The fair trade generation

Young Britons who have grown up in the era of a flourishing fair trade market are highly sensitive to global issues and want to see businesses acting to end inequality and climate change – according to a new analysis from the Fairtrade Foundation

The survey found that 82% of UK teenagers think companies need to act more responsibly, while just 45% say they trust businesses to do so. Almost all those surveyed (97%) said they are familiar with the Fairtrade mark and system.

Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said, “From fast fashion to constant upgrades to their smartphones, you might be forgiven for thinking that today’s teens only care about a product’s price tag and whether it looks cool enough to be Instagrammed.

“But ‘generation fair trade’ also care deeply about some of the biggest global issues that we face. They have grown up with fair trade products at home, and may even have attended one of the UK’s 1,000 Fairtrade schools – so they are aware that by taking a simple action such as buying fair trade or signing an online petition, they can persuade businesses and governments to act more ethically – and the good news for all of us is that they want to use their power to change the world for the better.”

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The research found that more than half of teenagers surveyed are deeply worried about global issues, such as human rights, poverty and climate change, and are willing to take action, by participating in events and signing petitions for good causes. Most of them also want to see more fair trade products at home.

Caroline Holme, director at GlobeScan, who carried out the survey, added, “Young people are just as switched onto global issues as older generations and we see a similar gap in perceptions between trust and expectations of companies. The number of thoughtful answers to unprompted questions far exceeded what we typically see in online surveys.”

First published by Blue&Green Tomorrow