Shared Interest Society

Unilever International Award, supported by Business Fights Poverty 2014 - Big Tick, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

Shared Interest Society asks its members to invest in a fairer world and helps people in some of the poorest countries trade their way out of poverty.

Social impacts

  • Increased incomes and employment: last year, the 97 producer groups Shared Interest Society financed collectively earned revenues of £236,056,545.*
  • Greater equality and opportunity: last year, the producer groups being financed represented 155,443 individuals, including 46,264 women, and 6,532 permanent employees.
  • Encouraged enterprise: last year, Shared Interest Society had more money out on loan directly to producers than with buyers, which supports the growth of individual producer businesses. There was an 11% increase on the average amount of lending drawn by producers.

Business impacts

  • Increased profit and portfolio: Profit after tax and investor interest was £216,000; an increase of 38% on last year. Lending was approved in an expanded range of commodities.
  • Increased profile and credibility: last year, 51% of enquiries resulted in investment compared to 24% in the previous year.
  • Sustainability: last year the number of producer groups being lent to increased to 97 in 24 countries. They are recruiting more staff overseas in response to a growing portfolio.

Sustainability is at the heart of Shared Interest. For us, this means doing the best we can with the resources entrusted to us. We provide financial services to fair trade businesses across the globe. These businesses have a responsibility to support the communities in which they operate. As a result, our lending has a direct and lasting impact for generations to come.

- Patricia Alexander,
Managing Director, Shared Interest Society
Shared Interest Society’s main aim is to reduce poverty through trade. By investing in fair trade business in developing countries, they support the growth of communities, including access to education, health provision, and stronger local infrastructure.

Many of their customers are affected by climate change and one of Shared Interest's aims is for their products to play a part in helping them adapt and become sustainable.

Shared Interest Society has almost 9,000 members. Each member has a Share Account which holds anything between £100 and £20,000. Combined member investments currently stand at £29.5 million.

The Society asks its members to ‘invest in a fairer world,’ where justice is at the heart of trade finance. They work to help people in some of the poorest countries in the world trade their way out of poverty.

Through access to financial services, farmers and producers can grow their business and their incomes. Greater investment supports improvements in working conditions and in quality of production. Stronger businesses support thriving communities, better equipped to deliver and access health and education provision.

Providing finance to smallholder farmers and producers empowers and inspires individuals, in particular women, to create and access new opportunities.  This enables them to support themselves and their families, often for the first time.

“Sustainability is at the heart of Shared Interest. For us, this means doing the best we can with the resources entrusted to us. We provide financial services to fair trade businesses across the globe. These businesses have a responsibility to support the communities in which they operate. As a result, our lending has a direct and lasting impact for generations to come.

"As the Fairtrade Foundation announces that Britain leads the world on Fairtrade, we can be more proud than ever to be the world’s only 100% fair trade lender.” Patricia Alexander, Managing Director, Shared Interest Society 

* All figures correct as of June 2014.