Conscious consumerism grows and child labour is shoppers’ top concern

New international research released today reveals that when shoppers are looking at brands with ethical labelling, their top priority is that no child labour was used in the making of the product.

According to the GlobeScan Fairtrade Consumer Insights Report 2021, 36% of shoppers in Australia and New Zealand consider child labour when making purchasing decisions. The next most motivating factor is reduction in chemicals (29%) followed by concerns about deforestation and improving land management at 27%. Just over a quarter are also motivated by concerns about forced labour. Seventy percent of those who recognised the Fairtrade label said they were willing to pay more for a product to ensure producers are paid a fair price.

This is borne out by GlobeScan’s public opinion research (GlobeScan Radar 2020) which shows that post-pandemic, the public is more concerned than ever about big businesses making the world a better place and are willing to shop accordingly. More than half of respondents in the 2020 survey said they changed their purchasing choices in the past year to make a difference on an economic, social, environmental or political issue. This percentage was even higher than the number who said they donated money to causes which indicates that people increasingly see their everyday shopping as an important way to make a difference.

Fairtrade’s own GlobeScan report confirms that people buying Fairtrade products are clear about what they want to achieve. Three quarters of those who have seen the Fairtrade label in Australia believe that after the COVID pandemic it is even more important to support Fairtrade and feel a sense of solidarity and community when purchasing Fairtrade products.

Fairtrade Australia New Zealand (ANZ) CEO, Molly Harriss Olson, says that Fairtrade is well placed to address consumer concerns and help them make ethical purchases.

“While shoppers have a range of ethical concerns, we know that they care most about protecting children. We also know that they recognise that Fairtrade has the best systems in place to do this, which is one of the reasons why the Fairtrade mark is the most widely recognised ethical label in the world,” she says.

“Fairtrade has the most robust and heavily audited processes to ensure that our company’s supply chains are free of child labour. What’s more, our approach to addressing the root cause of child labour – endemic poverty and unfair trading conditions – is significantly more comprehensive than any other ethical label in the world.”

The spotlight on child labour is expected to intensify further after the release of new child labour numbers earlier this month. The International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF reported that the number of children in child labour rose to 160 million worldwide. This was the first time that child labour numbers had increased in over 20 years.

“All the research tells us that ethical consumerism is growing rapidly, but with this has come a growth in the number of ethical labels and fair-washing,” says Ms Harriss Olson.

“While we applaud every attempt to make a difference, it’s also important to note that not all ethical labels are equal in the benefits they actually achieve for children. We all need to consider our options carefully.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Molly Harriss Olson, Fairtrade ANZ CEO, contact Virginia Jones, Ph (61) 0439 430 033 or


Notes for the editor

The 2021 Fairtrade-GlobeScan consumer research was conducted in February and March 2021 in 15 countries with a sample of 15,418 respondents. The countries are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain/Iberia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.

The 2020 GlobeScan research is from the GlobeScan Radar, a survey of 27,000 people in the general public in June 202

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