Sales of products carrying the Fair Trade Certified logo have increased by almost 40 per cent, as consumers become more informed about work conditions for foreign workers.
Saturday marked the beginning of Fair Trade Fortnight, which aims to bring more awareness to the free trade cause.
Fairtrade Australia New Zealand (Fairtrade ANZ) said the increase in Fair Trade certified products in 2011 represents just over $165 million for the cause, which helps to ensure decent working conditions for employees.
In 2010, over AU$63.8 million in additional Fairtrade Premium payments were made globally to farmers for investment in growing their businesses, improving the quality of product and providing their communities with essential services such as healthcare and education.
Fairtrade ANZ chief executive Stephen Knapp said the growth shows Australian shoppers and businesses continue to believe every choice matters when it comes to giving farmers in developing countries a fair go.
“Whether it’s your morning coffee or the products your workplace uses for the office canteen, every choice matters,” Knapp said.
“Unlike any other third party certification system, Fairtrade works in partnership with small-scale farmers in developing countries to provide fairer prices, better terms of trade and additional funds for business and community development.
“Making a choice that matters and choosing Fairtrade is now easier than ever for Aussies shoppers with the number of Australian businesses licensed to sell products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark rising by over 13% per cent to 220 and a range of Fairtrade Certified products now readily available on major supermarket shelves across the country,” he said.
Last year a number of large food brands started offering Fairtrade choices to Australian consumers including Starbucks and San Churro, which both now serve 100 per cent Fairtrade Certified espresso in their stores throughout the country.
Fairtrade Certified coffee on the supermarket shelves also continued to grow with brands including Republica, Oxfam, Global Café Direct and Grinders and Marco offering Fairtrade Certified and organic coffees.
“The choice of these businesses to support and offer Fairtrade Certified products is reflective of the continued demand by consumers who more than ever know that every choice matters, even in harder economic times,” Knapp said.
“Even in tough times Aussie shoppers understand the sense and importance of a fair go for all.
“They are continuing to make the choice to buy Fairtrade Certified products because they know they are making a choice that matters – one which makes a real difference to the lives of millions of farmers and their communities in some of the world’s poorest countries,” he said.
In October last year , a global poll has revealed more Australians not only recognise the Fairtrade label, but are also actively looking for it when making purchases.
Of the 17 000 consumers Fairtrade surveyed from 24 different countries, over half said they believed buying certified free trade would help farmers in developing countries.
Over six in ten surveyed said they trust the Fairtrade Label and use it to make decisions.
Do you look for Fairtrade Certified products when shopping or eating out?