Welcome to my (now) annual deviation from make-up writing and to the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight!
The Fairtrade Foundation is a charity that is very close to my heart and every year I write a post highlighting the plight of farmers, producers and workers around the world and (hopefully) helping to raise awareness of the many, many good reasons to choose Fairly traded products.
Between the ages of 14 and 16 I spent many saturdays volunteering in our (tiny) local Tradecraft shop selling ethically produced food, clothing and gifts. I loved working in that little shop; the ethos behind the products and the passion of the lady who ran it sparked an interest in a cause which still remains strong some twenty (yikes!) years on.
Fact: Since the first Fairtrade Fortnight in 1995, the Fairtrade mark has grown to become one of the most recognised ethical label in the UK, with 78% of the population recognising it.
The focus of last years campaign was the Banana trade; some of you may remember me revisiting my middle school play and my real aversion to the yellow skinned fruit. This year the focus is on slightly more comfortable territory – for me at least; store cupboard ingredients found in almost very home… Cocoa, sugar and tea to name a few.
Although I don’t like the latter (I do keep a stock my kitchen cupboard for visiting tea drinkers so am not completely weird) I do love chocolate, or more specifically dark chocolate (Green & Blacks 85% Dark preferably or Booja Booja Dark Ecuadorian chocolate truffles given the chance…). This aside, the aim of this next two weeks is to reinforce the message to policymakers that they need to change a fundamentally unfair trade system and to educate the public on how choosing products that have been produced using fairly traded, sustainable methods is so important.
Fact: Currently just 1.2% of cocoa and 10% of tea globally is traded under Fairtrade terms. Considering how much chocolate (an estimated 660,900 tonnes*) and tea (approximately 60.2 billion cups*) is consumed in the UK each year alone it is astonishing that the figures are not greater – but then again maybe not…
As I write this (Friday 20th February 2015), the Fairtrade Foundation have announced a partnership with Mars Chocolate UK, who have committed to using fairly traded cocoa in all mars bars in the UK and Ireland by autumn 2015. The aim is for Mars to ensure it’s entire cocoa supply is produced in an sustainable manner by 2020. For more details on this move click here.
So what can you do? Look for the label. Choose Fairtrade when you get the chance; shop around. From your mid morning coffee to your last minute birthday flowers or cosy night on the sofa indulgence, many big brands and stores are now using fairly traded ingredients in many of their products.
Below are just as few of those involved…
Sainsburys – Starbucks – M&S – Interflora – Cadburys – Tate & Lyle – Clipper Tea
If you are interested in what I had to say about Fairtrade Fortnight over the past few years, then check out these links…
* statistics from Divine Chocolate and UK Tea & Infusions Association – both pages are full of fascinating facts and stats!
Images: Fairtrade Foundation
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