The Fairtrade Foundation has published its 30th Anniversary Report, celebrating decades of transformative impact in ensuring that fair prices are paid to producers and farmers in developing countries.

The report also issues a call to action for businesses, campaigners, and whichever party or parties forms the next UK government, following the general election, to address extreme climate challenges and promote fair trade practices.

Continuing commitments from businesses have played a crucial role in helping farmers to invest premium funds into various projects, ranging from climate mitigation and healthcare to enhancing community welfare and farming productivity.

Working alongside farmers, workers, businesses, and consumers, Fairtrade supports more than 2 million Fairtrade producers to achieve better prices for their produce, meaning that, when you include family members and dependents, an estimated 10 million people benefit from sales of Fairtrade terms. 

The report has examples of how livelihoods have been strengthened and lives transformed across the world since Fairtrade’s existence.

However, the world is far more insecure than it was in the mid-1990s. Climate change, global conflicts, and the pandemic have heightened threats to farmers’ livelihoods whilst simultaneously exposing the fragility of our shared food system.

The report notes that the UK is food insecure, importing almost half its food and approximately 16% from countries which are exposed to climate change and lack the capacity to adapt and respond. Environmental shocks in one part of the world can lead to empty shelves and food price inflation in our supermarkets, exacerbating the cost of living.

Extreme poverty and inequality in global agricultural communities, is made worse by the ongoing climate crisis and unfair trade prices. The vulnerability of farmers is also exacerbated by conflict in some parts of the world. There is an urgent need for immediate change, for the sake of producers’ livelihoods and for the availability and affordability of supermarket staples.

The report highlights Fairtrade’s work to promote living incomes and wages to ensure that farmers and workers can cover essential living costs for themselves and their families.

Farmers have adopted sustainable agricultural practices that have mitigated the impact of climate change on their crops and yields.

The report underscores Fairtrade's advocacy for trade policy reform, effective regulation, and legislative action to address issues like deforestation. Initiatives such as pre-competitive collaboration through Fairtrade's Shared ImPACT have set the stage for wider sectoral shifts and market changes.

Fairtrade acknowledges the group efforts that have driven awareness, changed attitudes, and built a global movement for fair trade. Now Fairtrade calls for continuous engagement and activism in addressing complex challenges like climate change and trade injustice.

In its urgent call to action, the Fairtrade Foundation extends its gratitude to advocates, campaigners, businesses, and the UK government for their contributions over 30 years and urges further action for:

  • Businesses: To increase Fairtrade sourcing commitments, work together on innovative approaches to sourcing that will support sustainability.
  • The next UK Government: Following the general election, to deliver a trade strategy that helps to meet development and climate objectives and take forward laws that address deforestation and human rights violations in supply chains, while supporting the needs of farmers.
  • Supporters and campaigners: To hold businesses and governments accountable and encourage more people to choose Fairtrade products in their supermarkets.

“Fairtrade is driven by a vision of a world where trade benefits both people and the planet," says Mike Gidney, Fairtrade Foundation CEO "At the heart of Fairtrade's ethos is a commitment to addressing the root causes of poverty and exploitation. By ensuring producers receive a fair price for their goods, Fairtrade enables them to invest in their families, communities, and futures. This investment is particularly crucial in the face of climate change, which poses additional challenges to agricultural livelihoods."

“Equally important is Fairtrade's emphasis on equitable governance and representation. Producers are co-owners of the Fairtrade movement, ensuring their voices are heard at every level of decision-making. This sharing of power fosters a more resilient and inclusive supply chain, where dialogue and collaboration drive meaningful change.

“Looking ahead, we need to recognize the need for greater collaboration and urgency in addressing today's complex challenges. By continuing to prioritize fair prices and equitable governance, we can build a future where trade truly works for everyone," finishes Gidney.

Fairtrade Foundation urges all stakeholders to join hands in shaping a more sustainable and equitable world now and for future generations.

Related: Fairtrade celebrates 30th anniversary