Shoppers are increasingly looking for ethically sourced products, according to Fairtrade’s biennialFairtrade Consumer Insights report.The survey, conducted by GlobeScan, found that half of the respondents had changed their purchasing choices within the past year to make a difference on economic, social, environmental, or political issues. Fairtrade America has five predictions for how this will play out in 2022:
- Consumers will demand further focus on sustainability. More than a quarter of consumers say they always or usually base their purchases on sustainability—that’s an increase of 11 points over the last 14 years, and up 4 points from 2019. The impact of climate change is far from equal: The world’s wealthiest 10% are responsible for 50% of global emissions, but by 2050, climate studies are predicting that coffee, tea, cocoa, and cotton will be so severely affected that production in some places could outright disappear, leaving farmers to suffer the hardships caused by those emissions.
- Advocacy for human rights and fair wages will go global. In 2021, 73% of Fairtrade shoppers were willing to pay more for a product to ensure that farmers and producers were paid a fair price—up to 35% more per pound for Fairtrade coffee and 30% more per bar for Fairtrade chocolate. Large companies are starting to work towards meeting these basic demands: Unilever, for instance, announced a commitment to ensure that workers who directly supply its good and services across 190 countries will receive a living wage by 2030, which could be a big increase, considering that many farmers and workers around the world live on less than $2 per day, according to the press release.
- Shopping online will remain the new norm. In 2020, U.S. e-commerce grew by 32.4%, with a total spend of $791.7 billion, according to Digital Commerce 360. The digitalization of shopping makes it easier to compare products and find out whether or not a company’s sourcing and manufacturing practices align with a shopper’s values.
- Shoppers will seek out organizations and companies that promote gender equality. Frequent Fairtrade shoppers care more than average about women’s causes, according to survey data, which the press release states makes sense given the gender gap in farming: A large proportion of the world’s food is farmed by women, but female farmers have less access than their male counterparts to resources like land, information, credit, training, and supplies.
- More mission-focused brands and transparency. A study by Zeno Group found that consumers are up to six times more likely to buy from companies with a strong purpose, and IBM Research Insights found that 71% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for brands that provide traceability. This gives companies the opportunity to attract new customers and drive loyalty with existing ones by developing a transparent supply chain.
Businesses looking to become Fairtrade certified can start their journey on theFairtrade America website.