, and challenge businesses to do more for farmers and workers in their supply chains. But these figures show it’s not just us, the UK public want fairness in their supply chains as do many businesses who are doing the right thing. The message is clear. Make fairness a part of the products we know and love.

“However, as the current COVID-19 crisis has shown, there is so much more to be done to tackle poverty and redress exploitation in trade and Fairtrade is more needed than ever. During this pandemic, business and shopper support has been critical as Fairtrade sales and investment have provided a lifeline to communities.”

Lord Mark Price, chair of Trustees, Fairtrade Foundation Board, wrote: “We know how much consumers care about the people who work hard to produce the food, clothes and everyday items we all rely on. Businesses are increasingly taking greater responsibility for the sustainability of their supply chains too, but if people aren’t paid fairly for what they do, they simply will be unable to survive – as we’ve seen starkly this year. That’s why we call on everyone who can, to buy more Fairtrade.”

Fairtrade support goes beyond certification. In Côte d’Ivoire, new initiative the Women’s School of Leadership, saw its first class graduate and now a strong group of role models are encouraging other women in their communities to become more actively involved in the cocoa business and decision making, and sharing knowledge in human rights and gender equality. This programme was funded in its first year, by Compass Group UK & Ireland and Co-op.

Gidney added: ‘In our 25th year not only has our approach fostered fairer trade and more resilient partnerships between producers and businesses but also significant impact; over a quarter of a century, an estimated $1.1bn in Fairtrade Premium income has been generated, enabling farmers and workers around the globe to invest in and protect their communities against systemic poverty. Fairtrade is as ambitious for change now as we were when the first certified products appeared on our shelves in 1994 – this report showcases the real life stories of the people shoppers champion every time they choose a Fairtrade product.’

At a time when global coffee prices were at their lowest ever in real terms, averaging around $1 a pound, Fairtrade farmers selling their Fairtrade beans received 40% more than the current market price. Fairtrade is the only certifier to offer a Minimum Price of $1.40 per pound or $1.70 per pound for organic, which is a safety net for farmers and a vital protection from the serious impacts of price crashes and speculation.