Worldwide Fairtrade sales hit $5.4 billion
Despite an economically difficult year, sales of fairtrade products have been roaring, with consumers around the world spending around AU$5.4 billion on Fairtrade products in 2009 – a 15% increase over 2008. Australian and New Zealand consumers were a particularly strong market, increasing their Fairtrade shopping by 58%, compared to 14% in the UK and 7% in the US.
Fairtrade cocoa grew by 35% and and sugar by 57%, thanks in part to Fairtrade committments by global chocolate and confectionary brands, including New Zealand’s Scarborough Fair (who extended their 100% Fairtrade Certified range), Green & Black’s, and Cadbury’s purchase of Fairtrade ingredients equivalent to those required for their Dairy Milk line. Nestlé also switched Kit Kat to Fairtrade ingredients, and ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has now switched four of its flavours.
Fairtrade Certified coffee, the pioneering Fairtrade product, grew steadily at 12%.
Fairtrade also gained new customers outside of its traditional markets, with sales growing exponentially in Eastern Europe, South Africa, and many countries in the global south.
Steve Knapp, Executive Director of Fairtrade Labelling Australia and New Zealand, said that when 2009 began – in the midst of the worst global recession in 70 years – there had been concern that Fairtrade producers could lose sales.
“Instead, consumers in Australia and New Zealand joined the rest of the world bucking the trend and proving their deep commitment to giving developing world producers a fair deal,” he said.
“This has helped make a huge impact for the 1.2 million farmers and workers now selling through Fairtrade,” Mr Knapp said.
There are more than 827 Fairtrade producer organisations in 60 countries worldwide. As a result of this year’s success, Fairtrade coffee farmers have been able to invest AU$23.4 into community and business development while Fairtrade banana producers assigned AU$19.3 million to such improvements.