Fairtrade Fortnight 2014

In case it has escaped your notice, we are in the midst of this years Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual event held by The Fairtrade Foundation (the UK division of Fairtrade International). 

The Foundation is a certification scheme whose purpose is to tackle poverty by supporting farmers and workers around the world; working to improve their quality of life and to help them have more control over their futures by helping them have a greater involvement in the supply chain. Each year the Foundation have a different focus, so what’s happening this year..?

Warning: This post is a little on the fruity side but I promise, there is a little beauty in here too ;)
This year the Foundation have launched a new campaign; Make Bananas Fair. They are calling on the public to help end the supermarket price wars and asking the government to step in and investigate the impact of retailer pricing practices.

Supermarkets use promotional marketing tactics to attract consumers, this in turn this drives the price of the products down and it is these price cuts that are passed down the supply chain. Whilst the cost of banana production has doubled for farmers, the retail price of bananas in UK supermarkets has nearly halved over the past ten years. The Foundation claim that these marketing methods are putting pressure on suppliers and could lead to shortages. Not good news when you consider that bananas are amongst the most popular fruit in the UK with an astonishing five billion consumed here every year. Currently only a third of bananas sold in the UK are produced under the Fairtrade system with only three supermarkets: Waitrose, the Co-Op and Sainsbury’s, committed to selling only fairly traded bananas.

Personally I can’t stand bananas and I am really not exaggerating when I say that. The taste and even the smell make me retch. I can’t even tolerate them as minute ingredients in beauty products (or smoothies);  I can smell them a mile off! Putting my personal feelings aside, the banana issue is a big one and one that is long standing.

When I was at Middle School I was in a play for a school assembly (stick with me on this). The play was about the banana trade, the ethics and politics of the supply chain; quite a progressive topic for a group of 9 year olds in mid eighties rural Suffolk I am sure you will agree. 

I played the role of the retailer (I can’t remember my exact title); the person at the top of the pile and the one who received the biggest remuneration in the supply chain. My peers undertook other roles within the chain, from distribution and logistics through to the farmer and workers, with each earning a smaller part of the financial pie. The play was maybe only 10 or 15 minutes long but that memory has stuck with me to this day.

Bananas aside, there are a few beauty companies who are embracing fair trade ethics. Some are organic, some are not, but they have one thing in common; they all use fairly traded ingredients in some or all of their products and display the Fairtrade Mark. So who are they and what makes their products fair trade?

These are just a few of the brands that are currently out there and the list is ever growing; in fact there are currently nearly 200 beauty products in the UK that have met the Fairtrade certification standards and been awarded the mark. 

Why not show your support and try something new this fortnight?

Show your support; Go bananas and sign the petition

Find out more about the Fairtrade Foundation and Fairtrade International

I have written about the Fairtrade Foundation in depth in these previous posts: Fairtrade Fornight 2012 and Fairtrade Fortnight 2013

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