Appetite for Fairtrade grows

THE FAIRTRADE Foundation today launches Fairtrade Fortnight (24 February – 9 March) and its major new Make Bananas Fair campaign by announcing continued growth in Fairtrade sales of 14 per cent during 2013, demonstrating continuing public and business support for Fairtrade goods.

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  • Sales of Fairtrade products in 2013 rose again, reaching an estimated £1.78 billion, up 14 per cent on the previous year
  • Campaigners gear up for Fairtrade Fortnight with thousands of exciting events across the UK
  • Banana producers tour the country to talk about the benefits of the Fairtrade system and call on Britain to Make Bananas Fair



Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation says: ‘It’s 20 years since the very first Fairtrade products Green & Black’s Maya Gold, Cafedirect Coffee and Clipper Tea, appeared in the UK, and the appetite for Fairtrade is still growing, despite challenging economic conditions. The UK is truly a world leader for Fairtrade and we’re proud of that.


‘But there is still a very long way to go in securing the levels of market access that would drive the breadth and depth of impact for farmers and workers we all want to see, so work in 2014 will continue to focus on innovating the way we work and campaigning to make even more trade fair.’


Albeiro Alfonso Cantillo Ruiz, known as Foncho, is a 44 year old Colombian banana grower from the Coobafrío cooperative in Colombia, who is touring the UK during Fairtrade Fortnight and leading the banana campaign. He says, “We experienced very difficult times when we weren’t in Fairtrade. We didn’t have the resources to provide an education for my children and the banana business barely provided enough for basic meals. It was very worrying to have children and know you couldn’t provide the opportunity for the life they deserve.


‘We almost thought of leaving the business, but thank God, there came a big help. Being in Fairtrade makes me very happy, knowing that there are opportunities to achieve some of the goals I had planned.’


Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2013 reached £1.78 billion, a 14 per cent increase on sales of £1.53 billion in 2012. Sales of Fairtrade sugar continued to rise with a 25 per cent growth in volume, led partly by sales of the Tate & Lyle Fairtrade sugar brand and retailers’ own label Fairtrade sugar. But the rise in Fairtrade sugar sales was fuelled further still by the inclusion of Fairtrade sugar in products such as chocolate bars, ice cream and other products. Chocolate, cocoa and bananas grew by 52 per cent, 5 per cent and 4 per cent in sales value respectively whereas coffee and tea sales have continued to hold steady.


In 2013, purchases of Fairtrade products in the UK were equivalent to:


  • 2.29 billion cups of Fairtrade coffee
  • 3.27 billion cups of Fairtrade tea
  • 1.42 billion bananas


Other notable growth areas are fresh vegetables at 316 per cent up over 2013. This is due to increased conversions of product ranges such as Kenyan green beans to Fairtrade, providing greater in-store visibility and purchase. Wine has also grown by 15 per cent for the second consecutive year thanks to the introduction of superior quality ranges.


The Foundation is also marking its 20th anniversary and launching Fairtrade Fortnight 2014 with a major new campaign Make Bananas Fair.


In the past 10 years, the price of bananas in the UK has halved, while the cost of production to the farmers has almost doubled. Supermarkets in the UK now buy and sell bananas so cheaply that many of the farmers and workers who grow them are being trapped in poverty. Many banana farmers and workers still can’t afford to put enough food on the table for their families or provide the basics such as education or healthcare. Thousands of Fairtrade supporters around the country are gearing up to expose these supermarket price wars, including a petition asking the government to urgently step in and investigate the impact of retailer pricing practices.


Albeiro Alfonso ‘Foncho’ Cantillo, is also the first signatory on the petition to the Government Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP. Foncho and four other banana producers from Costa Rica, Colombia, the Windward Islands and Ghana will be taking part in hundreds of events across the UK to draw attention to the plight of banana growers and speak about the positive impact Fairtrade continues to have for their families and communities.


Thousands of events will be held to amplify the campaign messaging in many of Fairtrade’s network of 570 Fairtrade Towns, 1,000 Fairtrade Schools, 170 Fairtrade Universities and 7,200 Fairtrade Faith Groups. More than 20,000 campaigning action packs have also been ordered and distributed across the country, triggering a wave of local activities including fruit stalls, fairgrounds, dinner parties, quizzes and tugs of war. People will be encouraged to use banana costumes and giant inflatable bananas at their events. Larger public events will also include talks and films about the issues.


More information about events in your area here


Key facts about Fairtrade include:


  1. Britain leads the world on Fairtrade, with over 4,500 certified products from over 340 companies and over 10,000 local Fairtrade campaigns in towns, schools, colleges, workplaces and faith groups.
  2. UK Fairtrade sales generated more than £23 million of Fairtrade Premium for Fairtrade farmers and workers to invest in their communities and businesses as they see fit.
  3. Nine out of 10 people in the UK recognise the FAIRTRADE Mark and consumer trust tops 85 per cent
  4. The Fairtrade global system works with 1.3 million farmers and workers worldwide from 1,149 Fairtrade producer organisations in 70 countries


The Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member of Fairtrade International, which has introduced a series of innovations in the past year. These include a new Standard for Hired Labour to strengthen the position of workers in Fairtrade certified plantations and estates producing tea, bananas and other fruit, cut flowers, herbs and, vegetables. The new standard will help to safeguard workers’ rights to freedom of association and speed up progress towards living wages for workers.


In January 2014, the first Fairtrade Sourcing Programs for cocoa, sugar and cotton were launched to enable small farmers of these commodities to scale up their sales on Fairtrade terms. Cotton will be the focus of the Fairtrade Foundation’s work in 2014 under this new scheme. Along with this, three new routes have been designed to bring more Fairtrade gold to market in 2014 and work to expand the Fairtrade gold standard to African artisanal miners is also progressing.