Australian support for Fairtrade soars

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 4th May 2009

Australian sales of Fairtrade Certified and Labelled products has grown strongly for the fifth consecutive year with 2008 retail figures up by 80 per cent, Fairtrade Labelling Australia & New Zealand (FLANZ) has announced.

FLANZ Operations Manager Cameron Neil said total retail sales of Fairtrade Certified and Labelled products exceeded $23 million in 2008 reflecting the expanding Australian market for such products and increased support from business.

“Across the country, consumers and businesses are increasingly making the change and choosing to buy and sell a range of Fairtrade Certified and Labelled products because they know it is an easy way to help tackle poverty and make a big change,” Mr Neil explained. “Every dollar Aussie shoppers spend on Fairtrade products helps create a better future for developing country producers, their families and communities.”

“It’s giving them the chance to take control of their lives, grow and develop their businesses, send their kids to school, build roads, and access better health care,” he added.

Coffee led the way, with tea one of the fastest growing categories last year.

“Australian Fairtrade Certified coffee sales continued to run hot in 2008 reaching $17 million and making it the highest selling Fairtrade Certified and Labelled product in the country,” Mr Neil advised. “At the same time, demand for other Fairtrade Certified and Labelled products has grown at remarkable rates with 2008 Fairtrade Certified tea sales increasing over 200% to $3 million.”

Mr Neil said the number of Australian businesses licensed to sell Fairtrade Certified and Labelled products also rose significantly in 2008 with over 125 now registered with FLANZ.

“The last year has been very exciting for Fairtrade in Australia; across the country BP’s Wild Bean Café launched 100% Fairtrade Certified coffee in all its stores, while Jamaica Blue launched a Fairtrade Organic in-store option and Nerada achieved Fairtrade Certification for most of its organic tea range,” he noted. “Jetstar along with Virgin, Pacific and Polynesian Blue now all offer in-flight Fairtrade Certified coffee and tea.”

Fairtrade Fortnight

“Meanwhile, Corporate Express has over 60 Fairtrade Certified products in its catalogue and the number of Fairtrade products sold in Australian supermarkets has also continued to increase, with Fairtrade Certified peanuts joining the range of Fairtrade Certified coffee, tea and chocolate products already on shelves.”

The growth of Fairtrade in Australia has been remarkable since the first product was launched in 2003, with annual retail sales for Fairtrade Certified and Labelled products in Australia soaring from $150,000 to over $20 million.

Mr Neil said Australian shoppers’ growing commitment to Fairtrade reflected a global trend and one that remains strong even in the face of recession.

“Fairtrade Labelling initiatives around the world have continued to report strong growth, and recent research shows that despite feeling the pinch, 92% of consumers would still be willing to pay extra for a product that is ethically certified and 68% would remain loyal to a brand even in recession if it supports a good cause,” he advised. “Recent global consumer research conducted for Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) has also reinforced that consumer support for Fairtrade is on the rise, revealing that shoppers are increasingly expecting companies to be more accountable and fair in dealing with producers in developing countries.”

In Australia, almost three quarters of shoppers (70%) believe independent certification is the best way to verify a product’s ethical claims, research has discovered, with more than one quarter of Australian consumers now familiar with the Fairtrade Label – just five years after launch.

The research was released to mark the start of Fair Trade Fortnight, a celebration of all things fair trade in Australia and New Zealand from May 2 – May 17. World Fair Trade Day will be marked during the event – on May 9.