High consumer demand for Fairtrade products, including cocoa, bananas, wine, gold, and cosmetic reflects an increased shopper awareness of sustainability among shoppers, research shows. 

According to the latest GlobeScan 2021 data, 65% of people in the UK say they choose Fairtrade, demonstrating continued consumer commitment to products that are ethically and sustainably produced, says Fairtrade Foundation, as its annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaign begins.

Demand is also translating into sales, with the Co-op’s ‘Ethical Markets Report 2021’ noting that the UK ‘green pound’ has reached record levels, breaking through the £100 bn mark for the first time. 

It found, for instance, that Fairtrade sales increased by 14% in 2020. The report has tracked ethical expenditure year by year over the past two decades. Fairtrade’s own figures set out in its latest annual report show sales of Fairtrade cocoa grew by 3% and were matched by 3% growth in bananas in 2020. 

Major brands and retailers continue to back Fairtrade despite the impacts of Brexit and ongoing pandemic-related challenges, making impressive commitments to Fairtrade and the farmers and workers in their supply chains. 

M&S launched a new range of 100% Fairtrade jams through a major sugar commitment. Fairtrade’s wine category has seen significant growth in 2021, complemented by partnerships in origin to create further value for farmers and workers. And in cocoa, Greggs for example continue to rollout their 100% chocolate couverture conversion.

In 2021 Fairtrade completed successful programmes focused on alleviating the impact of COVID-19 and increasing resilience of farmers and workers: this included a flower programme in Kenya in partnership with FCDO and in collaboration with business partners such as MM Flowers, M&S, Tesco and Co-op; as well as a Ghana-based cocoa programme in partnership with FCDO and Mondelēz International.

Meanwhile shopping for everyday goods online will remain the new norm amid the pandemic. Digitalisation makes it easier for shoppers to compare products and learn whether or not a company’s sourcing and manufacturing practices align with their values. 

According to Fairtrade research, there is a clear desire among online shoppers to support brands that are not only taking care of their own teams and suppliers but are also contributing to making the world a better place. 

Anna Barker, Head of Responsible Business at the Fairtrade Foundation said: “After the disappointment of COP26, shoppers are increasingly looking to businesses to act on their ethical and social concerns.”

As climate change continues to escalate, Fairtrade warns that consumers will increasingly demand companies focus more on sustainability. Shoppers are looking to brands to provide responsibly sourced and produced products they can feel good about purchasing. In 2021, 59% of Fairtrade shoppers said they were willing to pay more for a product to ensure farmers and workers were paid a fair price.

Barker continued: “Shoppers are turning up the heat to avoid businesses which fail to act on ethical or social concerns. They are looking for opportunities to positively influence change for the good of our climate in as many ways as possible. Companies must support consumers in making ethical purchasing decisions.”

This comes as the Fairtrade Foundation launches its annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaign. Taking place between 21 February- 6 March. It marks the second year of Fairtrade’s climate campaign Choose the World You Want climate campaign, asking the British public to get behind Fairtrade so that farmers in low-income countries can benefit from fairer prices, trading practices and the resources needed to tackle climate change.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 builds on the Foundation’s ongoing climate justice campaign which has seen key business partners such as Co-op, John Lewis Partnership, Gregg’s, Matthew Algie, Ben & Jerry’s, Clipper, Tony’s, Cafedirect and Nespresso commit to taking climate action in their supply chains. The charity is inviting more companies to add their name to its climate pledge and join their Climate Network.

Image credit: Sand In Your Eye

Editorial contact:
Editor: Kiran Grewal kgrewal@kennedys.co.uk