The Fairtrade Foundation is celebrating 15 years of the FAIRTRADE Mark with news that the UK Government is to provide £12 million over the next four years in funding to Fairtrade and its international partners in the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO)1 in order to scale up its work supporting farmers in developing countries to access better terms of trade in global markets.
The announcement comes as Fairtrade supporters celebrate 15 years of the FAIRTRADE Mark; the first three products certified by the Fairtrade Foundation appeared on shop shelves in 1994. The products were Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate, Cafédirect medium roast coffee and three varieties of Clipper tea.
“Fairtrade products are already a big part of life in the UK, with new products appearing on our shelves every day. Our £12m funding will help improve this even further,’ says Douglas Alexander. ‘These are exciting times for the FAIRTRADE Mark, which is 15 years old this week. Sales in 2008 rose by 43% in the UK and 22% globally, helping more farmers and workers in the world's poorest countries to make a decent living’.
Today, the UK leads the way in buying Fairtrade products and shoppers can choose from more than 4,500 Fairtrade certified products including cotton clothing, wines, ice cream and cosmetics.3 Recognition of the FAIRTRADE Mark last month (September 2009) rose to an all time high of 72%, and recent TNS research of 25,000 households showed that, despite a tougher economic climate, consumers are actually spending more on Fairtrade products than ever before.4
The UK Government investment will cover the period April 2010/11 to 2013/14 as part of an international donor consortium funding package.5 Other donors include Irish Aid and the Swiss Government. This landmark investment will enable Fairtrade to expand globally and key aims include:
* A 100% increase in the number of farmers in the Fairtrade system to 2.2 million.
* Programmes to increase access to Fairtrade markets for more of the hardest-to-reach producers in the lowest income countries, fragile states and conflict zones, for example Palestine, and increase further the range of Fairtrade products.
* A more than doubling of Fairtrade premiums going back to producers to invest in their own community development projects, to reach in excess of 100 million Euros per year.
* A more than three-fold increase in the global sales of Fairtrade certified products, aiming to reach a value of 9.8 billion Euros by 2014.
‘The announcement is very timely on this fifxxxxth anniversary and is a fitting tribute to how innovative producers, campaigners and businesses have created the most dynamic movement for better, fairer trade,’ says Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation.
‘We’re delighted that, with DFID’s tremendous support, we can look forward to the next 15 years. We’ve come a long way, but there are millions of hardworking farmers, workers and their communities for whom life is a daily battle to survive – and we’re determined to tip the balance of trade in their favour. The scale and significance of this investment is a vote of confidence by the UK Government in the Fairtrade business model as a smart way for businesses and consumers to partner with producers in developing countries to tackle poverty and support more sustainable livelihoods for farmers’.
A recent analysis of published material on the impact of Fairtrade by the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich found that there is a growing body of evidence of the positive impact of Fairtrade for producers in the developing world, from direct and indirect economic benefits through to improving community services as well as its role in strengthening farmers’ organisations, so that they in turn can provide more services to members and help them survive in difficult times. 6
One of the first Fairtrade certified producers, cocoa farmer Justino Peck, chairman of Toledo Cacao Growers Association, a farmers’ cooperative in southern Belize, is in London to join the 15th birthday celebrations. Fifxxxx years ago, his cocoa went into the Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate and he still supplies Fairtrade certified cocoa to the company today.
Justino says: “Fairtrade has helped us reach and trade with an international market and set a fair price for our products. We have also invested in growing our business and are currently selling all the cocoa we produce to the Fairtrade market giving us a guaranteed income with which to plan a future. The Fairtrade premium has been used to support further education and this year alone the association supported nine more children through high school.”