Ben & Jerry’s support Fairtrade because it is a worldwide movement working to ensure that small-scale farmers in developing nations can make it in the ultra-competitive global marketplace.
One of Ben & Jerry’s founding principles is what they call “linked prosperity”, the idea that those who are successful should work to improve the world around them. Fairtrade puts this idea into action. All farmers in the Fairtrade system agree to use environmentally friendly farming practices, implement fair labor standards and invest in their communities. The Fairtrade Premium, an additional amount of money paid on top of the fair price that farmers receive, helps make those investments happen. Ben & Jerry’s source Fairtrade-certified ingredients, and in 2017, paid $3.4m in Fairtrade Premium to small-scale farmers around the world.
Fairtrade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of Fairtrade goes to the heart of our values and the sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.
Ben & Jerry’s source Fairtrade sugar from a variety of small-scale farmers, including those in the Belize Sugar Farmers’ Association. In Belize, up to 85% of the population in some rural parts depend on the sugar industry, making Fairtrade Premium investment projects so important. For example, newly implemented alternative pest management practices helped save the Association’s sugar crop, while drastically reducing the need for harmful pesticides.
Ben & Jerry’s source from cocoa growers in Côte d’Ivoire, which produces about 40% of the world’s cocoa. One co-op invested their Fairtrade Premium to build a new medical clinic, hire a nurse, install solar panels and purchase a water pump. In Ghana, another source of Fairtrade cocoa, farmers have invested in rural schools and scholarships for children.
Though most of the world’s vanilla is grown in Madagascar, many farmers there are struggling to make a living. When farms fail, communities often follow. Sustainable Fairtrade prices help end this cycle. One cooperative in Madagascar put their Fairtrade Premium to use rehabilitating a health center, repairing a school and building an office.