Juvencio Membreño Herrera

Australians and New Zealanders ate almost 45 fully-laden Boeing 787 planes worth of Fairtrade chocolate last year, and washed it down with 37 Olympic swimming pools worth of Fairtrade coffee.

Figures released today show that in 2015 Australians and New Zealanders spent $AU352m on Fairtrade certified products from a range of more than 3000. The purchases were made from the 192 licensees and traders in Australia, and 54 in New Zealand.

Included in the Fairtrade haul purchased by consumers were sales equivalent to 57 million 200g blocks of chocolate, 371 million cups of coffee and more than 182 million tea bags.

The rising popularity of Fairtrade products is strongly reflected in the Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand Annual Report, which explores the success of the movement and the expansion of programs through the Pacific region.

Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand CEO Molly Harriss Olson said growing support for Fairtrade meant growing support for farmers.

“Every single time a shopper makes the decision to buy Fairtrade, they make a decision to support the workers behind that item with fair prices and brighter futures,” Ms Harriss Olson said.

“It is wonderful to see the thoughtful shopping of Australians and New Zealanders translate directly into profound impacts on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”    

The report highlights some of the issues tackled by Fairtrade programs. Gender inequality became the focus of one new project run in conjunction with CARE International with farmers in Papua New Guinea. There are 44,000 Pacific farmers in Fairtrade producer organisations, giving them significant power to address social injustice.

A pilot program aimed to increase the entrepreneurial abilities of 6000 farmers in PNG by countering poor telecommunication infrastructure with new technologies and access to relevant trade information. The benefits flowed on to families and communities, leading to increased skills for 25,000 people.

There are more than 1.6 million farmers and workers in 1240 Fairtrade Producer Organisations across 75 countries benefitting from fair prices and improved terms of trade. It gives primary producers the chance to improve their working and living conditions, and create opportunities for their families and communities.