Max Havelaar slips into the red in 2022

Although consumers in Switzerland bought Fairtrade products almost as often last year as the year before, the Max Havelaar Foundation posted a loss of almost one million Swiss francs. The strained financial situation and higher costs made a dent.

(Archive image: Keystone)

In total, Fairtrade Max Havelaar 2022 turned over 913 million Swiss francs with Fairtrade products in Switzerland, as the organization announced on Thursday. Per capita sales were 104 francs, just one percent below the previous year's record figure.

At the same time, however, the Fairtrade Foundation had to contend with higher operating costs: At a good 10 million Swiss francs, these were 14 percent higher than in 2021. After deducting these expenses, the operating result was a clear minus of 626,000 Swiss francs. In the previous year, the same figure was still a plus of 509,000 francs.

High costs for advertising and wages

There were two reasons for the higher costs: First, the organization's marketing costs almost doubled, according to the annual report. According to Max Havelaar, this was due to the need to catch up after the corona pandemic and the brand's 30th anniversary. In addition, the foundation hired more people and had to increase wages due to inflation.

The bottom line was a loss of 947,000 Swiss francs. In the previous year, Max Havelaar had posted a profit of 671,000 Swiss francs.

After the record year 2021, the organization had deliberately planned for more investments and thus expected a loss. However, this was almost twice as high as expected due to losses in the value of financial assets, the report said.

Fairtrade cotton more popular than bananas

With the repeal of the Corona measures and the home office requirement, there were some changes in the composition of sales at the Fairtrade Foundation. Because people started going to restaurants more often again, sales in the food service sector recovered, according to the release. But also in the retail trade more products were sold than in the year before.

Alcoholic beverages, milk-based drinks, honey and rice were particularly popular. There was also a growth spurt in Fairtrade cotton products and sports balls. According to the press release, this was due to new products, among other things.

However, consumers were less likely to buy Fairtrade bananas, exotic fruits and vegetables, ice cream, quinoa and Fairtrade gold.

Fairtrade products provide farmers and workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America with a secure income and better working conditions. However, due to the current challenges posed by climate change and regulatory requirements, farms are affected by additional costs, it added. (SDA/swi)

More articles on the topic