Empowering fairness: the crucial role of business support in championing the Fair Trade Agenda - Mica MacInnes

13th May 2024

In an era where ethical consumerism and social responsibility are gaining increasing prominence, the Fair Trade movement stands as a beacon of hope for promoting justice and sustainability in global trade. At its core, Fair Trade seeks to empower producers in developing countries by ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and environmental sustainability. While consumers play a crucial role in driving demand for Fair Trade products, the support of businesses, particularly through business support organisations, is instrumental in championing the Fair Trade agenda. That's what we do at RTC North, and here's why:

We have the platform to educate businesses about the benefits of Fair Trade practices, and to advocate for Fair Trade principles, highlighting the positive impact on both producers and consumers. Raising awareness and promoting understanding can inspire businesses to integrate Fair Trade into their operations.

A focus on Fair Trade alongside wider responsible and ethical business practices makes good business sense. Put simply, people want meaning in their work, they want to feel that they are making a difference and tackling the substantial challenges facing the world and its people and this is reflected in what they buy and who they work for.  

For instance, consumers are increasingly becoming more socially minded, and this is even more apparent in younger generations. GlobalScan 2021 data identified that 65% of people in the UK say that they choose Fairtrade, demonstrating that people choose products that have been ethically and sustainably produced, and the Harvard Business Review (DATE??) reported that 25% of consumers have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards questionable business practices. 

Just as consumers are voting with their purses, employees are voting with their feet. According to sustainability activator Anthesis over half (53%) of UK workers consider the effort and resources put into sustainability as a key factor when making employment decisions, a fact backed by Harvard Business Review which reported that 70% of employees won’t work for a company without a strong purpose, and that 88% believe that it’s no longer acceptable for companies to make money at the expense of society at large. 

I think that anyone would agree that adopting business practices that alienate 25% of potential customers and 70% of the talent pool is madness!

The importance of Fair Trade also transcends to the attraction of growth capital as investors recognise the relationship between responsible practices and business performance a fact compounded by the Harvard Business Review which reported that 40% of millennial investors put a significant effort into understanding a company’s social and responsible business practices compared with 27% of Gen X and 16% of Baby Boomers.  

As the challenges facing the world become more pronounced, the importance of Fair Trade and equitable and responsible business practices will only increase, becoming a central focus for business vision and goals. 

For many businesses we work with, implementing Fair Trade practices can seem daunting, especially for smaller enterprises, but simply by providing resources, tools, and guidance to help businesses navigate the complexities of Fair Trade practices and certification, supply chain transparency, and ethical sourcing, we can help them take the first step -whether that be connecting them with Fair Trade suppliers or suggesting training programmes on sustainable business practices. A mindset on fairness is implicit in everything we do at RTC North.

The Fair Trade movement relies on a collective effort to promote fairness, sustainability, and empowerment throughout the supply chain. We really believe at RTC North, we have a critical role to play in this agenda and are committing to leveraging our influence, expertise, and resources to champion the Fair Trade agenda. As businesses increasingly recognise the importance of social responsibility and ethical business practices, the role of business support in advancing Fair Trade principles becomes ever more important. By working together towards a common goal, we can create a world where Fair Trade benefits everyone, from producers to consumers, while preserving the planet for future generations. 

We have a team of specialist Scaleup, Innovation and Supply Chain advisers who are there to guide and support you in adopting responsible practices and to make sure that as your business scales, your positive impact on the world will scale in parallel. If you would like to talk to the team and to explore how we can help, then get in touch.

Responsibility Statistics ( Source: 15 Eye-Opening Corporate Social Resp

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