Fair trade holds up

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Since their launch thirty years ago, fair trade products have taken a permanent place on our markets shelves. In a logic of local consumption, do these products from the other side of the world still make sense? How does fair trade take advantage of our consumption patterns, and how does it deal with all the different labels that are not always transparent? Specialists explain why fair trade, organic and local products have their place in our shopping baskets.

The fair trade sector has been very concerned about the consequences of the pandemic. Associations feared a drop in consumption of fair trade products, as well as a disruption of the supply chain. “This did not happen in all sectors and for all products. Consumption has logically fallen very sharply due to the closure of the catering industry and schools, especially for coffee and bananas. However, some trends can already be observed, notably a catching up in coffee sales in stores. Banana sales, on the other hand, have been strongly affected by the closure of schools and canteens, which has had a direct impact on producers in the South”, explains Geneviève Krol of Fairtrade Lëtzebuerg.

The rose industry has also been hit hard. As florists are non-essential businesses, an event industry at a standstill, roses have remained in Kenya or Ethiopia, condemned to compost. As for textiles, the big brands simply cancelled their orders, without paying the producers based mainly in India and Bangladesh. “The impact has been real in the South. In Luxembourg, some of the most affected sectors such as catering will not have fair trade in mind as a priority for when they reopen. We will have to find a place for ourselves in these new distribution channels such as home delivery”, she continues.

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Fair trade holds up

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