Fairtrade’s Fight for Leadership

Fairtrade’s Fight for Leadership

Fairtrade’s green, blue, and black yin-and-yang logo with waving figure is a fixture of the sustainability space. But now the organization is facing rising competition, and has embarked on a major rebranding effort to remind consumers of its activist roots.
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Ethical Pioneers
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Originally established in 1992, the Fairtrade Foundation was considered an ethical pioneer for the way in which it strove to educate people about the need for a fair supply chain.
As head of brand and marketing Laura Van de Ven explains, when the company was founded, “sustainability wasn’t really on the agenda.” Fairtrade believed that “people needed to know the problems in order to act on them.”
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Competition and Confusion
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Today there are over 6,000 Fairtrade-certified products. But as awareness increases, particularly with climate change, businesses are joining consumers in taking an interest in sustainability certification | Learn more on Commonshare |.
Van de Ven explains that as the climate crisis has gained visibility, the result has been “a proliferation of sustainability schemes and certification marks.” Today there are more than 460 sustainability logos for food and beverages, and a third of these have been created in the past 15 years.
The result is confusion for many customers: they have so many certification labels to choose from that they are unsure what to choose.
Multinationals decide to self-certify
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Adding to the confusion, many food multinationals have taken it upon themselves to create their own in-house certification programs. This trend has seen some major defections from Fairtrade: back in 2017, both Sainsbury’s and Tesco dropped the label and opted to handle their own certification in-house.
And in June of this year, KitKat announced it was dropping the Fairtrade label | Learn more on Commonshare | in favor of Rainforest Alliance certification.
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Brand Refresh
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Realizing that the market has become more crowded and competitive, Fairtrade has embarked on a new five-year plan that includes a total brand refresh to reassert itself against competition and remind everyone of its winning status.
A key point Fairtrade prides itself on is its guarantee of a minimum price for the farmers who work with it. In the new five-year plan, Fairtrade will raise awareness of its work empowering development in communities, building resilience to disasters – particularly climate change and Covid-19 –establishing women’s school of leadership, and climate adaptation plans to help protect rainforests and animal biodiversity | Learn more on Commonshare |.
Fairtrade’s vision
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Van de Ven explains that Fairtrade wants to use the brand refresh to “fight for the next generation of farmers and we want to mobilise the next generation of consumer to inspire the next generation of campaigners.”
Fairtrade turned to 2050 London and Humankind Research to help it connect with its activist roots by telling inspiring impact stories through photography, dynamic graphics, and vibrant colors.
Fairtrade also has a new slogan: “Choose the world you want.”  

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