The Fairtrade movement is celebrating after hitting two major milestones in recent months.
In November, Fairtrade International celebrated 25 years of the first type of ‘fair trade’ between a developing and developed country. A handful of Dutch pioneers launched a fair trade label, Max Havelaar, which sold coffee from Mexico in supermarkets across Netherlands.
Following this, a number of similar initiatives took place across Asia, Europe and North America under various brands, including Transfair and the Fairtrade Mark in the UK.
The UK’s Fairtrade Mark celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Fairtrade Foundation was established in 1992 by a variety of NGOs including CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Traidcraft.
Two years later, the Fairtrade Mark was launched – with assistance from today’s secretary general of Co-operatives UK, Ed Mayo – on Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate. This was followed by Cafédirect coffee and Clipper tea.
Throughout 2014, the Fairtrade Foundation will be hosting events to mark the anniversary, assessing the achievements to date and the opportunities and challenges ahead. This work leads up to a major multi-stakeholder conference in London this autumn.
In the UK, Fairtrade has grown to 4,500 products and awareness has risen from 25% in 2003 to 78% in 2013.
Barbara Crowther, director of policy and public affairs at the foundation, said: “When the first products with the Fairtrade Mark appeared 20 years ago, industry commentators predicted a temporary fad that wouldn’t last or become mainstream. Today, Fairtrade is part of the fabric of British society and the leading ethical label in the UK and the world.
“We are proud it is also the only ethical certification that is co-owned by producers in developing countries. With that comes even more responsibility to drive even greater impact for small-scale farmers and workers, and our 20th anniversary is a time to recommit to greater transformative change for the future.”
FIND OUT MORE: View the full Fairtrade collection