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 know that Fairtrade has an important role to play in the fight against global heating. Find out more here
Or that Fairtrade companies have been supporting their communities through the COVID crisis
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.
So, this year we are sharing the stories of West African cocoa farmers. We want people to know that these farmers who supply about 60% of our cocoa live on an average of 75p a day, (The extreme poverty line is £1.40 a day). For the women the situation is even worse because they do most of the work. They have to plant and harvest on the farm, look after children, carry water, collect wood, cook and clean for the family, and transport the cocoa beans to market but often with fewer rights than men. All for 75p a day.
This is why Fairtrade supporters are campaigning for a living income to become a reality for cocoa farmers in West Africa. If we can work together with governments, chocolate companies and retailers to make the commitments and policies necessary, then we can make it happen.
We’re very disappointed that Nestle have stopped using chocolate with the Fairtrade mark in KitKat bars. This could leave farmers and their co-operatives worse off. A lack of transparency raised serious concerns about the potential impact on farmers, at a time when they are already facing huge challenges and uncertainty posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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.
What can I do?
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:
Persuade your workplace, place of worship, school or club to switch
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 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 counrties
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
5.7 The Loom | Gowers Walk | London | E1 8PY
Tel: +44 (0)20 7405 5942 │ Fax: +44 (0)20 7977 0101 │www.fairtrade.org.uk
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