Fairtrade retail sales boom across globe but UK leads the way

Fairtrade: “Productivity dissatisfied by the gains”

The UK continues to lead the world in Fairtrade sales - outstripping second-placed Germany almost four-fold, Fairtrade International has revealed.

Its annual report revealed retail sales in the UK grew 16% in 2012 to €1.9bn.

The UK also topped the consumer awareness list with 96% of shoppers saying they had seen the Fairtrade mark ‘often or occasionally’, compared with 91% in Switzerland, 89% in the Netherlands, 88% in Ireland and an average of 56%.

Some 89% of UK shoppers also said they trusted the Fairtrade mark, beaten only by 91% of shoppers in Switzerland.

While the UK was the biggest market, the report found Fairtrade sales were booming across the globe. Of the 22 countries where sales comparison figures were available, two reported triple-digit increases and 16 reported double-digit hikes.

South Africa notched up a 220% hike to €22.3m, while sales were up 114% in Estonia and 91% in Latvia. Germany also broke through the €500m sales barrier with sales up 33% to €533m.

Just two countries reported a fall in sales - Canada (1%) and Denmark (4%).

“In the ultimate irony, half of the world’s hungriest people are smallholder farmers, yet they grow 70% of the world’s food,” said Fairtrade International CEO Harriet Lamb. “Fairtrade’s strong sales growth in 2012 is encouraging, but we are productively dissatisfied. We must step up the reach of Fairtrade if we are to break the mould of unfairness so deeply embedded in trade.”