At the beginning there was an idea: discontent with the official development policy caused the youth associations of the Protestant and Catholic churches to organise hunger marches, mobilising over 100`000 participants. Our shareholders are church-based youth and relief organisations. We have a dedicated staff of about 160 persons, most of them based in Wuppertal, where the administration, the central warehouse and the regional Fair Trade Centre West are located.
Today, GEPA is Europe’s biggest Fair Trade company with an annual turnover of more than 60 million EUR. We buy from about 170 trading partners and offer our products for sale in world shops (our traditional sales channel), supermarkets and health food stores, canteens and cafés as well as our own online shop.
It was GEPA who sold the first Fair Trade and organic coffee (1986) and tea (1987). Today, our product range covers food, mostly organic, like coffee, tea, chocolates and other sweets, honey, nuts, rice, spreads, wines – and about 1`000 non-food articles such as wickerwork, household textiles, leather goods, toys, ceramics, jewellery, sports balls, seasonal articles and many more.
Recently we have measured our CO² Footprint, In order to contribute to the compensation of our emissions we are supporting a reforestation project with our Trading Partner ATC on The Philippines.
In 2011 GEPA launched the first chocolates with Fair Trade milk from Germany. With important Fair Trade Ingredients from northern countries we want to raise awareness about the negative impact of globalization. Actually we are working on Fair Trade grain.
“Fair+” is our new message and sign paying tribute to these developments and the challenges for a 100 % Fair Trade Organisation.