Alter Eco Fair Trade

Changing the Wotld never tasted so good.

Monday 8 June 2009, by Carl Deprey, Ece Yagman, Marjet De Ridder, Silvia Werin Rabionet

20 inspired

a) The main facts about the activities of the company.

Created in 1998, as a not-for-profit, Alter Eco is today a corporation dedicated to importing and distributing Fair Trade products. They propose a wide range of foods and cosmetics. Key categories are chocolates, coffees, fruit juices, teas and rice. They are working with 60 small producer organizations in over 60 developing countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Togo, Philippines…) and distribute their 150 products in 3,000 stores (Carrefour, Whole Food, Hannaford) in industrialized countries like in France, United States and Australia through their subsidiaries and export to Belgium, Japan and Russia.

The mission of Alter Eco is developing the most value-adding and quality-driven Fair Trade practices and products, and help producers and consumers recovering their freedom by showing that other trade practices with better and more diversified products are possible and beneficial to all stakeholders.
For instance in South Africa, Alter Eco works in a production of tea and 47 % of the final price goes back to the country of origin, a maximum ever in the tea market. In a conventional market the percentage of the final price which goes to the producer is only 2%. In average 19,15 % of the consumer price of Alter Eco products goes back to the country of origin. In an Alter Eco product, there is 0,35 Euros of ingredients paid to the small-scale farmer, compared to only 0,2 Euros in a conventional product. The average selling price for Alter Eco products is 2,9 €.

Alter Eco guarantee fair trading practices, product-quality and a commitment to improve the global community.

b) The ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Alter Eco addresses several ethical challenges within the company. Their main goal is to increase quality life of workers and farmers by maximizing the openings of marginalized producers so that the farmers and workers get a higher share of profits compared to the conventional shares. This is to show to the consumer the Fair Trade and the improvement of working conditions and to not exploit workers. Also it is set for the consumers’ advantage to buy high quality products just as coffee, chocolate, juices and rice. The products are ecological and the whole productive systems have environmental concerns. Alter Eco has since the beginnings exploited do other countries and has to maintain to inform the importance of buying these products, and although the price is higher on these products it is worth it since both producer and consumer gets a higher feedback in the trading chain.

c) What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it.

In a world where the average $3 latte delivers less than 2 cents back to the farmers on non-Fair Trade farms, Alter Eco’s ethical dimension lies beneath the promise of giving priority to trading with small and marginalized farmer groups to ensure fair remuneration that cover the full cost of production and contributes to the continual improvement of working conditions and environmental sustainability. We trust this company as they are “professionally, morally, and legally” bound by third party certifiers’ rules and regulations that are the mechanisms of auditing to guarantee Fair Trade principles and Organic processes are implemented.

d) The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

In the future trends reports you can see a rising of the number of partially committed organizations on the market and on producer communities. Alter Eco has to be aware of the increasing competition. Because Alter Eco is more expensive then ‘normal’ products they have to rethink their strategies and reassess the impact that they have, so as to remain competitive and true to their missions. By for example increase the consumer awareness by telling them why they should buy their products.

Another way to improve the growth of fair trade industry is to innovate and enhance their online offerings and capabilities, increase advertisements, improve product and marketing development and find buyers who wants to purchase a large amount of products.

By forming new partnerships and enter new countries Alter Eco can give farmers new opportunities of development. This is also a good way to make it better known over the whole world, which results in an increasing number of sales.


1. Alter Eco Homepage. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from
2. Alter Eco 2007 Annual Report. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from

Location: Paris (France)

Sector: food, fair trade industry

Official website:

Key figures:

Annual Revenue: 20 million €
Number of Employees : 45
Countries of operations : France , Australia, Japan, US (Europe)
More than 100 proucts sold in europe.
56 Fair Tradeproducts from 25 cooperatives in 19 countries are now available to consumers.

Nbr. visits: 2875

Nbr. inspires: 20