Poland joins Fairtrade movement

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

©Fairtrade Poland
©Fairtrade Poland

Related tags Fair trade

Poland has become the latest country to join the Fairtrade movement.

According to the certification scheme, this is a reflection of the country's growing consumer power and brings the number of countries in the Fairtrade movement to 27.

Chair of Fairtrade Poland’s management board and spokesperson Andrzej Żwawa told FoodNavigator this would make things easier for Polish manufacturers to obtain the Fairtrade certification. "The Polish Fairtrade organisation will be actively promoting the Fairtrade movement in Poland as well as Polish Fairtrade companies in the country and abroad. We will also support the sales of imported products," ​he said. 

Żwawa launched the label at the country's largest organic trade show, Natura Food Fair, on Saturday (8 October).

However, the organisation does foresee some challenges. 

"Poland is a producing country so there are many questions around the ethical certification process, as the concept is fairly new in Poland. We are asked many questions about producing Polish chocolate for export, for instance, rather than producing for the national market. We are trying hard to establish relationships with big Polish companies to source organic and Fairtrade bananas and with supermarket chains,"​ said Żwawa. 

Low awareness

A survey conducted by Globescan last year found that only 28% of Poles recognised the logo compared with 93% in the UK.

One way to counter this was through the creation of a new consumer-friendly database - currently underway - which will help consumers find stockists of Fairtrade products in Poland. "[This] should drive awareness and sales,"​ added Żwawa.

Coffee is by far the most prominent Fairtrade-certified product in Poland, accounting for more than 70% of sales overall. It was given a sales push when the national petrol station chain PKN Orlen began selling Fairtrade coffee in over 1,400 stores.

An informal coalition of Fairtrade began in Poland in 2009 when several NGOs and small business, such as Polish Humanitarian Action and Kepa Café, came together to promote ethical trade.

Organic food is also increasingly in demand in Poland. A recent study​ published in Appetite Journal found that, out of a representative sample of 1000 consumers, almost 70% (68.6%) purchase organic food.

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