Fairtrade UK hits 30 and continues to make its mark

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Fairtrade cocoa farmers in Cote d'Ivoire. Pic: Dario Abril, Fairtrade International
Fairtrade cocoa farmers in Cote d'Ivoire. Pic: Dario Abril, Fairtrade International

Related tags Fairtrade Cocoa Sustainability

Fairtrade is marking its 30th anniversary with a series of innovative events and campaigns throughout the year. 

It has been three decades since Fairtrade-certified products first appeared on supermarket shelves across the UK. The first, Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, was launched in 1994, followed by Cafédirect, Percol coffees, and Clipper tea.  

There are now more than 6,000 Fairtrade products in the UK alone, and the number is growing constantly. 

Globally, millions of farmers and workers in 70 countries are part of 1,930 Fairtrade certified producer organisations, benefitting from stable prices, community facilities such as education, healthcare and clean water which Fairtrade has funded, access to training and a platform for their voices to be heard. 

Cocoa farmers

Campaigns such as She Deserves A Living Income was launched in 2019 as part of an awareness-raising drive to highlight poverty among cocoa farmers in West Africa who supply our chocolate.

As part of the push for living incomes by 2030, in line with the UN Global Goals to end poverty, the campaign focused on shoppers, supporters, and lobbying the UK Government.

Sadick Abanga, a Fairtrade cocoa farmer from Ghana, said: “We have officers to give us training and education, bonuses from the Premium. Whether you are male or female, you have a voice.”   

Big brands and retailers such as Ben & Jerry’s, Tony’s Chocolonely, Mars, Sainsbury’s, and Lidl have all committed to investing in raising farmers' incomes.

Fairtrade terms

Fairtrade Foundation CEO Mike Gidney says, “We are incredibly excited to be able to mark this very important milestone. Fairtrade is all about building a fairer future for people in low-income countries who grow and make the things we rely on every day: our food and our clothes.  

“Thirty years on, we estimate that 10m people across Africa, Latin America, and Asia benefit from being able to sell their products on Fairtrade terms.

“That’s an amazing achievement, and it is thanks to companies' increasing dedication to changing the way they trade, driven by huge, unstinting support from the British public.”

In 2022 alone, sales of Fairtrade products in the UK generated approximately £30m in Fairtrade Premium for farmers and workers to invest in business and community projects of their choice, including healthcare, education, and environmental initiatives - more critical than ever given the global cost of living crisis.

“Of course, there is still so much to be done.  Our world is perhaps more dangerous now than 30 years ago: the climate crisis, global insecurity, rising costs, and long-term low pricing continue to threaten farmers’ futures.  That matters to us all,” said Gidney.

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