Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), the global Fairtrade certification umbrella body, has commissioned the first ever global consumer survey on Fairtrade. It was carried out by GlobeScan, and involved a sample size of 14,500 people in fifteen countries.
The results are encouraging reading. The survey shows that ‘active ethical consumers’ make up just over half the population (55%) in the countries surveyed. These consumers are willing to reward or punish companies that meet, or fail to meet, their expectations, and they influence others with their opinions.
Half of the public (50%) in the fifteen countries are now familiar with the Fairtrade mark and of these people, nine out of ten (91%) trust it. The survey also shows that 64% of all consumers in the surveyed countries believe that Fairtrade has strict standards, a quality that FLO says closely correlates to consumer trust. And 72% of all consumers believe independent certification is the best way to verify a product’s ethical claims.
Trading Visions, in collaboration with the LSE Centre for Civil Society, held a well attended public discussion debate on Tuesday 24th February 2009. The topic was 'Who Owns Fairtrade?'
Some of the themes explored included:
• the contradictions of fair trade being a consumer brand as well as a movement;
• the fact that ownership can be claimed by such a wide range of stakeholders, from Fairtrade schools to Sainsbury;
• the contrast between the rigours of certification for small scale producers and the ease of involvement for large corporations;
• the ideal and reality of the fair trade partnership along the value chain.
You can watch and listen to the panellists and the discussion below.
Kate is co-founder of Tropical Wholefoods and has also worked in Uganda developing fair trade fruit drying. Tropical Wholefoods is based in a Soil Association certified factory in Sunderland, and produces snacks, foods and natural soaps.
Rajah is a tea plantation owner, his life’s work has been to convert the Fairtrade certified Makaibari Tea Estate in Darjeeling to organic permaculture, with tea bushes integrated into a wider subtropical forest ecosystem.
Katie is a sustainability consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She was previously at Marks & Spencer, where she worked on the launch of Fairtrade cotton products and the move to Fairtrade coffee.
Dyborn Charlie Chibonga
Dyborn is CEO of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi, which represents over 100,000 small scale farmers. He also serves on the board of the International Nut Cooperative which is selling Fairtrade nuts under its own UK brand, Liberation.
Pauline is an independent consultant focused on helping small-scale producers in Africa and Latin America profit from the international marketplace. She is a founder of two Fairtrade companies, Cafédirect and Divine Chocolate.
Questions and Discussion
The whole debate is available as a podcast.
Cadbury and the Fairtrade Foundation have announced that Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate bar, and its hot chocolate beverage, will become Fairtrade certified in the UK and Ireland by the autumn of 2009.
Dairy Milk is the UK's best selling bar, with 300 million of them being produced every year. The chief executive of the company, Todd Stitzer, says he plans to convert their other chocolate brands to Fairtrade "as soon as we can do it". Dairy Milk represents 20% of Cadbury's chocolate range.
Tens of millions of people are now suffering the effects of increased and volatile food and fuel prices, including the world's 450 million smallholder farming households, home to around two billion people. Average food prices rose 83 per cent between 2005 and 2008
The Fairtrade Foundation announced today that Fairtrade sales rose 43 percent over 2007, defying the economic downturn and reaching an estimated retail value of £700m in 2008. The number of families regularly buying ethical tea, coffee, fruit and clothes in 2008 rose by 1.3 million to 18 million.