The main objective of Fairtrade-certified producer organizations is to sell as much of their total production under Fairtrade terms as possible. Independent research and our own experience working with producers is that sales are the best driver of economic improvement for Fairtrade farmers and workers. The more they sell, the better they are able to improve their businesses and invest in projects that can benefit local communities.
This is why a crucial part of our work is to open up and sustain markets for their products. In this endeavour, the work of our national Fairtrade organizations (NFOs) and Fairtrade Marketing Organizations (FMOs), spread across 34 countries, is fundamental. They carry out marketing campaigns to raise awareness among consumers, engage with companies and advocate to political actors in their respective countries to enable Fairtrade to continue to grow. Below we provide a brief overview of how Fairtrade has been performing globally and across different markets over the past year.
Global sales of Fairtrade products reached €7.88 billion in 2016, with steady growth across most countries where Fairtrade has an established presence with an NFO. The market that grew fastest last year was Austria, with an increase of 46 percent in Fairtrade retail sales, mostly due to the excellent reception of Fairtrade Sourcing Partnerships Programs in the country. France, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland, four mature Fairtrade markets, also experienced substantial increases in sales, all with more than 20 percent growth. South Africa has bucked the international growth trend for Fairtrade sales, in part due to the worst drought in more than 80 years, and the increase in certification costs due to a weaker rand. However, the UK alone is forecasting 20 percent growth in certified South African wines in 2017-2018 and an increased focus on South-South trade is expected to lift sales volumes in coming years.
However, not only markets with an established NFO grew last year, the rest of the world experienced an aggregate growth of 34 percent. Since further penetration in mature markets, especially Western Europe is becoming increasingly difficult, we are building strategies to consolidate our presence in North America and expand into new markets. We are focusing in particular on Asia, where we have an established presence in India, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan. In a recent trip to the region, our Global CEO, Darío Soto-Abril, met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ying-Wen who stated the commitment of her government to help promote Fair Trade in the country, encouraging more enterprises to invest in Fairtrade and raising awareness among consumers.
Click on the pins below to view estimated Fairtrade retail sales by country, and to find out more about the organizations promoting Fairtrade around the world.