The Fairtrade Foundation has launched its annual Fairtrade Fortnight with news that sales continue to outperform overall commercial trends with double digit growth in 2011, which looks set to grow further in 2012.
Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2011 reached £1.32bn, a 12 per cent increase on sales of £1.17bn in 2010. This covers everything from Fairtrade cotton sold by the likes of Debenhams, People Tree, Tesco, ASOS, Monsoon, Topshop and Marks & Spencer, to Fairtrade gold, which was worn by Livia Firth at this year’s Oscars to more than 4,500 products that have been licensed to carry the Fairtrade Mark in the UK including items such as cocoa, sugar, bananas, tea and coffee.
This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight kick-starts a year-long campaign, ‘Take A Step for Fairtrade’, calling on the public to take 1.5 million steps for Fairtrade – one for every farmer and worker the Fairtrade system hopes to work with – by the end of 2012.
Retailers marking Fairtrade Fortnight include: Topman who have launched a range consisting of two t-shirts and two vests, each printed with Aztec inspired designs and the ‘Take a Step’ slogan from this year’s campaign; Tesco will be selling exclusive Fairtrade cotton t-shirts designed by model and TV presenter Lisa Butcher; and ethical fashion specialists People Tree and Ethletic, which sells Fairtrade trainers, will be offering promotions during the period.
Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Fairtrade is an example of responsible capitalism in action. We believe that responsible businesses are those who don’t just tackle the company bonuses at the top – but take steps to ensure a fairer deal for the workers and farmers at the bottom of the supply chain too.”
She continued: “The commercial reality is that forward-thinking companies are showing leadership in committing to Fairtrade, realising that, as well as it being the right thing to do, they need to invest in smallholders, developing better, longer-term relationships.”
Fairtrade Fortnight runs until March 11.