As Fairtrade sales grow across the world, there is increasing demand from consumers, funders, supporters and critics to demonstrate the difference that Fairtrade makes for participating producers and workers in developing countries. Those involved in Fairtrade also seek to measure and understand impact, with the aim of making continuous improvements in Fairtrade systems and processes and for purposes of accountability.
The UK’s Fairtrade Foundation has commissioned IDS to undertake an independent assessment of the impact of Fairtrade in the banana sector. Fairtrade bananas are now being sourced from over 70 small producer organisations and plantations spread across 10 countries. One in four bananas retailed in the UK are Fairtrade certified, with annual retail value estimated at £185M. Globally Fairtrade bananas represent just 2% of all exports, but EU and US markets have showed continual growth year on year. As such, it is an opportune moment to take stock of achievements to date.
The impact assessment involves in-depth research with three small producer organisations and three plantations in four countries, as well as interviews along the length of Fairtrade banana value chains from producers through exporters, importers and ripeners to retailers. The objective is to assess impact at various levels, including household, community, organisation and sector analyses. Impact pathways will also be analysed, differentiating between Fairtrade tools such as minimum prices, certification criteria and organisational support, in order to better understand how and why changes occur and how positive impact can be enhanced.