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Finland is the world's third best Fairtrade consumer – Why?

Pirjo Virtaintorppa | 13.07.2010

Last year, Finnish people spent a total of €86.9 million, or an average of €16.31 per inhabitant, on Fairtrade certified products. It is a handsome amount, with only the Swiss and the Irish spending more per inhabitant in 2009. I'm often asked the reason for this: why have especially the Finnish people so eagerly welcomed Fair Trade?

There must be many reasons. It is not so long ago when Finland was an agriculture-dominated country, which is why Finnish people still easily identify with small farmers in developing countries. Consumer survey findings show that the main single reason for buying Fairtrade products is to support producers in developing countries and to treat them fairly.

My predecessors have done an excellent job in raising awareness of Fairtrade products. Today, as many as 83% Finns say they have seen the Fairtrade Mark often or every now and then (the average rate in an international survey covering 15 countries was 59%). Moreover, Finnish people know what the Fairtrade Mark on a product means. And the best thing is that 78% of Finnish people have confidence in the Fairtrade certification label (the average of 15 countries was 64%)!

But the main reason for Finland's high placing is that Finnish trading groups want to promote responsible consumption and offer customers opportunities to do so. Kesko Food has determinedly contributed to building Fairtrade awareness by introducing Pirkka Fairtrade products and offering a wide range of Fairtrade products.

In all parts of Finland, from east to west and from south to the furthest north, consumers can buy Fairtrade products every day. This has enabled Fairtrade to grow and will continue to enable its further growth. The trading sector's responsible selection decisions ensure that Fair Trade can be used to provide better working and living conditions to as many as 1.2 million people in developing countries. 

Pirjo Virtaintorppa is the Executive Director of Fairtrade Finland.

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