Fairtrade’s new offers to business drive greater impact for farmers

Cocoa farmer

Thanks to new partnerships with Mars Chocolate UK, Transport for London, UK retailers and other businesses, farmers are benefitting from increased market opportunities and tailored programmes which are driving greater impact in thousands of communities, the Fairtrade Foundation’s Annual report, ‘Our Impact Story 2015-2016’, published today, 20 July 2016, reveals.  

 

In the past year, on top of fairer prices for farmers, growth in UK sales of major Fairtrade categories such as tea, coffee, cocoa, bananas have generated almost £30million in Fairtrade Premium for farmers and workers to invest in their businesses and communities. Thanks to this record growth in some of the commodities for which Fairtrade is best known, as well as newer areas such as flowers and wine, the market is now worth an estimated £1.6 billion.

Michael Gidney, CEO, Fairtrade Foundation, said:

“Last year was a pivotal one for Fairtrade. New business partnerships with Fairtrade have really begun to demonstrate how by working together, companies and charities can drive impact and support communities to develop industries, boosting local economies and enabling societies to flourish. 

“UK shoppers are also central to this story. Thanks to their continued support of Fairtrade, we’ve seen growth in sales in our core commodities, including bananas, coffee, cocoa and tea, which is helping farmers and workers get a better deal in sectors where low prices and wages dominate and communities are vulnerable to poverty.”

Last year, for example, since Fairtrade certified Mars bars hit the shelves last year, cocoa cooperatives in West Africa have been able to sell more of their crops, generating the funds to grow their businesses and run them more efficiently. In 2015, sales increased by 5% in volume, generating an estimated £4.8million in Fairtrade premium for farmers and workers.

Fortin Bley, a Fairtrade cocoa farmer from Côte d’Ivoire, said:

“The defining feature of Fairtrade is that we have well-organised organisations and democratic co-operatives, which allow us to carry out development projects for our members. This can only be done if we sell a lot more cocoa on Fairtrade terms.”

This initiative, under Fairtrade’s new Sourcing Programs, was followed by Transport for London when they became the first UK company and public sector body to source cotton for its uniforms. Research with Fairtrade cocoa and cotton farmers in West Africa showed going forward these new market opportunities will make a big difference and strengthen industry as co-operatives improve their businesses with greater training and technical support.

More than 400 companies are now licensed to use the Fairtrade MARK on products in the UK, but beyond certifying products, Fairtrade’s new strategy, ‘Fairtrade Can, I Can’, launched in March 2016, has introduced innovative new ways of working with businesses such as these new ways of sourcing and its Deepening Impact Programme.

Inspired by the UN’s Global Goals, Fairtrade’s new strategy addresses core issues affecting producers globally, ranging from improving workers’ rights and gender equality to initiatives to combat the devastating effects of climate change.

Fairtrade’s Deepening Impact Programme has made real strides by working in partnership with businesses including Waitrose, Liberation Nuts, Matthew Algie and Marks & Spencer, more than 7,000 farmers across Africa, Asia and Latin America have benefitted from tailored projects to drive development. For example, a project with UK coffee roaster Matthew Algie trained more than 1,550 farmers in natural coffee processing as well as providing specialist equipment.

Amy Boardman, Sustainability Project Officer at Matthew Algie, said:

“Support from Fairtrade in implementing this kind of project shows that Fairtrade can be a facilitator and communicator of direct trading relationships, can positively affect product quality and enables as well as labels.”

Many of these projects have worked with farming communities to adapt to climate change, from water conservation in Peru, to combatting a fungal plant disease devastating coffee farmers across Latin America. For example, in Guatemala a joint project by Fairtrade and Percol that has successfully supported 1,000 farmers to eradicate a coffee plant disease which had destroyed 75% of their production, will now be rolled out in four or five other places in the region. In 2015, sales of coffee increased by 11% raising £5.7m in Premium, which is generating more investment to continuously improve agricultural productivity.

In addition to these projects, Fairtrade’s rigorous Standards are also helping workers on tea and banana plantations, who typically struggle with low wages. In 2015, UK tea sales increased by 6% in volume, generating an estimated £3.3million in Premium; while banana sales increased by 5% and generated around £8.2million in Premium.

To achieve the sustainable development, as outlined in the Global Goals, the Fairtrade Foundation’s five year strategy aims to drive further impact, innovation and change for farmers, workers and communities all over the world.

Our Impact Story 2015-2016 shows how Fairtrade can help businesses to ensure their supply chains are sustainable, transparent and provide decent livelihoods.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information, images and spokespeople contact Susannah Henty, Media and PR Manager, 020 7440 8597, Susannah.henty@fairtrade.org.uk

Our Impact Story 2015-2016: http://ourimpactstory.fairtrade.org.uk/

Please note some of the statistics in this report differ from the sales figures published during Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 in February, which were estimated figures.

About Fairtrade

The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.65 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 74 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.

Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continues to be high in 2014, at a level of 78%. Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2015 exceeded £1.6 billion.