29 Oct 2020

Fairtrade Award Winners Honoured after Challenging Year

Fairtrade producers, workers, campaigners and traders have been honoured in the International Fairtrade Awards 2020 showcasing the very best of Fairtrade around the world.

After a challenging year which saw the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt food supply chains and hit many small-scale farmers, the awards highlighted the vital role which Fairtrade plays in helping communities become more resilient in an increasingly uncertain global trading environment.

“2020 has been a tough year for Fairtrade producers and workers, so it’s great to be able to celebrate their incredible work and commitment,” said Dario Soto Abril, CEO of Fairtrade International. “The finalists and award winners are an inspiration to us all and are living proof of the difference that Fairtrade makes to communities around the world.”

More than 80 applications from 30 countries were received across the four categories - Small Producer Organization (SPO) of the Year; Hired Labour Organization (HLO) of the Year; Trader of the Year and Campaign of the Year. Entries ranged from tiny cooperatives to multi-national companies - but what they all have in common are a passion for Fairtrade and a desire to create a better future for farmers and workers.

Winner in the SPO of the Year category was Asunafo North Union, a cocoa co-operative with more than eight thousand members in Ghana, West Africa which was established in 2012. “It’s very amazing how far we’ve come since then,” said Manager Patrick Owusu. “Fairtrade has made a huge impact on the lives and communities of our members.”

Valentine Growers, a Fairtrade-certified flower grower near Nairobi, Kenya, and United Nilgiri Tea Estates (UNITEA) from Tamil Nadu, India, were joint winners of the HLO of the Year award. Entrants had to show outstanding benefits for workers and their families, and how they encourage workers’ participation. “This award recognises the practices we have already put in place, and it will spur us on to do even more,” said UNITEA’s Chair Titus Pinto. Joint winner Dennis Gakuru, Fairtrade Officer at Valentine Growers, commented “Winning this award can be an inspiration to other companies who can learn from us.”

Also recognised were the companies and brands which bring Fairtrade products to market and who demonstrate Fairtrade principles both in their own businesses and their supply chains. Divine Chocolate, whose Fairtrade organic bars are sold in the UK, US and Sweden, won the Trader of the Year award. “This award is for the farmers just as much as for Divine,” said Juliet Brago, a cocoa farmer from Ghana who supplies cocoa beans to Divine. “Farmers are at the heart of everything Divine does.”

The Campaign of the Year award went to Oxfam Fair Trade from Belgium, whose ‘Bite to Fight’ campaign inspired thousands of consumers to switch to Fairtrade chocolate. “We wanted to make a campaign that was fun and not too heavy,” said Yasmine Mertens, Head of Communications at Oxfam Fair Trade. “All of our hard work has paid off. Winning this award is the cherry on the cake!”

Fairtrade Germany has also announced the winners in five categories: Manufacturer of the Year, Retailer of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Civil Society Organisation of the Year and a Young Talent Award. In addition, a special award will be given based on a public vote. You can read all about the German awards and the winners here.