A new report from Fairtrade International has found that consumers are continuing to reach for Fairtrade-mark labelled products in ever growing numbers, while highlighting that Fairtrade’s offer to farmers and workers deepens.
The world’s leading ethical label reported strong continued growth as consumer sales of Fairtrade certified products hit €5.5bn (US$7.3bn) worldwide in 2013.
Fairtrade banana sales increased 12 per cent year-on-year, the report revealed.
Strongest growth markets include the US, where sales of Fairtrade products grew to €300m (US$426m) since the Fairtrade mark’s introduction in 2012, and new markets India and Kenya, who join South Africa as Fairtrade producer countries with rapidly-growing sales of Fairtrade products in their own countries.
Emerging markets Czech Republic, Hong Kong and South Korea all doubled annual consumer sales.
Germany cemented its number two market position after the UK, with consumer retail sales topping €650m following strong 23 per cent annual growth.
At the same time Fairtrade International reported a number of far-reaching initiatives set to open more opportunities for the people at the far end of the supply chain – now more than 1.4m farmers and workers, belonging to 1,210 producer organisations in 74 countries.
“We’re matching growth in the market with new approaches to deepen impact for farmers and workers,” said Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International.
“If a day is a long time in politics, then a year is a short time in sustainability. Yet over the past year, we introduced new living wage benchmarks, piloted community-based approaches to prevent child labour, supported local trade unions to negotiate with employers… And this is only half-way through delivering on the bold new strategy we announced last year.”
Fairtrade introduced new programmes to support small farmers’ organisations to strengthen their resilience, overhauled its approach with workers, and invested in a more rigorous impact monitoring system during the year, the group noted.
“Fairtrade is about empowerment and long-term development, as farmers and workers transform deeply ingrained problems step-by-step to build a better future for themselves, their families and communities,” said Marike de Peña, chair of the Fairtrade International Board and director of a banana cooperative in the Dominican Republic.
“We can and will change the rules of trade, and enable producers and workers to map out their own future.”