Thoughts | Amelia Boothman - Director of Brand Innovation Strategy

Can Fair Trade now drive bottom line profits too?

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Fair Trade fortnight is raising awareness of the stories behind the product, however, as an established brand, are ‘Fair Trade’ really taking advantage of the opportunity to capitalise on the consumer’s new desire for sustainable and authentic brand affiliation?

Finding a sustainable shared purpose for your brand or business is now a hot topic. And, it’s not just environmental purpose, it’s about social as well. If you get it right, you can create a deeper engagement with your customers and help your differentiation.

As we celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, you may be surprised to know just how many of the 17 UN sustainable goals Fairtrade touches; no poverty, zero hunger, decent work, education and economic growth and many more when you dig deeper which all link to the Fairtrade vision and benefits. And, just because it’s on trend doesn’t mean it’s good for your bottom line I hear you say.

Well, the good news is there’s now building evidence to suggest that sustainability does square with profitability. Millward Brown’s Insights 2020 research showed that having a clear brand purpose was the No1 common feature in all over-performing growth businesses . Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, recently reported that their Sustainable Living Brands are growing 50% faster than the rest of Unilever, but that he also sees the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as creating a new type of growth . Not only that but 76% of Millennials now consider a company’s social and environmental commitments before deciding where to work and 72% of global Millennials saying they would pay more for sustainable goods .

Brands need to start considering if they are building the right support to ensure their trade is fair but also to communicate this more effectively, so that consumers can see the value of the work that is being done and how the brand shares their values. We also work with sustainability experts who can check out your brand for its sustainable halos and shadows and work with you to build and communicate a ‘fairer’ brand with greater conviction.

So, how can you deepen your engagement with consumers and better communicate the positive impact of fairer trade and link this back to the shared brand purpose revolution? Like so much of good marketing, if there is consistency and conviction at the heart of the brand and its message, then the impact is far greater.

1HQ supports the Sustainable Development Goals

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