Thursday, 9 November 2006

Canadian Annual Fair Trade Sales Increase By 47%

Worldwide sales of Fair Trade products rise by a third as Fair Trade sales in Canada reach 47%

New figures released today by the Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO) International reveal that global sale of Fair Trade Certified products have increased by 37% between 2004 and 2005. Meanwhile in Canada, TransFair Canada recently announced that Canadian sales of Fair Trade products have increased by 47% in 2005. TransFair Canada is a member of FLO which unites 20 national initiatives across Europe, Japan, North America, Mexico and Australia/New Zealand. Global Fair Trade figures are unveiled to coincide with the publication of FLO’s annual report for 2005. The speed at which the sales are growing shows an increasing demand from consumers for a positive model of trade which is fairer and more sustainable for farmers and is helping them to bring development to their communities. “Fair Trade Certification significant worldwide growth in 2005 also shows that more and more producers, traders and licensees trust the Fair Trade Certification Mark and look to join the system. Increasingly, companies are knocking on the door of the labelling organizations because they want to have the Cer­tification Mark on their products. In only one year, from 2004 to 2005, the number of licensees offering Fair Trade Certified products in­creased by 29%. The certification system is absolutely independent from any interest, and this is what people trust”, says Luuk Zonneveld, managing director of FLO International. One of the more recent companies to join is Marks and Spencer, one of the largest food and clothing retailers in the UK. The entire range of Marks & Spencer’s coffee and tea, totaling 38 lines, switched to Fairtrade in a move which is estimated to increase the value of all Fairtrade instant and ground coffee sold in the UK supermar­kets by 18%, and increase the value of Fairtrade tea by approximately 30%. But Marks and Spencer is only one out of several of companies around the world that have become involved in Fairtrade in 2005, representing a growth of 29% from 1151 in 2004 to 1483 licensees in 2005. The increase in the Fair Trade range and Fair Trade sales means that more producer organizations are able to sell to the Canadian Fair Trade market. Globally, the number of certified producer organizations has grown by 127% since 2001 to 548 groups in 58 countries and the number of registered traders has increased by 132% in the same period. “The Fair Trade system encourages farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America to organize into democratically run groups and implement changes in agricultural practices. This ensures that the gradual improvements which Fair Trade makes possible are sustainable, giving communities a real chance to build a brighter future,” says Luuk Zonneveld. Tadesse Meskela, General Manager of Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Co-operative Union in Ethiopia explained: “With Fair Trade coffee, farmers in Ethiopia are getting their deserved reward. Fair Trade is not just about selling and buying. It is creating a global family.” Mr. Meskela told how the collapse in coffee prices has affected farmers. For most of the last six years coffee prices have remained below the cost of production, causing immense hardship for millions of farmers. In 2001, prices plummeted to just 45 US cents per lb and farmers in Ethiopia were forced to sell the corrugated iron roofs from their homes. Thanks to Fair Trade there is now hope for some of the farmers who have lived through such desperate times. FLO is investing more and more resources back into producer organizations: in 2005 it set up the Producer Business Unit to increase the support to Fair Trade Certified producer organizations. The Unit brought together the previous Product Managers and Producer Support structures within FLO, and now numbers 10 people in Bonn, Germany, as well as a growing number of locally-based “Liaison Officers”. Thanks to a partnership with the Dutch business advisory organizations SNV, the number of liaison officers on the ground has increased to 25 and a further 5 will be recruited by the end of the year. It is expected that 370 producer organizations, representing 600,000 families, will benefit from the cooperation between SNV and FLO.
For copies of the 2005 annual report and/or further information, please contact Verónica Pérez, Communication Officer, at FLO International.
Tel:++49 228 949 2314

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