Despite the economic difficulties, UK consumers are not willing to compromise quality and remain conscious of what they are spending their money on. This is evident from the latest figures released by the UK Fairtrade Foundation, which point to a 12% increase in the sales of Fairtrade products last year.
Although this is slower than the 40% growth registered in 2010, what is significant is that the sector is expanding anyway, as it demonstrates an on-going tendency for what experts call “responsible capitalism”.
The Fairtrade Foundation aims to ensure that workers from developing countries that produce products imported by more advanced countries, such as cocoa, coffee, bananas and cotton, are treated fairly and are given adequate wages for their work.
Growth in the sector is mostly driven by sales of cocoa products, like Fairtrade chocolate bars, and sugar, which rose by 34% and 21% respectively. The sales of Fairtrade bagged sugar have now reached 42% of the total bagged sugar market, thanks to Morrison’s initiative to replace all the sugar it sells with ethical brands. In addition, Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative own brand sugars are also Fairtrade, which brings the Fairtrade Foundation closer to its target to account for 50% of the sugar sold in the UK.
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, thinks that Fairtrade is the best way to ensure that workers, farmers and smallholders from the lowest levels of business are treated fairly, which would ultimately ensure supply of goods in the long run.