Published 2 years ago.
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Consumer insights demonstrate need for brands to make good on their sustainability and human rights claims, and make it even easier for shoppers to shop their values.
Research continues to reinforce that consumers are looking to make positive
impacts in ways big and small at checkout. More than half of respondents in the
Fairtrade Consumer Insights
report (conducted by GlobeScan) confirmed that many have changed their purchasing
choices within the past year to make a difference on economic, social,
environmental or political issues — indicating people increasingly see their
everyday shopping as an important way to make a difference.
As we look to the year ahead, we see five consumer trends that will shape how
brands should back up claims, source products and make changes to make good on
With climate change worsening and driving major weather events, consumers are
looking to brands to provide sustainably sourced and produced products that
won’t contribute to the problem. In fact, more than a quarter of consumers say
they always or usually base their purchases on sustainability, which is an
increase of 4 points from 2019, according to the Hartman
Climate studies predict that by 2050 coffee, tea, cocoa and cotton will be so
severely affected that production in some areas will even disappear, resulting
in a complete loss of income for the farmers who grow these goods. Now is the
time for both governments and business alike to take action in support of
farmers to enable them to deal with what's happening with the climate. At last
year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, more than 28 companies voiced their
support of 1.8 million farmers calling for climate
by signing a pledge as part of Fairtrade’s Be Fair With Your Climate
campaign — including Ben & Jerry’s, Tony’s
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Many farmers and workers around the world live on less than $2 per day. In
2021, 73 percent of Fairtrade shoppers were willing to pay more for a product to
ensure farmers and producers were paid a fair
specifically, up to 35 percent more per pound for Fairtrade coffee and 30
percent more per bar for Fairtrade chocolate, according to the
To meet these consumer demands, small to large companies are re-examining their
supply chains. For example, earlier this year, companies including Aldi and
committed to ensuring that workers who directly supply their goods and services
across 190 countries will receive a living wage by 2030.
COVID has led more US consumers to make purchases online, and that trend will
continue into 2022. In 2020, US ecommerce grew by 32.4 percent with a total
spend of $791.7 billion, according to Digital Commerce
digitalization makes it easier for shoppers to compare products and learn
whether a company’s sourcing and manufacturing practices align with their
Online retailers are also partnering with certifying organizations to help
shoppers make comparisons even easier — such as in Amazon’s Climate Pledge
program. Fairtrade International was one of the few certifications chosen by
Amazon to launch the program, which continues to prove successful in nudging
Frequent Fairtrade shoppers care more than average shoppers about women’s
causes, according to GlobeScan survey data — which is not surprising, given that
female producers worldwide are still fighting for equal rights and
opportunities. A large proportion of the world’s food is farmed by women, yet
there remains a significant “gender gap” in agriculture — leaving female farmers
with less access than their male counterparts to resources such as land,
training and supplies.
In addition to more women starting companies, shoppers can look for
certifications to learn whether products are promoting gender equality. For
example, Fairtrade works to rebalance gender equality and strengthen women’s and
girls’ human, social, financial and physical capital in their farming
cooperatives and communities. Furthermore, Fairtrade Standards require all
cooperative members to vote on how to use their Premium funds, often giving
women a greater voice in their communities.
Consumers want to support brands that are not only taking care of their own
teams and suppliers, but also contributing to making the world a better place. A
study by Zeno
Group found that
consumers are up to six times more likely to buy from companies with a strong
Additionally, 71 percent of consumers indicated that traceability is very
important to them and that they are willing to pay a premium for brands that
provide it, according to IBM Research
Insights. Companies have an
opportunity to attract new customers and drive loyalty with existing shoppers by
authentically developing a transparent supply chain and celebrating how they
work to benefit people and the environment.
While many newly founded companies today are mission-based, even larger
corporations see the need to meet this consumer demand by partnering with
Fairtrade and other third-party organizations to add credibility and
traceability to their sourcing; and consumer trust comes along with those
commitments. More than 75 percent of consumers familiar with Fairtrade agree
that the Fairtrade label makes it easy to decide if a product is ethically and
responsibly produced, according to GlobeScan.
We predict these trends will continue to gain steam this year as the negative
impacts of climate change — as well as awareness of the need for a fair deal for
farmers across the globe — become more prevalent.
Published Jan 10, 2022 7am EST / 4am PST / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.