3 October, 2017

Why Companies Go Fairtrade

by Helen Reimer, Fairtrade Canada

It has been so exciting to see 52 campuses get involved with the 2017 Fair Trade Campus Week! I saw the same momentum building when I was a student in the UK and know that solidarity for Fairtrade here can help build momentum for bigger changes at all levels.

In my role in Business Development, companies approach me all the time because they are interested in becoming certified as Fairtrade. Their motivations may differ but there are certainly common themes. I love that there is definitely a growing awareness of sustainability issues. Companies want to make a difference through the decisions they make on a daily basis; they care about their impact on the environment and the communities they interact with. Some have been sourcing ethically for years and recognize that the FAIRTRADE Mark helps build trust with consumers and is a third party seal of approval. Did you know that 79% of Canadians don’t trust what companies say about their quality or the merits of their products but 85% of Canadians who have seen the FAIRTRADE Mark trust it?*

Increasingly though, I am having conversations with companies who are responding to consumer demand. I’ve spoken to at least two chocolate companies who want to sell their bars to university students and see a demand for Fairtrade products on Fair Trade Campuses. Whistler Chocolate became certified this summer and were so keen to get involved with their first Fair Trade Campus Week because they saw the opportunity of engaging with new consumers who share their values. A few weeks ago I first spoke to a growing coffee chain who wants to offer Fairtrade tea and coffee because their home town is applying to become a our news space!

When we as consumers ask our favourite coffee shop or chocolate manufacturer if they have Fairtrade products we are making a difference! When we campaign for our towns, campuses or workplaces to become designated as Fair Trade we are encouraging companies to think about their sourcing decisions. We are making a real difference. I love reading about the difference I am making by my choices and my work – I hope you are encouraged too by the part you are playing in changing lives; not only during Fair Trade Campus Week, but year-round as well! 

*2016 Environics Communications CanTrust Index and 2017 Globescan Report