Fair trade is defined as a partnership in trading aiming to combine sustainable manufacturing of goods with trading conditions that don’t put producers at a disadvantage. These conditions involve such issues as employee rights, fair pay and safe working environments, particularly in regions Western countries outsource their production to. Fair trade extends to many industries that consumers have to do with on a regular basis when they simply go shopping and make purchasing decisions, food or clothes shopping being common examples.
The German consumer space is becoming more and more attuned to the connection between consumption and sustainability in all its far-reaching forms. Fair trade product sales experienced explosive growth levels in the last decade alone. If in 2011 sales generated 400.5 million euros worth of revenue, ten years later the figure stood at over 2.1 billion euros. But which are the bestselling fairtrade products in Germany? Based on recent figures, coffee, flowers and tropical fruits (mostly bananas) were the top three product groups consumers looked for.
The number of German consumers paying attention to whether the products they are buying when shopping are fair trade certified has grown in recent years. As of 2022, almost 17 million people made sure of the label on their item of choice. A variety of personal reasons were important to consumers when deciding to buy fairly traded items or products. Among these, the leading ones were knowing the manufacturer had not used child labor, fair prices for producers, as well as the quality of the product itself. On the other hand, there were also consumers who had their reasons for not buying fair trade. These reasons included products being too expensive, the desire to stay with familiar brands, or simply not feeling informed enough about fair trade.
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Social and ecological responsibility as purchasing criteria in Germany 2017-2021
Level of agreement towards the statement "It is important to me to buy products from companies that act in a socially and ecologically responsible manner" in Germany from 2017 to 2021 (in million persons)