by Kyle Freund, Media Manager, Fairtrade America
Global sales of Fairtrade products rose by 8 percent to nearly $9.2 billion in 2017, generating Fairtrade Premiums of more than $193 million for farmers’ and workers’ organizations. The US now ranks as the third largest market for Fairtrade goods behind the United Kingdom and Germany. Retail sales in the US topped $1 billion.
In 2017, Fairtrade worked with more than 1.6 million farmers and workers across 75 countries. More than 30,000 different products with the Fairtrade certified label are now available in 150 countries worldwide. In the US, volumes of key Fairtrade products grew significantly. Cocoa increased by 33 percent. Bananas and avocados notched 51 percent and 58 percent growth, respectively. Fairtrade coffee farmers benefited from a 24.5 percent sales increase.
The 2017-2018 report showcases Fairtrade’s work to share the benefits of trade more equally, including strategies to achieve living incomes and fairer wages, strengthen the position of women and young people, support communities to mitigate the effects of climate change, and work with partners to achieve the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.
Beyond selling their goods on fairer terms, farmer and worker organizations have received an estimated $193 million in Fairtrade Premium funds to invest in projects of their choice – a 19 percent increase from the previous year. Farmers and workers elected to invest most of the funds in infrastructure and capacity building, bonuses for farmers and workers, and community development.
The release of Fairtrade’s annual report comes at a difficult time for farmers around the world. The market price for coffee has dipped below $1 per pound for the first time in 12 years (the Fairtrade Minimum Price is $1.40). Prices in cocoa also continue to be highly volatile, making it difficult for farmers to plan for their future and provide for their families.
“Fairtrade’s strong growth is a good sign for farmers and workers, but current market conditions demonstrate that much more needs to be done to truly improve livelihoods,” said Stefanie Kruglik, Impact and Innovation Manager at Fairtrade America, the US-member of the Fairtrade International system.
“Fairtrade is one tool to help farmers and workers achieve a dignified income, but poverty is a complex problem. That’s why Fairtrade works closely with governments, civil society, businesses, farmers, workers and consumers to make trade work for people.”
Read more about our work in Fairtrade International’s Annual Report here (PDF)