This year Fairtrade celebrated its 20th anniversary – and Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 (23 February – 8 March) aims to make people even more aware of what Fairtrade is and how buying Fairtrade makes a difference.
78% of the UK public recognise the Fairtrade mark, but, according to the organisation, “over half still don’t actively choose Fairtrade products”, largely because they don’t know what Fairtrade does, or don’t believe buying it has any benefits.
This year the campaign wants to highlight the fact that ‘more people choosing Fairtrade means more lives changed’, so over the two weeks, Fairtrade is bringing stories from around the world to life, through films, retail campaigns and case studies. Co-ops are playing a big part in raising awareness, with different co-operatives focusing on different products.
How does Fairtrade work?
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. Fairtrade is 50% owned by producers, who are involved in decisions on overall strategy, use of resources and the setting of prices, premiums and standards.
The Fairtrade minimum price is set to cover the cost of sustainable production for a product in specific regions, and protects producers from fluctuations in the market prices of the products they grow for a living. Over and above the minimum price, the Fairtrade Premium is an additional sum of money which goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers to use as they see fit, to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions.
In 2001, the Co-operative Group became the first supermarket to launch an own-brand fairly traded wine.
The Co-operative has been supplied by Bosman Vineyard since 2011 and currently sells a Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc produced by them. In 2009, the Bosmans’ ethical and sustainable methods of producing and trading their wine received official Fairtrade certification, with eligible workers receiving co-ownership of 430ha of prime farming land.
During Fairtrade Fortnight, the Group will be visiting the vineyard, showing the impact of purchasing Fairtrade through blogs and videos.
A new coffee has been launched by Lincolnshire Co-op just in time for Fairtrade Fortnight.
Lincoln-based firm Stokes came up with the special blend after members of Lincolnshire Co-op voted for their favourite flavours last year.
Aptly named Members’ Choice, this blend of Fairtrade Arabica beans from Colombia, Honduras and Bolivia joins the society’s Love Local range, and to celebrate, dividend card holders will receive 10x dividend on all Fairtrade products from 23 February to 8 March, and 12x dividend when they buy the new local, Fairtrade coffee during the fortnight.
For Fairtrade Gold, miners receive a guaranteed Fairtrade minimum price and premium to invest in improving their business or in community projects such as education, clean water and healthcare.
Becoming Fairtrade certified and meeting Fairtrade standards for gold helps miners formalise and improve their mining and business practices.
This includes strict standards on working conditions, health and safety, handling chemicals, women’s rights, child labour and protection of the environment.