Fairtrade responds to an article in the Financial Times, which highlights the costs and challenges of fair trade
Barbara Crowther, Director of Policy & Public Affairs, says:
Fairtrade is much more than "an appealing idea" for the 1.5 million farmers and workers in developing countries, who are empowered by it to get a fair deal and to build a better, more sustainable future for their families and communities (Mind the fair trade gap, Financial Times, 29 May).
Like any credible certification programme, there is a cost for obtaining Fairtrade certification but grants of up to 75% are available for small farmers organisations, and trading partners and NGOs often work with poorer farmers to help them achieve certification. As a result, Fairtrade works with coffee farmers and others in some of the world's poorest countries including Ethiopia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
Mr. Harford cites selectively from a wide body of research into the impact of Fairtrade, including an old study undertaken before a review that increased the price and premium for coffee farmers. Other independent, academic studies have found that Fairtrade contributes to higher household income and helps farmers to earn higher prices for their coffee.
For example, a recent study from Harvard found that, “Fair Trade does achieve many of its intended goals”, as farmers receive higher prices, have more access to credit and perceive their economic environment as being more stable. Research in Uganda by Gottingen University found that under Fairtrade, household living standards of coffee farmers increased by 30% and their likelihood of being poor decreased by 50%.
In the words of Fatima Ismael, a Fairtrade coffee farmer from Nicaragua, "the importance of consuming Fairtrade products is not just about the price, but so that [consumers] can see that behind every cup of coffee, behind every bag of coffee, there is a family of small producers who is struggling to keep their land, to look after the environment and to make positive changes in society, a family that is making a contribution towards a better world, a fairer world."
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For more information, please contact:
Justin Avern, Head of Media & PR
020 7440 7686
Nicola Frame, Media & PR Manager
020 7440 8597/ 07766 504947
020 7440 7692
Notes to Editors
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 1.5 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.