Blog: Dean BestWhere is Fairtrade headed?

Dean Best | 22 February 2010

These are fascinating times for Fairtrade.

The ethical mark, designed to help consumers help those in the developing world, has brushed off the recession, with cash-strapped shoppers happy to pay the Fairtrade premium to give farmers what is deemed to be a 'fair price'.

Amid this growing consumer awareness, particularly in the UK, big brand-owners have upped their investment in Fairtrade. Cadbury, Nestle and - last week - Unilever have switched brands like Dairy Milk, KitKat and Ben & Jerry's to Fairtrade.

In the run-up to Fairtrade Fortnight, a two-week period of events to promote Fairtrade in the UK that starts today (22 February), retailers like Sainsbury's and The Co-operative Group have been falling over themselves to push their Fairtrade credentials.

Such moves have been broadly welcomed by the Fairtrade movement but have caused some to question where the ethical mark is headed - and created more competition for the likes of Divine Chocolate, businesses that pioneered Fairtrade over a decade ago.

Our interview with Harriet Lamb, executive director of The Fairtrade Foundation, the charity that oversees the relationships between farmers and manufacturers, discusses these issues and the kind of future that could lay ahead for Fairtrade.


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