OTTAWA, Feb. 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Brad Hill, architect of the 'responsible retailing' agenda at the Cooperative Food Group (Co-op) in the UK, will be visiting Canadian retailers starting on February 25th in Saskatoon, then moving on to Toronto, and capping off his visit keynoting the National Fair Trade Conference in Ottawa.

Through 20 years of his strategic leadership, the Co-op became the 2nd largest seller of Fairtrade and sustainable products in the world and helped establish the UK as the largest national Fairtrade market. With a commercial background and as a qualified marketer, Brad was able to persuade his business and its customers to increasingly support responsible retailing whilst creating genuine commercial benefits.


A recent study from the the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA) at Ryerson University reported that the top five Canadian retailers are grocery companies.

But with a chill in top line sales, and an emerging and established consumer group increasingly invested in socially and environmentally responsible purchasing, food retailers in Canada will need to demonstrate what they are doing to keep Canada’s leading retail economy ready for the future.

“This is a critical time for Canadian grocery retailers,” says John Marron, Director of Commercial Relations and Marketing at Fairtrade Canada. “Consumers are making more informed decisions on what products they put in their cart because they want their purchasing habits to align with their values. Canadian food retailers need to get on-side with this growing ethical consumer segment and show they are agents of positive change.”

Brad will share his experience in developing a responsible retail agenda with Canadian retailers, showing how ethics and social responsibility are fundamental to delivering commercial success.

In addition to keynoting the 7th National Fair Trade Conference, taking place in Ottawa from March 1-2, Brad will be leading a retail panel with Jeff York, CEO of Farm Boy on Friday, March 1. As the 1st major retailer in Ontario to carry Fairtrade bananas, Farm Boy is taking a leadership role on sustainability in the Canadian retail sector.


  • Retail sales of Fairtrade products worldwide neared 12.9 billion CAD in 2017, a growth of 8% from the previous year.
  • The estimated retail value of Fairtrade products sold in Canada reached $456 million in 2017, an increase of 16% over the previous year.
  • Fairtrade as a category is growing much faster than the conventional market, which saw a 2.7% increase in the food store segment in 2017 according to Statistics Canada.
  • Canada is now the 3rd largest market for Fairtrade coffee.


  • Nielsen Report (2019) A ‘Natural’ Rise in Sustainability Around the World here
  • Nielsen Report (2018) What's Sustainability Got To Do With It? Linking Sustainability Claims to Sales here
  • The CSCA Retail 100 (2018) here
  • Deloitte Millennial Survey (2018) Millennials’ confidence in business, loyalty to employers deteriorate here.
  • Report (2018) Canadian Retail Sales Growth Heading for a Low Point here.

About Fairtrade Canada

Fair trade is an alternative, on-ground approach to conventional trade based on a partnership between producers and traders, businesses and consumers. The international Fairtrade system—made up of Fairtrade International and its member organisations—represents the world's largest and most recognised fair trade system. Fairtrade Canada is a Fairtrade International member and nonprofit organization that certifies, promotes and advocates for Fairtrade.

Media Contact
Pippa Rogers, Fairtrade Canada / 613 563 3351 ext. 250