Consumers continue to reach for Fairtrade
Evidence suggests consumers remain committed to Fairtrade. Fairtrade labelling initiatives around the world are reporting continued growth in the last quarter of 2008. Surveys suggest that Fairtrade is one of the last things that consumers are willing to sacrifice in response to the recession. Recent research shows that despite feeling the pinch, 92% of consumers still claimed to be willing to pay extra for a product that is ethically certified, Fairtrade was shopper’s favoured certification mark as well. While according to a consumer research study conducted in ten countries, 68 % of consumers remain loyal to a brand in a recession if it is one that supports a good cause. Also a report by The Cooperative Bank shows that recession does not stop the growth of ethical consumption and Fairtrade.
“From all the indicators so far, consumers support for Fairtrade remains remarkably strong,” states Rob Cameron, CEO of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). “With financial uncertainty consumers are making more considered choices and Fairtrade remains important to them which is good news for producers in developing countries who need Fairtrade now more than ever, ’ says Cameron.
Likewise, producers are keeping their faith in the system. According to FLO-CERT, there is still a steady increase in producer applications for Fairtrade certification across the board for every product range and every region. Binod Mohan, Chairman of the Network of Asian Producers (NAP) and a member of the FLO Board says that “we in Asia have faith in the western consumer and their loyalty to buying Fairtrade products. For the shopper these are basic products; for the farmer in the developing world the purchase of FAIRTRADE makes a big difference and we know consumers realize this.”
In the last five years the sales of Fairtrade certified products have grown at an outstanding rate, 40% per year. Fairtrade certified sales amounted to approximately €2.3 billion worldwide at the end of 2007. Growth for Fairtrade products, thanks to consumer backing, will continue in 2009- but more slowly than the historic surges. During an informal discussion among 8 different national Fairtrade labeling initiatives, there is a general prediction that Fairtrade will grow between 10 to 25 percent in the upcoming fiscal year.
The ultimate impact of the current financial crisis on all of us- shoppers, traders or farmers- is uncertain. We will all be affected in some shape or form. The impact on farmers and workers in the developing world could be dramatic- a dip back into poverty or loss of a livelihood that supports an entire community. Even though we do not know the long-term implications of the crisis, it is apparent that the need for Fairtrade is greater than ever before. FLO is pleased to see that consumers’ loyalty to the FAIRTRADE Mark will keep the organization on track in its goal of helping as many producers as possible to pull themselves out of poverty. Reach for the FAIRTRADE Mark- it can make a difference.
Rob Cameron, CEO of FLO, will be attending Biofach on Thursday and Friday. Contact Jennifer Stapper or Reykia Fick at our Biofach stand Hall 3-120 p.
Through positive consumer choice Fairtrade helps producers to improve the quality of their lives and to take more control over their future. When you buy goods with the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark producers get a better deal. You can now find hundreds of products including coffee, tea, fresh fruit and cotton that carry the FAIRTRADE Mark. Fairtrade helps producers tackle poverty. When consumers buy Fairtrade products producers receive an additional sum of money. Working together, workers and farmers, use this money to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions.Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) is the body that sets Fairtrade standards and supports producers to gain and retain their Fairtrade certified status.