Fairtrade Support Continues To Grow

Irish consumers are among the most faithful and generous in their support for Fairtrade products. A new report has confirmed that, despite the recession, Irish consumers continue to buy Fairtrade goods in higher quantities than ever.

Irish consumers are among the most faithful and generous in their support for Fairtrade products. A new report has confirmed that, despite the recession, Irish consumers continue to buy Fairtrade goods in higher quantities than ever.

Consumers across the world remain firm in their belief that their shopping choices can make a positive difference for farmers and workers in developing countries, according to a new global survey of 17,000 consumers in 24 countries in 2011 conducted for Fairtrade International, Australasia, the EU, Switzerland, India, and South Africa.

Six out of ten consumers (59%) feel empowered to make a difference through their shopping choices. This conviction remains as strong as or stronger than at the outset of the global economic downturn in 2008 when the survey was first conducted.

“We think it’s great that people in Ireland are still amongst the leaders internationally in supporting Fairtrade. Irish people’s support obviously wasn’t just a Celtic Tiger thing – that’s something we can be proud of as a country.” said Peter Gaynor, Director, Fairtrade Ireland.

Consumers have high expectations of companies in combating poverty — 79 percent worldwide say companies can play an important role in reducing poverty through the way they do business. Their top concerns are fair pay for farmers and workers and product safety: a full 85 percent of consumers say these issues are important for companies and their suppliers in their dealings with poor countries.

Shoppers recognize Fairtrade’s role in enabling them to make a difference — Six in ten (58%) of those familiar with it say that the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark makes it easier for them to decide if products are ethically produced. More than six in ten consumers (64%) globally say they trust the FAIRTRADE Mark. Among consumers who recognize the FAIRTRADE Mark, nine in ten regard it as a trusted label.

Consumers understand Fairtrade’s role in providing clear benefits to farmers and workers. Sixty-four percent of those familiar with the FAIRTRADE Mark strongly associate it with helping farmers and workers in poor countries escape poverty.

“This survey proves consumers do care about the people and the communities at the other end of the supply chain,” says Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International. “They want to be sure that their everyday purchases reflect their values and they expect companies to reflect this need. We are taking up the challenge to grow Fairtrade still further so that even more farmers and workers can have better opportunities and more consumers can make the choices they believe in.”

Irish, French, and South African shoppers feel the most empowered among all consumers, with around 70 percent believing that their shopping choices make a difference. The Irish also have the highest expectations of companies, as 89 percent emphasize the role of business in reducing poverty. More than 8 in 10 shoppers in Ireland, UK, Switzerland, Finland, and Austria report that they have seen the FAIRTRADE Mark.

“The survey shows that consumers are concerned about the well-being of farmers and workers abroad and want to make the right shopping choices. They see the FAIRTRADE Mark as a facilitator—a trusted brand that bridges the gap between consumers and producers,” says Caroline Holme, Research Director at GlobeScan.

People are backing their beliefs with concrete action – shoppers spent €4.36 billion on Fairtrade products in 2010, an increase of 28 percent. Consumers tripled their Fairtrade purchases in Czech Republic (386%), South Africa (315%) and Australia and New Zealand (258%). Shoppers bought an impressive 47 percent more in Fairtrade’s largest market, the United Kingdom (UK).

“We are very happy to hear about the incredible support from consumers found in these survey results. We deeply appreciate the commitment from consumers around the world who care about our well-being and our lives. I offer thanks on behalf of the Fairtrade small-scale farmers of Latin America who I represent,” says Merling Preza, President of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Small Fair Trade Producers (CLAC) and General Manager of the coffee cooperative PRODECOOP.

And that Tipperary lead in having one of the highest levels of support in the Country for Fairtrade is something to cheer in these recessionary times.