Irish consumer spend on Fairtrade products increases

Irish consumers’ expenditure on Fairtrade products jumped to €272m in 2016, an increase of 9% compared to the previous year.

The ongoing recovery in the Irish economy is having a positive impact on the number, range and sales of Fairtrade products, according to Fairtrade Ireland.

The Fairtrade ethos “ensures” that producers receive a fair and stable price for their products.

Ireland’s largest coffee company, Bewley’s, is set to move all of its own-label coffee to Fairtrade by the end of 2017.

An increasing number of smaller coffee companies are getting involved as well, Fairtrade Ireland said.

Bewley’s conversion to 100% Fairtrade will set a new benchmark for companies in Ireland, Peter Gaynor, Executive Director with Fairtrade Ireland, said.

This sets the new benchmark for companies. If the largest coffee company in Ireland can source all of its Bewley’s branded coffee on Fairtrade terms, then obviously so can everybody else.

Gaynor believes that companies have outsourced their responsibilities for too long to the consumer, by asking them to seek out Fairtrade products.

Companies have to take more responsibility themselves for what goes on in their value chain and make their own decisions, he said.

It is estimated that sales of Fairtrade products globally reached €7.3 billion in 2015 and that these sales generated extra benefits worth about €138m for farmers and workers.

Fairtrade Ireland was established in 1992 to promote justice in trade between Irish consumers and producers and workers in developing countries.

This week also marks the start of ‘Fairtrade Fortnight 2017’, which is set to run until March 12.

As part of the campaign, consumers have been asked to host Fairtrade breakfasts in their community, in order to highlight the challenges facing farmers and workers in developing countries.

Fairtrade Ireland hopes these events will help to link local communities with Fairtrade farmers around the world.