Fairtrade now worth £1.17bn
You are in: surefish > ethical living > Fairtrade Foundation
Date: 28 February, 2011


'Sales of Fairtrade products soared by 40% in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £1.17bn compared with £836m in 2009.'

As part of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight, the Fairtrade Foundation reports that sales of fairtrade goods have passed the £1bn mark

For Fairtrade Fortnight events, click here

Sales of Fairtrade products soared by 40% in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £1.17bn compared with £836m in 2009.

UK shoppers are continuing to embrace Fairtrade, showing no downturn on ethical values despite the tough economic times.

Figures released by the Fairtrade Foundation reveal that every day in the UK, some 9.3 million cups of Fairtrade tea, 6.4 million cups of Fairtrade coffee, 2.3 million chocolate bars, 530,000 cups of Fairtrade drinking chocolate and 3.1 million Fairtrade bananas are being consumed.

New categories are also growing with over 1 million cosmetic products using Fairtrade ingredients also being sold in 2010.

‘It is fantastic to break the first billion,’ says the Fairtrade Foundation’s Executive Director, Harriet Lamb.

‘Fairtrade is going from strength to strength because the public want it, it makes business sense, and most importantly because it’s working for the millions of farmers, workers and their families who see Fairtrade as their lifeline in these tough times.


'They’ll be cheering to know that UK shoppers and businesses still care. The challenges of global poverty and inequality are more serious than ever, especially for the farmers who grow the coffee, tea, bananas, rice or cotton on which we depend here in the UK.

'This first billion shows the potential for change. If the public, businesses and producers can now build on that momentum, Fairtrade could get to £2 billion by the end of 2012 . It’s ambitious, but it really would be game changing.’

The extension of Fairtrade range into new areas such as cosmetics has opened up opportunities for more producers in the past year.

Juliana Sampana, a shea nut gatherer from the Akoma Co-operative in Ghana, which has recently started selling shea butter into the UK Fairtrade cosmetics market, says: ‘The women who are from poor communities like Pusu-Namogo are blessed.

'Many women in our region and elsewhere have over the years worked so hard to put food on their tables for their families through farming and other odd jobs but end up with an unfair income leading to several deficiencies as a result of poor dieting.

'The majority of their money is spent on treating deficiency-related illnesses such as kwashiorkor, beriberi and skin rashes. With Fairtrade the women are assured of receiving a fair wage for their hard work.’

With the Fairtrade premiums they have now earned, the women have been able to provide health insurance as well as buy school uniforms for their children. Juliana is visiting the UK to speak at Fairtrade Fortnight events.


Vibrant community campaigns in more than 500 Fairtrade Towns across the country, along with thousands of schools and universities, faith groups (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu), are helping the public make a personal and local connection to Fairtrade.

Responding to that public support, major company moves to Fairtrade which have contributed to 2010 growth figures include Cadbury Dairy Milk, all Starbucks espresso-based coffee, Nestle’s four-finger KitKat, Sainsbury’s tea, coffee and sugar, Morrison’s roast and ground coffee, Tesco Finest Tea and Tate & Lyle retail sugar.

And the growth is set to continue throughout 2011 with Ben & Jerry’s still rolling out their commitment to make every ingredient they use, from sugar to nuts to cocoa, Fairtrade that can be Fairtrade in the UK by the end of 2011 and Green & Black’s conversion of their entire range of chocolate bars and beverages in the UK to 100% Fairtrade, by the end of this year.

Fresh commitments for Fairtrade Fortnight 2011 include The Co-operative’s announcement to convert all commodities that can be Fairtrade to Fairtrade by 2013, starting with bananas; Topshop’s launch of a new range of Fairtrade cotton denim; Waitrose’s conversion of the majority of Waitrose Tea to Fairtrade as well as several products in the Duchy Originals range; M&S’s introduction of a new Fairtrade cotton range as part of its Indigo Green label; and the spice and herb company Schwartz’s announcement that it is launching four new Fairtrade herbs - basil, mint, marjoram and dill – later in the year.


Meanwhile, Aldi is launching its first Fairtrade product range, including bananas, coffee, tea and chocolate; and Sainsbury’s will offer a new coffee for Comic Relief from the Democratic Republic of Congo, aimed at helping farmers in a conflict-ridden land.

The pioneering Fairtrade companies have also introduced new products including the first Fairtrade raisins from Afghanistan launched by Tropical Wholefoods to support small-scale farmers in the Parwan province. TKMaxx and Comic Relief are using Fairtrade certified cotton from Mali for this year’s Red Nose Day T-shirts, designed by Vivienne Westwood.

The Fairtrade Foundation has broken new ground too with the world’s first Fairtrade and Fairmined gold, from artisanal miners in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, in partnership with the Alliance for Responsible Mining, with 21 companies already signed up to take part in the scheme.

Against a picture of overall growth, however, some product categories have struggled in the midst of recession. In particular, Fairtrade cotton sales have declined in the past year, as ethical ranges struggle to compete with a continuing trend for cheap, fast fashion.

The Fairtrade Foundation has been particularly concerned about the restriction of market opportunities for cotton farmers in West African countries such as Mali, Senegal and Cameroon.

As well as a campaign targeting the European Commission on the issue of continued global cotton subsidies, campaigners are putting a special focus on cotton during Fairtrade Fortnight, including an attempt to break the record for the world’s longest - and fairest - string of cotton bunting and bring attention to the plight of West African cotton farmers.


The Fairtrade Foundation has also teamed up with renowned fashion designers including Marios Schwab and Holly Fulton to create Fairtrade Collective, a bespoke range of highly desirable, beautifully made scarves made from Fairtrade certified cotton for influential fashion e-tailer ASOS. A photographic exhibition of celebrities wearing Fairtrade cotton by Trevor Leighton is also now touring the country.

The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is Show Off Your Label, to encourage people to have fun as they discuss the serious values of sustainability, fairness, opportunity and empowerment that lie behind the FAIRTRADE Mark.

In schools, on high streets, in work canteens, and faith groups, Fairtrade supporters will get loud and proud in support of a fair deal for producers and the stories behind the Fairtrade products they buy.

Typically 12,000 events are held, everything from coffee breaks to debates, suppers, quizzes and fashion shows. Laugharne School in Carmarthenshire, Wales, will be celebrating its status as the 500th Fairtrade School in the UK.

The Fairtrade movement is also going viral with a two-week Facebook game launched today. Challenges include ‘Fairtrade your mum’, ‘Fairtrade Chocolate Moustache’ and ‘Make a Fairtrade Fruit Hat’, with Facebook users uploading their entries and voting for the winners in each category.

Alistair McGowan is one of many celebrities backing the campaign, launching the ‘Outrageous label waving’ challenge by replacing his tennis ball with a Fairtrade pineapple as he impersonates first John McEnroe and then Andy Murray.

The number of producer groups selling into the UK Fairtrade market increased from 496 to 560 between 2009 and 2010. Some 39% of the individuals in these groups are from Least Developed Countries.

2010 figures in more detail

1. Sales of Fairtrade chocolate confectionery have more than quadrupled in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £342 million, making chocolate the leading Fairtrade product by value in the UK.

2. Sales of Fairtrade drinking chocolate have nearly trebled to an estimated retail value of £34 million.

3. Sales of long-standing Fairtrade categories like coffee and tea are still increasing, especially in the catering sector – the volume of coffee sales has increased 16% in volume to just over 14,000 tonnes, equivalent to an estimated 6.4 million cups of Fairtrade coffee drunk every day. Sales of Fairtrade tea have increased 5% by volume in the last year, equivalent to 9.3 million cups of tea drunk every day.

4. Smaller categories of Fairtrade products are also showing growth – Fairtrade spices increased 30% over the last year, and over 1 million cosmetic products were sold.

5. Sales of some categories have had flat or declining sales – for example, fresh fruit and flowers. Fairtrade cotton fell back to just over 10 million units (eg. garments, kitchen and bedroom linen, cotton wool) in 2010


Further reading

Visit the Fairtrade Foundation website

• Read other ethical lifestyle articles


© Christian Aid
Surefish.co.uk - the Christian community website from Christian Aid

Christian Aid is a member of the