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Global FT Sales Grow 22% in 2008

Despite the global recession, worldwide sales of Fair Trade Certified products grew by an impressive 22% in 2008 as consumers spent an estimated $4 billion on Fair Trade products globally.  In the U.S., sales grew 10% to $1.06 billion, and in Canada, sales grew 67% to $180 million.  The UK, after growth of 43%, has surpassed the U.S. for most FT sales by country, at $1.23 billion.

The main product areas of Fairtrade growth were in the following product categories:  1. Global sales have doubled for Fair Trade tea (112%) and for Fair Trade cotton products (94%);  2. As the products with the highest sales volumes, Fairtrade coffee sales increased 14% to 66,000 metric tons (MT) and the market for Fair Trade bananas grew by 28% to 300,000 MT.

    Fair Trade sales grew by at least 50% in seven countries, including Australia and New Zealand (72%), Canada (67%), Finland (57%), Germany (50%), Norway (73%), and Sweden (75%). The largest markets for Fair Trade products continued to experience strong growth, as sales of Fair Trade certified products increased by 43% in the United Kingdom and 10% in the United States.  Fair Trade products also gained popularity in a number of new markets, including in Eastern Europe, Eastern Asia, and South Africa.

    As of the end of 2008, there were 746 Fair Trade Certified producer organizations representing over one million and a half individual farmers and workers. There are at least another 70,000 members of affiliated organizations that belong to Fair Trade certified producer groups that also benefit from Fair Trade, which include women’s groups and other groups not directly involved in the production of Fair Trade products, like cattle herders.

    Source:  Fairtrade Foundation, UK, Press Release


    1. Fairtrade continues to do really well and is doing a great job of helping people trade their way out of poverty. But, the current economic crisis (e.g. credit crunch) is really affecting the movement going forward. The biggest problem is that producers in the developing world dont have access to finance that they need to grow their businesses or to help them overcome temporary short falls in cash flow.

      If you’d like to learn more about this, please feel free to drop me an email or visit our website.

    2. Michael Shipe

      Thanks for the research! This kind of growth is very impressive. We have a long way to go, but it is great knowing the snow ball continues to roll.

    3. Sharon Miller

      What percentage of the purchase price of a Fairwinds article goes directly to the maker or farmer in Rwanda? That is not written on the item tags in your coffee shops. You may find more people purchasing these items when more information is provided.

    4. Andrei Guitchounts

      Please, indicate how much fair trade cotton was traded in absolute figures, in tons. You indicate just the growth, rate for cotton, but what is the quantity like you report on coffee and bananas.

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