The study showed that Fair-trade is the most widely recognized ethical label globally. Nearly six in ten consumers (57%) across the 24 surveyed countries have seen the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark. Recognition has increased by six points to 65 percent in the 15 main tracking countries since the study was first conducted in 2008. More than 80 percent of consumers recognize the Mark in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria and Finland.
This visibility together with a high level of trust enables consumers to have confidence in the choices they make: more than six in ten consumers (64%) globally say they trust the FAIR-TRADE Mark. The more familiar people are with Fair-trade, the more they trust it. Nine in ten consumers who recognize the FAIR-TRADE Certification Mark regard it as a trusted label.
When asked if a branded product that they normally buy began carrying the FAIR-TRADE Mark, eight in ten consumers (79%) say it would have a positive impact on their impression of the brand. Half of consumers (48% – asked in five countries) say they are more likely to buy specific brands carrying the FAIR-TRADE Mark.
Six out of ten consumers (59%) feel empowered to make a difference through their shopping choices. But they also have high expectations of companies in combating poverty 79 percent worldwide say companies can play an important role in reducing poverty through the way they do business. Consumers’ top concerns are fair pay for farmers and workers and product safety: a full 85 percent of consumers say these issues are important for companies and their suppliers in their dealings with poor countries.
At the same time, consumers connect Fair-trade with a consistent message of clear benefits to farmers and workers. Sixty-four percent of those familiar with the FAIRTRADE Mark associate it with helping farmers and workers in poor countries escape poverty. Sixty-one percent who are familiar associate Fair-trade with “a fair price paid to producers” and “helping producers in poor countries access global markets”.
Consumers’ confidence in Fair-trade is translated into their purchases – shoppers spent €4.36 billion on Fair-trade products in 2010, up by 28 percent. Consumers tripled their Fair-trade purchases in Czech Republic (386%), South Africa (315%) and Australia and New Zealand (258%). Shoppers bought an impressive 47 percent more in Fairtrade’s largest market, the United Kingdom (UK).
“This survey proves consumers do care about the people and the communities at the other end of the supply chain,” says Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fair-trade International. “They want to be sure that their everyday purchases reflect their values and they expect companies to reflect this need. We are taking up the challenge to grow Fair-trade still further so that even more farmers and workers can have better opportunities and more consumers can make the choices they believe in.”
The study of more than 17,000 consumers was carried out in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and the USA.
In more general terms, the study confirmed that consumers across the world believe independent, third-party certification is the best way to verify a product’s social and environmental claims. More than seven
in ten consumers (72%) and a majority in the 24 countries surveyed support independent, third-party certification of products, defined as certification of product claims by an independent third-party organization. Italians (89%), Irish (84%), and South Africans (82%) express the highest support for third-party certification.
“Consumers clearly want business to back up social and environmental claims through independent certification. Fairtrade’s ever-increasing recognition power and unique trust levels provide a strong vehicle for individuals to make this point through their day-to-day purchases,” says Caroline Holme, Research Director at GlobeScan.