Part of complete coverage on
British shoppers lead world in fair trade
March 22, 2012 -- Updated 1750 GMT (0150 HKT)
- The United Kingdom is the world's biggest market for fair trade produce
- Sales of fair trade goods increased by 12% from 2010 to 2011
- The growth in fair trade is significant in a struggling retail sector
- Awareness of fair trade principles in the UK is almost double that of Europe
London (CNN) -- In an environment of declining retail sales in the United Kingdom, one premium brand is bucking the trend as consumers vote with their consciences.
Sales of ethically produced, fair trade products in the UK increased by 12% from 2010 to 2011, accounting for £1.3 billion ($2.07 billion).
While just 0.01% of food and drink sales worldwide are certified fair trade, in the United Kingdom, the world's biggest fair trade market, ethically sourced produce is big business.
Supermarket shelves teem with fair trade products from all corners of the globe, as the British consume 9.7 million cups of fair trade tea, 6.4 millions cups fair trade coffee and 3.2 million fair trade bananas every day.
Fair trade involves retailers paying a premium to suppliers in developing countries.
"It's about investment to be fair to everyone in the supply chain," says Brad Hill, fair trade director for The Co-operative, whose supermarket wing has recently moved to stock exclusively fair trade bananas.
Through fair trade, we have been able to develop our community
Demetrio Gonzales, banana grower, Panama
While consumers in the United Kingdom pay a marginal premium, if any, for ethically sourced produce, the practice can make a real difference at the source of production. Demetrio Gonzales, a banana grower from Panama, says his community was barely covering the costs of production before the introduction of fair trade.
"Through fair trade, we have been able to develop our community with investments in our water supply, and ways to improve our living conditions," he said.
British consumers' rush to embrace fair trade products seems tied to widespread public awareness of fair trade principles. According to Hill, 96% of British consumers were aware of fair trade, compared to just 47% in other parts of Europe. "There is potential for Europe to catch up with the UK in fair trade," he said. "It's all about increasing awareness."
And, to a growing extent, popular consumer brands are taking the lead themselves. Popular chocolate goods such as Cadbury's Dairy Milk, Maltesers and Kit Kat are now fair trade, while ice cream producers Ben and Jerry's will switch to exclusively fair trade ingredients this year.
Part of complete coverage on
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
Marketplace Europe visits Latvia to see how the Baltic country has made its transition to the Euro from the Lat.
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
CNN's Nina Dos Santos visits Latvia to speak to the country's outgoing Prime Minister and the prospects for the eurozone's 18th member.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
Malta is the gateway to Europe and on the frontline of the immigration flows. Isa Soares reports from a detention center on the Mediterranean island.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
CNN's Isa Soares speaks with people on the streets of Valletta who say their country can't cope with more migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1006 GMT (1806 HKT)
Malta cannot afford to continue supporting migrants from war-torn countries in its over-crowded detention camps, the country's foreign minister has told CNN.
December 26, 2013 -- Updated 2123 GMT (0523 HKT)
Slow recoveries, bailouts, and youth unemployment. Richard Quest speaks to Europe's top CEOs about the issues of 2013.
December 26, 2013 -- Updated 2114 GMT (0514 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to economist Bob Parker about defining moments of 2013 and about what to expect in 2014.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1815 GMT (0215 HKT)
Estonia is setting the pace for other European nations with a thriving economy and its tech industry, according to the Baltic nation's leader.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT)
The Baltic nation of Estonia is developing its oil shale energy reserves in a bid to become energy self-sufficient.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Europe must stop being nationalistic if it wants to help a lost generation of workers, the regional boss of U.S. conglomerate General Electric says.
November 14, 2013 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Peer at the windows and you'll spot big colorful chairs, plastic plants and a huge bed, but this is no department store.
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 1006 GMT (1806 HKT)
There once was a time, many years ago, when the sounds of bagpipes struck fear into the stomachs of Englishmen.
November 11, 2013 -- Updated 1116 GMT (1916 HKT)
Greece is on the way to economic recovery as investor faith returns to the recession-ridden eurozone nation, an executive at Greece's largest bank has told CNN.
November 8, 2013 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Could Greece's famous spice help the country's farmers through a four-year long economic crisis.
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
One of the masterminds behind the euro says Europe would have suffered a far worse fate if the single currency had never been created.
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1741 GMT (0141 HKT)
Nina Dos Santos visits the Dutch city where the European treaty carrying the city's name came into force 20 years ago.
October 25, 2013 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
As Spain continues its drive to slash budgets and cut spending, one of the nation's favorite pastimes is under threat as ministers look for ways to boost productivity.
October 24, 2013 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
The high commissioner of Brand Spain talks about getting the country back on its fee and attracting business.
Today's five most popular stories