«Facts and Figures on the Fair Trade sector in 18 European countries A survey prepared by Jean-Marie Krier on behalf of EFTA – European Fair Trade ...»
Facts and Figures
on the Fair Trade sector
in 18 European countries
A survey prepared
by Jean-Marie Krier
on behalf of
EFTA – European Fair Trade Association
This survey is published by the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA), a
network of twelve Fair Trade importing organisations in nine European
countries. It is published as part of “Promotion of the Principle and Practice of
Fairer International Trade and Production between Europe and the South”, a project co-financed by the European Commission, Directorate General for Development.
For information and copyright:
EFTA Secretariat Att. Marlike Kocken Boschstraat 45 NL 6211 JB Maastricht The Netherlands Tel: (+31) 43 3256917 Fax: (+31) 43 3258433 E-mail: Efta@antenna.nl EFTA Campaigns and Advocacy Office C/o Maison Internationale 139, rue Haute B 1000 Brussels Belgium Tel: (+32) 2 2131246 / 47 / 48 Fax: (+32) 2 2131251 E-mail: Efta@eftadvocacy.org
Author of the survey:
Jean-Marie Krier Waldburgergasse 19 / 7 A 5026 Salzburg Austria Tel / Fax: (+43) 662 628605 E-mail: email@example.com Reproduction of parts of the text is permitted, provided that EFTA is cited as the source.
© EFTA, January 2001
OVERVIEW OF FAIR TRADE AND THIS SURVEY
1. Introduction.…. 5
2. What is Fair Trade?.…. 5
2.1 Definition and aims of Fair Trade.…. 5
2.2 Fair Trade organisations.…. 6
2.3 Fair Trade related organisations.…. 7
3. Methodological remarks.…. 8
3.1 Scope of the survey.…. 8
3.2 Gathering and processing the data ….. 8
3.3 A word of caution.…. 9
4. Fair Trade in Europe.…. 10
4.1 Cooperation in Europe.…. 10
4.2 Fair Trade from a European perspective ….. 11
4.3 The Structure of Fair Trade in Europe.…. 12
4.4 The Market for Fair Trade in Europe.…. 13
4.5 Overview : Fair Trade in Europe ….. 16
REVIEW OF FAIR TRADE BY COUNTRYAustria.…. 18 Belgium.…. 20 Denmark.…. 23 Finland.…. 25 France.…. 27 Germany.…. 30 Greece
This survey was commissioned by EFTA, the European Fair Trade Association, a network of twelve Fair Trade importing organisations in nine European countries. Its objective is to provide a comprehensive up-to-date picture of Fair Trade activities in Europe.
This survey covers 18 countries, (compared with 14 countries in 1995 and 16 in 1998). Countries included are all 15 EU member countries, plus Malta, Norway and Switzerland.
Portugal and Malta appear for the first time.
2.1 Definition and aims of Fair Trade Fair Trade aims to alleviate poverty in the South by providing disadvantaged producers in Africa, Asia and Latin America with fair opportunities to access Northern markets. It aims to build sustainable direct relationships between these producers in the South and consumers in the rich parts of the world.
Over the past forty years, Fair Trade in Europe has grown away from its grassroots origins to its current high level of European cooperation and integration. Because Fair Trade began as a decentralized movement, it is inevitable that there are a variety of definitions of Fair Trade.
The following definition was adopted in April 1999 by FINE, an informal umbrella group of the four main international Fair Trade networks (see below 4.1).
Definition of Fair Trade:
Fair Trade is an alternative approach to conventional international trade. It is a trading partnership which aims for sustainable development of excluded and disadvantaged producers. It seeks to do this by providing better trading conditions, by awareness raising and by campaigning.
The goals of Fair Trade are:
1. To improve the livelihoods and well being of producers by improving market access, strengthening producer organisations, paying a better price and providing continuity in the trading relationship.
2. To promote development opportunities for disadvantaged producers, especially women and indigenous people, and to protect children from exploitation in the production process.
3. To raise awareness among consumers of the negative effects on producers of international trade so that they can exercise their purchasing power positively
4. To set an example of partnership in trade through dialogue, transparency and respect.
5. To campaign for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.
FINE, April 1999 This definition emphasises that Fair Trade is not just about trade, but also about development both at the producer and the consumer end of international trade.
2.2 Fair Trade organisations There are four types of Fair Trade organisations, which assume different roles along the trading chain leading from producers in the South to consumers in the North.
Producer organisations cultivate or produce a wide variety of marketable products (food products like coffee, cocoa, tea, spices, etc. as well as a wide variety of handicrafts including basketry, glassware, jewellery, musical instruments, etc.) and export them to the market countries. The producers are at the very heart of Fair Trade.
Fair Trade importing organisations buy products from producer organisations, paying them a “fair” price, i.e. one that enables them to live adequate lives. In their respective home countries the importing organisations act as wholesalers or retailers, (or sometimes as a combination of both).
Importing organisations assist their producer partners in many different ways, giving them advice on product development, helping with skill and management training or offering additional support in difficult economic and social situations.
In their home markets they sell most of the products through specialised shops (called “world shops”) and local groups or representatives. Many of them also use other sales channels such as commercial stores, organic or wholefood shops, gift shops, supermarkets, and mail order catalogues. Some are active in the catering market.
They initiate or participate in campaigns aimed at raising consumer awareness of North-South issues. They promote Fair Trade as an alternative to the unfair practices of international trade and lobby for change at a political level. For this lobbying activity they link up with a wide variety of organisations working in related fields - development NGOs, aid agencies, education centres, etc.
World Shops are specialist shops for Fair Trade products. They sell the products to their customers and provide a variety of information and education oriented activities. They invite their customers to join campaigns on North-South issues and to lobby their local and/or national decision-makers.
They are mostly run by locally based associations of dedicated people. Although they generally organise their activities in a business-like way, the world shops take pride in being ‘not-for-profit’ organisations. In most world shops, volunteers do much of the work.
Fair Trade labelling initiatives These are the newest arrivals on the Fair Trade scene, the first having been established in 1988. Their aim is to expand the market for fairly traded products by bringing them into mainstream sales outlets such as supermarkets.
The labelling organisations offer potential commercial importers three things:
1. a register of monitored producer groups
2. a set of criteria as to how to do Fair Trade business
3. a label that clearly distinguishes fairly traded products from other ones.
They are generally broad coalitions of concerned organisations (developmental or environmental NGOs, church organisations, unions, etc.) who commit themselves to actively promote the label, and thus to generate enough consumer demand to bring labelled products onto supermarket shelves and keep them there.
2.3 Fair Trade related organisations This growing group is made up of a variety of organisations, which have links
with Fair Trade. It includes, among others:
• Organisations which aim to help producers to meet European market requirements through such things as product development, skills training, consultancy services, etc. They may be part of a traditional Fair Trade organisation (like Fair Trade Assistance for Fair Trade Organisatie in the Netherlands) or be a completely separate entity (like Fair Trade e.V. for gepa in Germany).
• Financial organisations like Shared Interest (through which money from ethical investors is channelled to Fair Trade organisations in the North and the South at better-than-market rates) or Oikocredit (formerly: EDCS, the Ecumenical Development Co-operative Society) which lends European church money in the form of credits to producer organisations in Southern countries
• NGOs, directing some of their awareness-raising activities towards responsible consumerism or a fairer exchange between North and South.
Many of these organisations are so close to Fair Trade that they have chosen to become members of IFAT, the International Federation of Alternative Trade.
As a complete listing is beyond the scope of this brochure, reference is made to the forthcoming Fair Trade Yearbook 2001-2003, due to be published by the European Fair Trade Association in Spring 2001, where more links to Fair Trade related organisations may be found.
The objective of the survey is to provide an overview of the extent and the impact of the Fair Trade movement in Europe including the effects of Fair Trade labelling initiatives on the European mainstream market.
This report concentrates on two categories of products:
§ Goods imported and sold by traditional Fair Trade organisations (mainly importing organisations and world shops) according to Fair Trade criteria, sourced mainly from small-scale producers.
§ Goods imported and sold commercially with a Fair Trade label, indicating that the conditions of trade for these products have been approved by an independent organisation as meeting their criteria and standards.
The research does not include wholesalers and retailers whose claim to trade fairly cannot be substantiated through a guarantee or independent monitoring.
3.2 Gathering and processing the data The organisations were identified and contacted via the membership lists of the four international European Fair Trade networks (see below 4.1), namely FLO International, IFAT, NEWS! and EFTA A separate questionnaire was then developed for each of the four different
types of organisations:
The questionnaires were sent to a total of 76 organisations in July 2000.
After several rounds of e-mail, fax, and telephone reminders, 59 questionnaires were returned (78%). The first questionnaire was returned two days after being sent (alternativa 3 from Spain). The last took more than three months to arrive!
Organisations, which returned the questionnaire, are marked with a letter (Q) in Annex 1. The returned questionnaires represent 32 importing organisations, 10 world shop associations, 14 label organisations and 3 international networks.
Information from the questionnaires was used to write the first draft of the different chapters, which were then revised against other available background information, (books and brochures, annual reports, product leaflets, etc.) The Internet was also a valuable source of information, since most of the organisations run extensive websites (see Annex 2 for the website address
Towards the end of the process, telephone interviews were conducted with key people in the different organisations to eliminate ambiguities and to fill any remaining gaps in the information.
A first draft was then submitted for comments to the EFTA Campaigns and Advocacy Office in Brussels and redrafted in line with these comments.
Warmest thanks are due to everyone who contributed to the compilation of data for this survey.
As a result of the limited manpower available to many of the Fair Trade organisations which are the subjects of the survey, is not always easy to acquire up-to-date, precise, accurate, and comparative figures within the sector. There is, therefore, much scope for guesswork, and it is important that the resulting estimates should not be mistaken for facts. This is particularly true for some of the world shops associations, although the situation differs greatly from one country to another.
Another source of uncertainty is that definitions and categories are not always used very consistently (for more details see also Annex 4).
Bearing these factors in mind, we have done our best to ensure that the figures are as accurate as possible. In cases of doubt figures have been double-checked, and when figures from different sources varied a lot, the lower of the figures was always used (to obtain robust minimum estimates).
A shortage of detailed data makes it difficult to compile precise aggregate Fair Trade turnover figures. Consequently, multiple counting of the same product cannot always be recognized and taken adequately into account. Multiple accounting occurs, for example, when national figures for the turnover of a product might include both wholesaler and retailer figures. It also happens when sales figures of different importers are summed, if they happen to sell to each other within their country or internationally. A degree of caution is therefore necessary, when it comes to evaluating aggregate turnover figures.
Basic facts and figures are presented in a table in each of the country chapters. A condensed overview of this information is presented below in paragraph 4.4, and a more detailed summary table is available as Annex 3.