Today marks the start of Fairtrade Fortnight (25 February – 10 March 2019), the annual campaign organised by the Fairtrade Foundation (the UK division of Fairtrade International). I have been a passionate supporter of the Fairtrade movement since I was in my early teens when I started volunteering at our (tiny) local Traidcraft shop. If you are a long term reader you will know the each year I always take this opportunity to stand on my soapbox – sometimes it involves me talking about make-up and beauty but sometimes not :)
The Fairtrade Foundation are a movement for change that works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to ensure farmers and workers get a fair deal. Each year they celebrate with a campaign to highlight the work that Fairtrade organisations do around the world and encourage consumers to choose products that have been fairly traded.
This year the campaign is focused on Chocolate and principally the female cocoa farmers in West Africa.
According to the Fairtrade Foundation, cocoa farmers in West Africa need to earn £1.86*each day in order to achieve a living income. Typically a cocoa farmer in Cote d’Ivoire (one of the biggest producers of cocoa) lives on around 74p** a day!!
Almost all cocoa farmers in West Africa live in poverty.
The situation for female growers is even worse. In addition to planting and harvesting the crops and transporting them to market, they have children to care for and have a home to run; cooking, cleaning and collecting wood. They do all this but often with fewer rights than men.
By working with governments, chocolate companies and retailers, making the commitments and policies necessary to make it happen, Fairtrade are hoping to make a living income to become a reality for cocoa farmers. A living wage means that people earn enough to live a simple but dignified life, enabling them to pay for medicine, education and clothing. Basic things that many of us take for granted.
Chocolate which contains fairly traded cocoa can be found pretty much anywhere these days! You don’t need to go far from your local high street – check out the list of retailers here.
Fairtrade isn’t just limited to food products. Many beauty products, including many from some of our favourite natural and organic brands contain ingredients which have been sourced responsibly and fairly traded too.
What are your fair trade favourites?
By the way: If you are a fan of hot chocolate and happen to be in London over the next fortnight then hunt out Rosine’s Hot Chocolate Salon; a secret, West African themed salon hidden inside an unassuming newsagents – just find the secret button!
The hot chocolates on the menu have been designed by three chefs known for their healthy approach to easting; Tom Hunt, Tess Ward and Melissa Hemsley.
*WIP estimation based on the Living Income Community of Practice
**This is the estimated daily income per household member based on a typical cocoa farming household
Images: (1, 2) Fairtrade Foundation