Fair trade labels making an impact, organization says

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Fair trade labels making an impact, organization says


Seventy-six percent of consumers would view a brand they already buy more favorably if it carried a fair trade label, according to Fairtrade America’s recent biennial GlobeScan Fairtrade Consumer Insights report.

Washington, D.C.-based Fairtrade America, a non-profit organization, is an independent, third-party certification organization that works in partnership with more than 1.5 million producers in developing countries. Its mission is to secure decent working conditions, fair prices and better terms of trade. In this way, producers are empowered to improve their social, environmental and economic sustainability, according to the organization. Fairtrade America is the U.S. chapter of Fairtrade International.

To gain the results in its recent report, Fairtrade America conducted an online survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers via an online survey. According to the organization, study results point to trust and overall favorable perceptions of Fairtrade certified brands and products, as well as increased recognition of the Fairtrade seal.

The study found:

• Half of American consumers trust the Fairtrade label.

• 64% of customers would recommend Fairtrade products to a friend or colleague.

• Price is becoming a less dominant barrier to purchase.

• Visibility of Fairtrade labels is highest on coffee products.

• Fair trade preference levels are highest for vegetables.

"Beyond taste, quality and price, food and beverage brands can increasingly differentiate themselves by appealing to consumers’ ethical concerns, including the very issues that Fairtrade America works to improve," said Bryan Lew, chief operating officer for Fairtrade America. "This data helps us assess our impact and evolve our approach to influencing businesses to certify and shoppers to make ethical purchasing decisions. Ultimately, Fairtrade certified products help secure decent working conditions, fair prices, and better terms of trade that empower small farmers in developing countries to improve their social, environmental and economic stability."

According to Fairtrade America, while farming is the single largest employer in the world, millions of farmers are going hungry and not earning enough to properly feed either themselves or their families. Their lives are affected by a changing climate, inequality and a lack of an opportunity to seek an education. Everyone engages with the global supply chain when purchasing everyday items, including coffee, fresh produce, chocolate and sugar — all of which begin on a farm, usually in a developing country. Purchasing Fairtrade Certified products means farmers were fairly compensated for their goods and produced them in compliance with Fairtrade America's rigorous standards for certification, the organization stated.

In the U.S., Fairtrade America works with 60 brands, and the Fairtrade label appears on more than 5,000 products.