Fairtrade Global Awards honour ethical practices, from climate crisis to living wage

Winners include the UK’s Co-op Group, honoured for its climate work, while Switzerland’s Coop Genossenschaft was runner up as partner of the year

The winners of the 2023 Fairtrade Global Awards have been announced during a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, with eight categories celebrating excellence in ethical and sustainable trade practices, from climate action to living wages and income.

Hosted by Fairtrade Africa, the awards “provide a platform to acknowledge those who are actively reshaping our global trade landscape,” said Assata Doumbia, president of Fairtrade-certified ECAM cocoa co-op in Côte d’Ivoire, who sits on the judging panel. “It is truly inspiring to see how these nominees have harnessed the principles of fairness and sustainability to make a tangible difference in the lives of farmers and workers.”

Related: Fairtrade International announces measures to increase banana plantation wages

Fairtrade says the judging panel was drawn from a group of experts and leaders with a commitment to ethical trade practices and sustainability, who brought a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion to the evaluation process.

The winners and runners-up are:

  • Fairtrade Climate Leader Award – winner: The Co-op Group, UK; runner up: HPW Fresh and Dry Limited, Ghana
  • Fairtrade Innovation Award – winner: Equifruit, USA; runner up: Nestle Nespresso SA, Switzerland
  • Fairtrade Living Income Leader Award – winner: Fairtrade Original, Netherlands; runner up: DRWakefield, UK & Netherlands
  • Fairtrade Living Wage Leader Award – winner: German Retailers Working Group on Living Income and Living Wages; runner up: Journeys End Brands (Pty) Ltd, South Africa
  • Fairtrade Africa Award – winner: Ivoirienne de Noix de Cajou SA, Côte d’Ivoire (under the group brand Cashew Coast); runner up: Omniflora Blumencenter GmbH, Germany
  • Fairtrade Asia and Pacific Award – winner: Nature Pearls Private Limited, India; runner up: Ceylbee International (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka
  • Fairtrade Latin America and Caribbean Award – winner: Green and Blacks (Mondelez International), UK; runner up: Delica AG, Switzerland
  • Fairtrade Partner of the Year – winner: Ben and Jerry’s, USA; runner up: Coop Genossenschaft, Switzerland

The Co-op Group won Climate Leader after investing over half a million pounds to help farmers in its supply chain in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Dominican Republic and Colombia to better mitigate against the impact of the climate crisis. Judges honoured its work to “innovate and generate impact to tackle the climate crisis”.

The investment from the retailer and its partner suppliers will help implement climate-smart farming techniques designed to strengthen and mitigate against climate shocks, crop diseases, the rising cost of living, food insecurity and natural disasters well as promote sustainable production and diversification. 

Guy Stuart, director of technical, agriculture and sustainability at the Group, said: “The climate emergency is as a humanitarian crisis as much as an environmental one. That’s why we put people at the heart of our plan, pledging to support producers on the front line of the climate crisis. 

“Now more than ever, the challenges that are facing farmers are stark and we need co-operation at the heart of our collective responses to equip producers with the tools to sustain themselves and their communities for long-term food security. That’s why we continue to invest to support the climate adaptation and resilience of producers who are unproportionally impacted and we’re pioneering farmer-centric climate adaptation programmes with Fairtrade.

“We’re proud to have been awarded the Climate Leader award in the first ever Fairtrade Global Awards.” 

Fairtrade Partner of the Year is a new category, which “recognises excellence and strong commitments by companies which go above and beyond their Fairtrade certification engagement”.

Collaboration is the key, says Fairtrade, with the award recognising existing commitments, strong two-way relationships with producer groups and a willingness to innovate and test new approaches in collaboration with Fairtrade.

“Businesses have the potential to be remarkable agents of positive change,” said Sandra Uwera, global CEO of Fairtrade International. “At Fairtrade International, we’ve seen countless examples of companies going the extra mile to make a sustainable impact. With great pride, we announce the launch of new award categories, recognising those businesses that are leading the way. Let us use their stories as a source of inspiration, a testament to what’s possible, and a call to action for others to follow suit in the pursuit of a more sustainable world.”