Using fair trade enterprise models can help tackle inequality, end poverty and save our planet.  Photo credit: Lidya Nada/Unsplash

A new economy is emerging, one populated by enterprises born to put people and planet first. These businesses are a stark contrast to today’s mainstream businesses, who largely remain trapped in a model of profit-primacy. Based on new research, this report uncovers insights from one of the most global and deep-rooted communities of mission-led enterprises: Fair Trade Enterprises.

This growing global network, spread across over 70 countries, demonstrates commercially-viable business models that put people and planet first. These enterprises practice Fair Trade holistically across their business, reinvest the majority of their profits in their social mission and deploy mission-primacy in their governance. Built to make management and investment decisions to favour workers, farmers and artisans, they are effective in some of the most challenging contexts. They also drive ecological practices that protect our planet. Fair Trade Enterprises prove this business model can be more resilient while fostering innovation.

Key insights about Fair Trade Enterprises include:

• 92 per cent reinvest all profits in their social mission;
• 52 per cent are led by women;
• 4 times less likely to go bankrupt; and
• 85 per cent report actively sacrificing financial goals to pursue social or environmental goals, while retaining commercial viability.

To tackle inequality, end poverty and save our planet, these enterprise models must be fostered. The report ends with a challenge to governments, investors and all companies to shape the broader business ecosystem so as to spread such enterprise models far and wide.

Watch Prof Bob Doherty’s presentation of the report at the United Nations