Public continues to buy Fairtrade, despite the recession

24 September 2009

Public continues to buy Fairtrade, despite the recession 

The Fairtrade Foundation will today unveil the latest research showing continued consumer confidence and business support for Fairtrade in the UK.

Business and industry leaders will hear how the public continues to remain loyal to Fairtrade during the economic slowdown, when the latest market penetration figures and figures for recognition of the FAIRTRADE Mark will be released at the Fairtrade Foundation’s annual Commercial Conference at Kensington Town Hall, London.  Over 250 delegates will attend the conference.

According to TNS, latest awareness figures for September 2009 show that more people than ever, 72%, now recognise the FAIRTRADE Mark, up from 68% in April 2009. In a different survey of 25,000 households, TNS market penetration figures show that consumers are spending more on Fairtrade products, as the average weight of purchase grew over the last year by 5.5% from £18.19 to £19.171. These results are underpinned by new insight suggesting 95% of people say they would strongly recommend or talk positively about Fairtrade.

But the Fairtrade Foundation will also issue delegates with a call to action, urging businesses large and small to continue to scale up their engagement with Fairtrade to help tackle poverty in developing countries. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Fairtrade in the UK and Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, will say that, despite the step changes companies have made, much more still needs to be done.   

‘Over the last 15 years,’ she will say, ‘ we have seen Fairtrade spread through the business world, with pioneer dedicated Fairtrade companies first taking the lead, retailers taking the baton and now major multinationals joining the race. Today, more and more companies are upping their game on Fairtrade.

‘But the scale of our ambition matches the scale of the task. For four decades, from tea to cotton, businesses have been built on collapsing commodity prices that have pushed farmers into poverty. Now, business has to grasp this nettle of poverty in their supply chains and create long term sustainable change. The producers need Fairtrade, the public want Fairtrade and businesses need long term stable supply chains – which is why more and more companies are indeed now working with Fairtrade and this momentum needs to continue.’

Todd Stitzer, Chief Executive of Cadbury, which recently converted Cadbury Dairy Milk to Fairtrade will say: ‘We came to Fairtrade because of the value it can bring to our supply chain and because of our values. Quality cocoa for us, and a better quality of life for thousands of farmers, empowered through Fairtrade to reinvest in their own farms and communities. And of course this is all at a scale previously unseen.  Together we will quadruple the amount of Fairtrade cocoa coming out of Ghana from 5,000 to 20,000 tonnes in 2010.’ 

The theme for Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 (22 February – 7 March), The Big Swap, will also be unveiled to conference delegates, who will be urged to take part in the Fairtrade Foundation’s annual campaign.  Fairtrade Foundation Marketing Director Cheryl Sloan will say: ‘For two weeks we want everybody in the UK joining in the campaign and swapping for Fairtrade. Your usual bananas for Fairtrade bananas, your usual cuppa for a Fairtrade cuppa, your usual T-shirt for a Fairtrade cotton T-shirt. And we need lots of swaps made - one million and one in fact. Each and every swap proves that the people of the UK want producers in the developing world to get a fairer deal. This will be our first partnership with creative agency Wieden & Kennedy and the Big Swap campaign will help Fairtrade move further into the mainstream and tip the balance of trade in favour of marginalised producers.’

Companies will be encouraged to build on this year’s success, which has seen several exciting developments such as the launch of Fairtrade olive oil from Palestine and Fairtrade beauty through to several  significant conversions to Fairtrade from major companies. Fairtrade Fortnight presents companies with a unique opportunity to market Fairtrade and is the perfect time for businesses to improve visibility at point-of-sale, or even extend their range of Fairtade certified products. Over the last 15 years, this unique social movement has taken root, with millions of ordinary people taking part in Fairtrade Fortnight and then making their everyday actions contribute to making global trade fairer for 7 million people – farmers, workers and their families – in 59 countries across the developing world.

Today, there are over 4,500 Fairtrade certified products, 450 Fairtrade Towns, more than 3,000 registered Fairtrade Schools, 100 Fairtrade Universities and Colleges, and over 5,000 Fairtrade faith groups.

Other keynote speakers will include:

·         Mark Price, Managing Director of Waitrose, presenting insights from the checkout

·         Darcy Willson-Rymer, UK Managing Director of Starbucks, presenting insights from the high street

·         Wolfgang Weinmann, Producer Partnership Manager of Cafedirect, on their producer partnerships

·         Joanne Denny-Finch, Chief Executive of IGD, presenting research about the ethical consumer and business landscape

·         Mike Foster MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for the Department of International Development, talking on perspectives on Fairtrade as a route to development for poor countries

·         Abi Petit, Managing Director of  Gossypium, presenting insights from a cotton perspective

·         Dan Norris, Wieden & Kennedy, on the new Fairtrade Foundation brand development

·         Heather Masoud, Director of Zaytoun, on how and why Fairtrade is a core part of their business

·         Ian Leggett, Director of People & Planet, on Fairtrade and tomorrow’s consumers – schools and universities

– ENDS – 

Eileen Maybin

Head of Media Relations

020 7440 7686/07770 957 451


Martine Julseth

Media and PR Manager

020 7440 7695/07825 827 791

Faith Mall

Media and PR Manager

020 7440 8597/07766 504 947


Neil Martin

Assistant Press Officer

020 7440 7620


Notes to Editors

1.     Weighted Trip Spend’ is the amount spent on each occasion. This has increased from an average of £1.39 to £1.42 for Fairtrade in the last 52 week ending period.

2.     The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member. The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards.

3.     Over 4,500 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, coconuts, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney & sauces, rice, quinoa, herbs &  spices, seeds, nuts & nut oil, wines, beers, rum, confectionary, muesli, cereal bars, yoghurt, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cloth toys, cotton wool and olive oil.

The Fairtrade Foundation Commercial Conference will be held at Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX.