Fairtrade: Expansion into central Europe

Polish consumers and businesses can now support Fairtrade farmers through their purchasing choices as Poland becomes the latest country to join the Fairtrade family.

Fairtrade Poland officially launched on Saturday at Poland’s largest organic event, Natura Food Fair. The organization joins 28 other Fairtrade organizations across the world  that promote Fairtrade in their countries.

“We’re really excited about the possibilities offered by officially joining the Fairtrade system,” says Andrzej Żwawa, Chair of Fairtrade Poland’s management board. “The launch during the Natura Food Fair demonstrates our strong ties to the organic movement, and to the pioneering organic businesses who were the first to introduce Fairtrade products to the Polish market”.

The largest of the new European Union member states, Poland has a growing economy and a rising interest in ethical consumerism. Fairtrade products are already on sale in many Polish stores. Coffee is the most popular Fairtrade product, accounting for more than 70 percent of all sales. PKN Orlen, a national chain of petrol stations, now sells Fairtrade coffee in more than 1,400 of their Stop Cafe outlets, making it the biggest driver of Poland’s Fairtrade sales to date. The Fairtrade Poland team has ambitions to expand the product range further, including introducing Fairtrade bananas next year.

“We are building our capacities, investing in people who can help build the market for Fairtrade products in Poland”, adds Żwawa. “At the same time we need to educate Polish consumers so that they know what Fairtrade is and the difference it makes to farmers and workers in the Global South – an important step in a country where awareness of ethical labels is still quite low.”

The journey to setting up Fairtrade Poland began in 2009 when several Polish NGOs and small businesses formed an informal coalition working for ethical trade. The coalition registered as a non-profit foundation in 2013 and has now become Fairtrade Poland.

Fairtrade Poland is also active in advocacy, awareness-raising and education work, via for example the Fair Trade Schools campaign.

Source: Website Fairtrade, 10.10.2016