Next week marks the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight 2021. And what is that you may ask?
Fairtrade is a global awareness campaign focused on improving the lives of farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade’s mission is to work with farmers and producers to call for better prices for products, demand better working conditions, and promote local sustainability. Achieving these things will enable those people to have more control over their own lives and their futures. The people that Fairtrade advocates for are those that are working to produce some of the products we use on a daily basis, such as food, clothing, and technology.
Fairtrade sets social, environmental, and economic standards that have to be met by companies and farmers, and producers. Once these standards are met, companies are able to label their goods with a Fairtrade mark to show that they have committed to paying fair prices for these goods. Companies also commit to supporting the producer communities through financial investments such as contributions towards schools and community facilities. Farmers and producers that qualify for Fairtrade are supported by the foundation and the companies that buy their crops and products.
Each year, the Fairtrade Foundation hosts a Fairtrade Fortnight as a celebration of the work that has been achieved and as an opportunity to share stories of the people that have been supported through the Fairtrade scheme. During Fairtrade Fortnight there will be a series of events from talks to films, all held online this year. You can find the full festival line up here.
So Fairtrade sounds like an excellent movement to support, and if you do not already do so, here are three ways that you can lend your support:
Choose Fairtrade foods
Products that qualify under the Fairtrade movement are clearly labeled with the following symbols
This indicates the product is 100% Fairtrade
This indicates that the product contains some Fairtrade ingredients, but not all.
Some of the most common food products that hold Fairtrade status are bananas, coffee, sugar, chocolate, and wine but there are many more too. Look out for those symbols next time you go shopping. I tend to find that Co-op has the largest range of Fairtrade goods in comparison to the other big supermarkets in the Uk.
Choose Fairtrade clothing
Fairtrade is not just for food products, it also extends to crops such as cotton. Clothing brands such as People Tree and Thought are great supporters of Fairtrade, so check those out next time you are looking to purchase a new garment.
The Fairtrade Foundation runs many campaigns focused on raising awareness of the human and environmental aspects behind the farming and production of goods. All year round there are specific campaigns that you and your community can get involved in. There are lots of ideas for public and community engagement here.
There has been a lot of debate over recent years about whether individual action has an impact on environmental and social issues. I am a true believer in action at all levels, I think it all helps and we need everyone. To me, making a choice between a Fairtrade bar of chocolate or a non Fairtrade bar is an action I can regularly take. Making decisions about what our money supports is powerful and it’s a great way to start being more active and to start expressing your values.
So please do go and check out what’s going on for this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight and get involved in whatever way feels right to you. I’ll be starting by enjoying this bar of chocolate and a glass of Fairtrade wine!