Sanna Räsänen: Consumers choose easily available, high-quality ethical products
Sanna Räsänen, Reilu kauppa ry
Sales of Fairtrade products increase year by year and
Finnish consumers’ interest in ethically grown and manufactured products keeps
growing. Still, this does not mean that the Fairtrade label on a product
package alone would guarantee success in sales. What we need are easily
available and high-quality ethical products before we can expect them end up in
shopping trolleys throughout Finland.
Pirkka roses and carnations serve as good examples of widely available high-quality Fairtrade products. Kesko Food included Fairtrade roses in its selection in 2006 and their sales have been continuously growing. Flower bouquets are so easily accessible in grocery stores that buying them has become an everyday activity. Consumers no longer need a special day to buy cut flowers for home. Flowers are bought in such quantities that their prices are tempting and flower farm employees benefit in the terms of higher wages and increasing Fairtrade premiums.
It should go without saying that human rights belong to all farmers in developing countries – but this is not yet the case
There are still many products from developing countries on sale in Finland the origin of which does not bear close scrutiny. We buy fruits, the growers of which are paid so little that they do not get enough to feed their families. When making purchasing decisions, we think about our health but may choose fruits that have been grown with chemicals that are harmful to the environment, and the workers handling them may not have sufficient respiratory protection. Fortunately, awareness of these issues is increasing and consumers have learned to look for the Fairtrade label on product packages and stickers.
Ethical choices benefit everybody
If Fairtrade products are not available on store shelves or customers have to kneel down to the floor level or reach on a two-metre shelf to get them, an ethical choice may often not be a real option.
So it is for the benefit of both consumers, retailers, manufacturers and, above all, Fairtrade farmers that plenty of high-quality Fairtrade products end up on store shelves: full-bodied coffee, sweet bananas, delicious chocolate and long-lasting flowers.
Communications Officer, Fairtrade Finland