Fairtrade sales increase despite economic climate

The Fairtrade Foundation says increased public awareness of product supply chains means the demand for ethical goods is growing

Sales of Fairtrade products have continued to rise despite the current recession according to the Fairtrade Foundation, which reports a 19% increase in sales growth in the UK.

More than 4,500 items sold in UK supermarkets are certified Fairtrade and British consumers are the world’s biggest Fairtrade spenders, putting £1.5bn of their money into Fairtrade in 2012.

According to a recent report by the Co-operative Bank, sales of ethical goods and services in general grew to over £47bn last year.

With terms like CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainability becoming more familiar to the public, and events such as the horsemeat scandal increasing public awareness of product supply chains, the Fairtrade Foundation believes citizens are increasingly concerned about transparency and the sourcing of goods.

Martine Parry from the Fairtrade Foundation says: “Consumers expect more from companies than ever before and the pressure on business to act responsibly and put sustainability at the heart of what they do has also intensified, including how they treat the farmers and workers who supply them.”

David Clayton-Smith, chair of the Fairtrade Foundation Board, suggests that still more can be done: “Fairtrade is firmly established in the mainstream markets, offering a model that has been shown to work; now we must improve its impact for farmers and workers and take it wider.”