Worldwide Fairtrade Sales rise by one third in 2005
New figures released today reveal that global sales of Fairtrade Certified products have reached € 1.1 billion mark in 2005. This represents an increase of 37% over 2004.
All product lines expanded their markets, especially Fairtrade coffee in the U.S. (+ 70,9%) and the U.K. (+ 34%), bananas in Austria (46%) and sugar in France (125%). Non-food products did well too: sales of Fairtrade flowers, newly introduced last year in Canada, Germany and Belgium surpassed even the most optimistic expectations. Thanks to continued strong sales in Switzerland and the U.K., a total of 113 million stems of Fairtrade flowers were sold in 2005. Global Fairtrade trade figures are unveiled to coincide with the publication of FLO´s 2005 Annual Report.
The speed at which the sales are growing shows an increasing demand from consumers for a positive model of trade which is fairer and more sustainable for farmers and is helping them to bring development to their communities.
“FTL’s significant worldwide growth in 2005 also shows that more and more producers, traders and licensees trust the Fairtrade Certification Mark and look to join the system. Increasingly companies are knocking on the door of the labelling organizations because they want to have the Certification Mark on their products. In only one year, from 2004 to 2005, the number of licensees offering Fairtrade Certified products increased by 29%. The certification system behind the cheering person in the Certification Mark is absolutely independent from any interest, and this is what people trust”, says Luuk Zonneveld, Managing Director of FLO International.
One of the more recent companies to join is Marks and Spencer, one of the largest food and clothing retailers in the UK. The entire range of Marks & Spencer’s coffee and tea, totalling 38 lines, switched to Fairtrade in a move which is estimated to increase the value of all Fairtrade instant and ground coffee sold in the UK supermarkets by 18%, and increase the value of Fairtrade tea by approximately 30%. But Marks and Spencer is only one out of several companies around the world that have become involved in Fairtrade in 2005, representing a growth of 29% from 1151 in 2004 to 1483 licensees in 2005.
The increase in the Fairtrade range and Fairtrade sales means that more producer organizations are able to sell to the Fairtrade market. Globally, the number of certified producer organizations has grown by 127% since 2001 to 508 groups in 58 countries. The number of registered traders has increased by 132% in the same period.
“The Fairtrade system encourages farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America to organize into democratically run groups and implement changes in agricultural practice. This ensures that the gradual improvements which Fairtrade makes possible are sustainable, giving communities a real chance to build a brighter future”, says Luuk Zonneveld.
Lionel Louw, Board Member of Heiveld Cooperative in South Africa explained what the cooperative has achieved thanks to Fairtrade: “There is a huge difference from when we sold to the large farmers. In the past the link between buyer and seller was missing – the buyer just gave whatever price they wanted, it wasn’t related to our standard of living. Fairtrade changes this." Besides improving the farmers’ standards of living, the Fairtrade Premium helped to make the smallfarmers independent from wholesalers and white neighbouring farmers. They were able to buy their own equipment for the tea production, such as their own tea chopping machine and their own tea court, and subsequently didn’t have to use the facilities of other farms any longer.
And Joel Uribe and Luis Villaroel, from COASBA, a honey producer cooperative in Chile, explained: “We could have never further developed COASBA without Fairtrade. Now we have a regular income and the raised earnings mean we can plan and invest in our business. We are able to improve production processes and standards, and have even created several new jobs in our community, like for Maria-José Cordoba, a young woman who runs our small office in the plaza.“ The co-op is a member of Chile’s national network of beekeepers and prides itself on high technical and sanitary standards. Joel explains about the achieved benefits in professional development and says: “Thanks to the Fairtrade Premium we have improved our standards and were able to get appropriate advice and training. We have clearly gained national level recognition for our produce, and are now in the position to pass on our expertise providing advisory services for local beekeepers also outside the co-op, along with programmes in basic beekeeping for the local municipality.”
FLO is investing ever more resources back into producer organizations, and in 2005 set up the Producer Business Unit to increase the support to Fairtrade Certified producer organizations. The Unit brought together the previous Product Managers and Producer Support structures within FLO, and now numbers 10 people in Bonn, Germany, and a growing number of locally-based “Liaison Officers”. Thanks to a partnership with the Dutch business advisory organizations SNV, the number of liaison officers on the ground has increased to 25 and a further 5 will be recruited by the end of the year. It is expected that 370 producer organizations, representing 600,000 families, will benefit from the cooperation between SNV and FLO.
- All figures for retail values are estimates, calculated from reported wholesale values.
- The Fairtrade Certification Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). This independent consumer label appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. Today, more than five million people - farmers, workers and their families - across 58 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
For hard copies of the 2005 Annual Report and/or further information, please contact Verónica Pérez, Communications Officer, at FLO International.