Fairtrade Fortnight – show your support for people who give us some of the best things in life.
As the great and wise Martin Luther King said “before you’ve finished your breakfast in the morning you’ve already depended on half the world.” In the online button clicking, fast food delivering and 24-hour opening world we live in it’s sometimes difficult to remember to stop and think about how our consumer goods got to us. Behind the scenes of the bananas you’re grabbing from the 24 hour Tesco’s or the flowers you treat yourself (or someone else) to on a weekend we can go right back to the farmers who more often than not are subject to unfair trade.
Fairtrade is a global movement that has been going nearly 25 years and works with businesses and consumers to implement fair trading for international farmers. These international farmers are subject to unreasonable price points, work unethical hours and for the most part are unsupported by end retailers. In a modern world, there is no need for people to live as slaves to their work simply to survive. To make a change, consumer demand is key and tomorrow (27th February) marks the start of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight which is a worldwide awareness campaign that inspires businesses and consumers on the importance of Fairtrade and how easy it is to add Fairtrade products to your shopping basket. The Fairtrade Foundation encourages us to educate others through interactive activities such as breakfast briefings or coffee breaks – if you’re keen to organise your own they’ve produced a little booklet to give you some ideas.
As an individual, you are part of the step change and can so easily make your own headway towards switching to Fairtrade, here’s the 7 easiest Fairtrade items to buy:
- Bananas – literally everyone everywhere has heard of Fairtrade bananas, grown by millions of smallholder farmers and plantation workers in the tropics.
- Tea – in China alone, 80 million people work in the tea business in some shape or form and they rely on a fair business to afford to live.
- Coffee – millions of us depend on coffee to get us through every day, we manage to pull through thanks to over 25 million smallholders.
- Cocoa – 6 million people earn their living from growing these precious beans, and these people have an average age of 50 thanks to a decrease in young people being interested in growing a low income crop.
- Flowers – flower producers working with Fairtrade use their Premium payments to access education and financial services to maintain their businesses.
- Sugar – sugar is a difficult crop to make a profitable living from, yet we can purchase bags of the stuff from every grocer, by buying Fairtrade we’re supporting national incomes for poverty-stricken countries such as Cuba and Malawi.
- Wine – We all love wine, and again it is a product sold in almost every food and beverage store. Making wine is a strenuous and time-consuming process which is extremely labour-intensive so it’s only fair that we reward those who contribute getting it to us for our alcoholic pleasures.
It is essential to ask yourself whether you would work 17 hour days in the blazing sun, earning only a couple of pounds just to get a coffee (which wouldn’t even get you a coffee in Starbucks). We’d all agree that wouldn’t be FAIR on us, so why is it fair on others?
It is easy to spout statistics, to consider Fairtrade perhaps on your next shop but then forget or disregard the next time so to bring it to life a little more, I highly recommend watching this 2 minute clip from Fairtrade to give you an insight into what goes on behind “a good deal and pretty packaging”.