‘On a day-to-day basis, my life would have been extremely difficult without Fairtrade. Take maize which is very expensive, I could not afford to buy for my family and feed them, but the allocations from Fairtrade makes a difference… My wages are very low and I wish that I could find more money and do something so that I can be able to support my family properly.’
— Tsala Mwale, worker at Satemwa Tea Estate, Malawi
Tsala’s story is not unusual. Many workers on plantations that produce tea, flowers and bananas often struggle with low wages. Fairtrade has been focusing on how we can ensure workers receive a living wage so that they can provide a decent standard of living for them and their family.
Alongside changes to our Fairtrade Standards for workers, Fairtrade is playing an active role in a coalition of certification schemes set up to develop living wage benchmarks. In 2015, these were established for tea in Malawi and flowers in Ethiopia, among other products and countries.
Fairtrade is also involved with the Malawi 2020 programme, working with 20 organisations to improve the Malawian tea industry so that workers earn a living wage and farmers earn a living income. In 2015, a report looking at the costs of sustainable production of tea in Malawi recommended that schemes such as Fairtrade, through the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Fairtrade Premium, can add value to the industry to achieve this.
To encourage more people to choose Fairtrade, we showed the UK public the benefits of a ‘good’ cup of Fairtrade tea for farmers and workers through a series of snappy social media videos.
And from good brews to good blooms, we celebrated the fact that Fairtrade flowers are now available in Ocado, Asda, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, The Co-operative, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
In 2015, UK Fairtrade tea sales increased by 6% in volume, generating an estimated £3.3m in Fairtrade Premium for farmers and workers
In 2015, UK Fairtrade flower sales increased by 9% in volume, generating around £1.3M in Fairtrade premium for farmers and workers