Does Fairtrade still matter? Local activists believe it’s more important than ever.
Buying goods with the Fairtrade mark means that the producers get more than the current world market price plus a premium to spend in their own community on schools, wells or clinics – whatever they decide.
But Fairtrade is about a lot more than price. Producers have to keep to high standards for health and safety and protecting the environment and it’s important that women are involved at all levels. Child labour is definitely out. A big problem now is our changing climate which can be disastrous for farmers, especially if they are only growing one product. Fairtrade organisations are helping farmers to experiment with more resistant crops and to diversify into new areas.
Did you also know that Fairtrade has an important role to play in the fight against global heating. Find out more here
Local Fairtrade groups are planning to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight (22/2 to 7/3) despite lockdown. Find out more on our Fairtrade fortnight page.
There’s an online event on Climate, Fairtrade and You, we’ll be joining in with the national Fairtrade Festival and encouraging local groups to build Fairtrade into their own virtual coffee mornings or religious services.
There are plenty of excellent videos to share as well as worship materials and resources for schools (or for home learning). Young people are being invited to share ideas for their idea of the world they’d like to see and you should be able to spot posters promoting Fairtrade around the city.
We want to remind people we need to support some of the poorest producers in the world. Many of these farmers and plantation workers have been hit really hard by COVID and also by the changing climate which can make crops hard to grow and often to develop diseases. The climate emergency has also caused devastating hurricanes and floods in some areas. droughts and heatwaves in others and harvests are shrinking.
Farmers and workers in the global south, who have done the least to contribute to climate change, are disproportionately affected. They tell us that climate change is one of their biggest challenges right now and that low prices for their crops mean that they are struggling to fight back.
Fairtrade organisations are working hard to help by helping farmers to diversity and to find disease resistant varieties. But it’s a huge problem and money is short.
So the message is to keep supporting Fairtrade. Make sure the goods you buy have the Fairtrade Mark and please keep sharing the message that this matters.
The key messages will develop around how better incomes and the choice to use the Fairtrade Premium as farmers see fit in their communities provide flexibility to respond to growing challenges including unexpected pressures from climate change.
Fairtrade has been a huge success. You can now find the Mark on over 6,000 products in the UK, ranging from ice-cream to gold rings, flowers to footballs. And at least 1.7 million farmers and workers have better lives as a result of fairer prices plus the extra money which goes into their communities to build schools, wells or clinics – whatever they decide. But more people using Fairtrade products would really help. At the moment only 10% of the cocoa we buy is sold at Fairtrade prices
Campaigners believe that consumers care much more now about buying ethical products than they did. We know the UK public do not want poverty and exploitation to be part of the price of their chocolate bars. Shoppers are asking more questions about where their products come from, and how the people involved were treated and paid.
Everyone can help.
Don’t forget the power you have as consumers – just choose Fairtrade every time and let shops know the changes you’d like to see.
Buy the products! With thousands of products now available from single origin coffees to delicious chocolate and fashionable cotton T shirts, change your everyday products to Fairtrade today.
Ask for Fairtrade in cafes and restaurants. And if your local food store does not have the Fairtrade product you are looking for, speak to the manager and ask them to stock it.
Join a local group There are a number of groups in South East Hants you can join:
If you work with young people there are loads of great resources and ideas for becoming a Fairtrade school on the Fairtrade website
Why not persuade your place of worship to get Fairtrade status. There’s more information here
Introduce your friends to Fairtrade products. Say thank you with a bunch of Fairtrade flowers, bring a bottle of Fairtrade wine to a dinner party or make them a cup of refreshing Fairtrade tea.
Find out more and spread the word. Visit www.fairtrade.org.uk for news, ideas, events and information.
Campaign for Trade Justice. We need trade rules to work in the interests of the poor. We are campaigning on a living income and are asking our government and the chocolate industry (worth £4billion in the UK alone) to lead the way to a sustainable future for cocoa farmers.
We’re also seriously worried about trade deals post Brexit. Some of these are being rushed through very rapidly and could make things very much worse eg by applying huge increases on duties. Find out more here
We’re also opposing the UK/US Trade deal which gives too much power to large corporations and could be a model for future trade deals with poorer countries
Find out more about all the campaigns on www.fairtrade.org.uk
What do local groups do?
There are active Fairtrade groups in Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Havant and all welcome new members.
All the groups meet regularly (mainly online at the moment) and these are some of the things we do:
- We keep an eye on who’s selling Fairtrade products.
- We talk about Fairtrade to lots of groups each year.
- We set up stalls and displays at various events
- We organise our own events, especially during Fairtrade Fortnight which is late Feb- March each year. Last year in Portsmouth for example, we organised a curry evening, a banana tasting, and invited speakers to talk about Fairtrade gold and fruit from conflict zones.
- We support local schools and churches which are working towards Fairtrade status
- You could help with any of these activities – just get in touch.
More information from the Fairtrade Foundation
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