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Fairtrade Fortnight: What matters to you?

February 25, 2015

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight and the Fairtrade Foundation have made this stunning film to highlight why it’s so important to make good shopping choices. How will you choose to shop differently this fortnight?

The growth and development of the Fair Trade Movement is a huge story of success. Not only in terms of the growth in the range, quality and sales of products but also in terms of how it has raised the issue of Trade Justice in the context of tackling poverty and unjust structures. 

I remember the days (showing my age now) of the rather shabby looking ‘fair trade’ stand that would get set up at the back of church once a month on a Sunday, where people would often buy tea or coffee and some naff biscuits out of guilt rather than genuine desire. Years later when I came to write my Undergrad dissertation on the growth and future of fair trade (1998 so really showing my age now) it was amazing to think how far the movement had come with the setting up of the fair trade mark and a growing range and quality of products. And now we have a really significant range of products and impact on trade. It is an incredible story of hope and transformation.

The news this week has highlighted that for the first time in 20 years there has been a drop in overall sales of Fair Trade produce. Ruth Valerio of A Rocha UK was quoted in a response piece in which she said. “With the changing shape of supermarket shopping and the squeeze that is on the grocery sector, it highlights even more how important it is for everyone to choose products that change people’s lives,”

“So I would urge people to look for the Fair Trade label on products and to make a conscious effort to buy them whenever that option is available – and to ask your supermarket to stock more Fair Trade lines.”

It’s good to be honest and to acknowledge that in the current context saving money, and also buying locally sourced produce is a good and vital thing. However when it comes to the products we love like Coffee, Chocolate, Tea, Bananas and other such things, the choice of fair trade is I believe still a vital and compelling one.

Also in the news this past week, we have seen Mars declare that from the Autumn of 2015 the Cocoa in all of their UK produced Mars Bars will be fair trade. This follows other high profile chocolate going fair trade such as Kit Kat, Dairy Milk and Malteasers.

As consumers we have the power to make good choices in the way that we shop. Let’s be encouraged by the story of the fair trade movement and lets continue to shop in a way that brings hope, life and justice in the world.

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