Great News For Fair Trade

IMG_4997This recession has had me pretty bummed out, with the constant bombardment of doom and gloom. Want some good news?  Worldwide fair trade sales were up 22% in 2008!  This according to a recent announcement by the Fairtrade Foundation, an independent non-profit organization based in the UK that certifies fair trade products sold in Britian.  Their report looked at global growth of fair trade sales and found the majority of increase in sales was in fair trade tea (up 112%), fair trade coffee (up 14%) and fair trade bananas (up 28%).

A number of developed nations saw fair trade sales increase by more than 50%, including Canada where fair trade grew by 67%. The US saw slower growth of just 10% but in total sales we still remain one of the largest markets for fair trade products.

Here at Bambootique I’ve seen sales so far in 2009 increase 25% over 2008’s sales, a surprising figure given the focus on low-price during this economic crisis. In order to keep paying my artisans fair and living wages I haven’t slashed my prices, haven’t had big sales, and yet customers are still coming back. My experience at Bambootique reflects the encouraging worldwide trend towards greater consumer awareness and action even during difficult times.  Artisans and farmers in the developing world need fair trade more than ever. When we feel the pinch here, they feel an unbearable squeeze as whatever economic opportunities there were dry up completely.

I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to each of you who go out of your way to shop for fair trade products, whether from me or from elsewhere. It’s during these hard times that our true priorities and beliefs shine through. Thank you for believing that you can make a difference in the lives of others, even in the small choices you make every day.

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2 Comments

  1. Patrick Dodd said,

    July 31, 2009 at 1:09 am

    It is fantastic to see fair trade sales continue to increase in spite of the current economic situation. However, the overall health of the movement isn’t so great. Unfortunately, the credit crisis has adversely affected the fair trade movement. Just like businesses in the North, fair trade businesses in the developing world need access to fair financing for such things as overcoming temporary shortfalls in cash flow or term loans for capital equipment.

    Unfortunately there are few (if any) financing options available and as a result we are starting to see seemingly vibrant fair trade businesses beginning to fail.

    Shared Interest is a co-operative lending society and world’s only 100% fair trade lender that aims to reduce poverty in the world by providing fair and just financial services. We work with fair trade businesses all over the world, both producers and buyers, providing credit to help them trade and develop. If you would like to learn how you can invest in fair trade, I would like to encourage you to visit our website or send me an email.

    • Beth said,

      July 31, 2009 at 2:32 pm

      Patrick, Thanks for weighing in and shedding light on the broader picture of how the economic crisis is affecting fair trade co-ops, especially those you serve. I wasn’t aware of your organization but am glad to know about it.

      Beth


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