Fairtrade Fortnight focuses on a living wage for producers

Co-ops around the UK are hosting promotions and events to support the Fairtrade movement

Fairtrade Fortnight (24 February to 8 March) starts today, continuing the movement’s campaign for cocoa farmers to get a living wage.

Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign will feature stories from women working in the cocoa-producing sector, explaining ways Fairtrade has helped them.

And – after the the market has become increasingly crowded with rival ethical certifications – the campaign will stress how only Fairtrade has standards which cover a minimum price for farmers; a premium which farmers and workers can choose to spend; women’s empowerment, in terms of representation and independent income; and the environment, including climate resilience.

The latest figures from Fairtrade International say that sales of Fairtrade-certified cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire in the fourth quarter of 2019 increased farmers’ earnings by approximately US$15.1m USD (€13.8m) compared to non-Fairtrade cocoa.

In addition to the Fairtrade Minimum Price, certified co-ops also receive the non-negotiable Fairtrade Premium of US $240 (£185) per tonne, which was also increased by 20% as of 1 October.

Fairtrade has strong links with the co-op movement; many of its producers are organised into co-operatives, while in the UK retailers like the Co-op Group have led the way in driving consumers towards Fairtrade products.

Related: What now for the Fairtrade movement after 25 years?

Co-op retailers are once again backing the Fortnight, with the Co-op Group’s head of food policy joining Rosine Bekoin, a Fairtrade cocoa farmer from Côte d’Ivoire, and others for an event hosted by the Fairtrade Foundation at the Old Bank, Manchester, at 5.30pm on 25 February.

Independent retail societies like Southern Co-op are also joining the campaign. Southern will run in-store messaging alongside internal promotion with colleagues.

Channel Islands Co-op is running website, blog and social media campaigns and has organised tasting and awareness events in all four of its large stores, showcasing products and handing out stickers and recipe cards.

The society is also running a Facebook competition asking people a question about a Fairtrade recipe; a winner in both Jersey and Guernsey will receive a Fairtrade bag of goodies.

Midcounties Co-op is highlighting Fairtrade through its 1change compaign – which calls on members, customers and colleagues to make a positive change in their activities. Those making a pledge on Fairtrade have the chance to win £25 vouchers to spend on Fairtrade products in its stores.

It has called out to 500 of its local community partners asking them to join the campaign, and is working with the Fairtrade Foundation on visit by cocoa farmer from Côte d’Ivoire on 6 March. She will visit a local school, the society’s head office and one of its food stores.

Midcounties is also running a competition to win Fairtrade hampers and will continue a social media campaign throughout the Fortnight.

East of England Co-op will sponsor the Suffolk Fairtrade Towns website for the next three years and is supporting a reception by Ipswich Fairtrade Town Group on 27 February, where Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, will be guest speaker.

The society is donating £100 of Fairtrade items to three of its local food banks, and is working with Fairtrade town groups on competitions and giveaways, including funds to supply Fairtrade footballs to schools in Felixstowe.

There will also be support for other school activities, and promotion through its own website and social media channels.

Central England Co-op is urging customers to “do good at home and overseas” by supporting farmers abroad while helping those less fortunate in their own communities.

The society is urging customers and members to try Fairtrade products available in its food stores and is appealing to people to drop an extra item or two into its special food bank collection points.

Central England is also holding events across its trading area, including a Fairtrade Tea Dance for members, Fairtrade quizzes and a women’s football match using Fairtrade Bala UK football, which will raise money for its corporate charity Dementia UK.

Divine Chocolate – the only Fairtrade chocolate company co-owned by cocoa farmers – continues its 20-year support for Fairtrade Fortnight by offering sampling packs, including posters, a quiz and chocolate, and is running a social media campaign under the hashtag #Divinefortnight.

Sri Lankan farmers with Revolver’s new Fairtrade tea

Revolver Cooperative is marking the Fortnight with the launch of a new range of tea, packaged in biodegradable tea bags, working with suppliers in Sri Lanka. The English Breakfast, Green Tea and Mixed Berry Ceylon tea bags ar Fairtrade and organic.

Revolver will also share Fairtrade stories throughout the Fortnight on its website, revolverworld.com, and rounds the campaign off with a quiz night at the Warehouse Cafe, Birmingham on 8 March.