Shopping Choices Can Make a Positive Difference to Farmers and Workers in Developing Countries

11 October 2011 – Consumers across the world remain firm in their belief that their shopping choices can make a positive difference for farmers and workers in developing countries, according to a new global survey of 17 000 consumers in 24 countries conducted for Fairtrade International by international research consultancy GlobeScan.
Six out of ten consumers (59%) feel empowered to make a difference through their shopping choices. This conviction remains as strong as or stronger than at the outset of the global economic downturn in 2008 when the survey was first conducted.
Consumers have high expectations of companies in combating poverty — 79 percent worldwide say companies can play an important role in reducing poverty through the way they do business. Their top concerns are fair pay for farmers and workers and product safety: a full 85 percent of consumers say these issues are important for companies and their suppliers in their dealings with poor countries.
Shoppers recognize Fairtrade’s role in enabling them to make a difference — Six in ten (58%) of those familiar with it say that the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark makes it easier for them to decide if products are ethically produced. More than six in ten consumers (64%) globally say they trust the FAIRTRADE Mark. Among consumers who recognize the FAIRTRADE Mark, nine in ten regard it as a trusted label.
Consumers understand Fairtrade’s role in providing clear benefits to farmers and workers. Sixty-four percent of those familiar with the FAIRTRADE Mark strongly associate it with helping farmers and workers in poor countries escape poverty.
“This survey proves consumers do care about the people and the communities at the other end of the supply chain,” says Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International. “They want to be sure that their everyday purchases reflect their values and they expect companies to reflect this need. We are taking up the challenge to grow Fairtrade still further so that even more farmers and workers can have better opportunities and more consumers can make the choices they believe in.”
The study of more than 17,000 consumers was carried out in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA.
French, Irish, and South African shoppers feel the most empowered among all consumers, with around 70 percent believing that their shopping choices make a difference. The Irish also have the highest expectations of companies, as 89 percent emphasize the role of business in reducing poverty. More than 8 in 10 shoppers in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, and Austria report that they have seen the FAIRTRADE Mark.
“The survey shows that consumers are concerned about the well-being of farmers and workers abroad and want to make the right shopping choices. They see the FAIRTRADE Mark as a facilitator—a trusted brand that bridges the gap between consumers and producers,” says Caroline Holme, Research Director at GlobeScan.
People are backing their beliefs with concrete action – shoppers spent €4.36 billion on Fairtrade products in 2010, an increase of 28 percent. Consumers tripled their Fairtrade purchases in Czech Republic (386%), South Africa (315%) and Australia and New Zealand (258%). Shoppers bought an impressive 47 percent more in Fairtrade’s largest market, the United Kingdom (UK).
“We are very happy to hear about the incredible support from consumers found in these survey results. We deeply appreciate the commitment from consumers around the world who care about our well-being and our lives. I offer thanks on behalf of the Fairtrade small-scale farmers of Latin America who I represent,” says Merling Preza, President of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Small Fair Trade Producers (CLAC) and General Manager of the coffee cooperative PRODECOOP.

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About the Survey:

The study was based on a quantitative survey delivered to a random sample of adult consumers using available online panels in each country. The survey countries included: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. Fieldwork was conducted between 23 February 2011 and 24 June 2011. The total number of interviews per country ranged from 500 to 1,500. Tracking countries from the 2008 survey included: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. The international FAIRTRADE Certification Mark was tested in all countries except for the USA, where the local label was tested.

About Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO)

Fairtrade is a global movement and product certification with a people first approach to trade. Fairtrade offers farmers and workers a better deal and an opportunity to improve their lives and invest in their future. Over 6 million people (farmers, workers and their family members) in 60 countries directly benefit from the international Fairtrade system. National Fairtrade organizations promote Fairtrade to consumers in 25 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Australia/New Zealand.
Fairtrade International is a global non-profit organization that works with farmers and workers to improve lives through fairer trade. We lead the Fairtrade system, develop the Fairtrade Standards and support producers. Fairtrade International owns the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark, a registered trademark recognized around the world.

About GlobeScan

GlobeScan is an international opinion research consultancy. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments, and NGOs trust GlobeScan for its unique expertise in reputation research, sustainability, and issues management. GlobeScan provides global organizations with evidence-based insight and advice to help them build strong brands, manage relations with key stakeholders, and define their strategic positioning. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard for its quality management system, and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact.
Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in London, Toronto, and San Francisco.