Make a difference with even the most minimal effort.
Fairtrade Fortnight is back from Monday 24th February to Sunday 8th March. During these two weeks, thousands of individuals, companies and groups across the UK will come together to share the stories of the people who grow our food and the cotton used in our clothes – people who are often exploited and underpaid.
As a nation we use a lot of products that come from abroad. Bananas, cocoa, cotton, tea, coffee – it all comes from farms in the developing world. The Fairtrade Foundation makes sure that companies using these items in their own products pay a decent price to the producers that supply them. This is increasingly important as crop yields are being reduced by extreme weather events such as floods and droughts due to climate change.
So if you see an item bearing the Fairtrade logo on its packaging, it means the product has been certified to create a better deal for farmers and producers that may otherwise end up being exploited. This can happen in lots of different ways, from simply ensuring producers are paid a fair price, to providing funding for community schools and renewable energy infrastructure.
Ensuring that suppliers are supported and paid fairly also means they’re more likely to use sustainable farming techniques, and it gives them a competitive advantage against companies that offer the rock-bottom prices associated with bad environmental practices. So supporting Fairtrade means supporting the planet and the fight against climate change, too.
You can get involved with Fairtrade all year round, but during this two week period the onus is on raising awareness about the important work the Fairtrade Foundation does to help people across the world. Here are five ways you can take meaningful action.
- Buy Fairtrade products
There are more than 4,500 Fairtrade certified products for sale in the UK, ranging from fruit and wine to flowers and cosmetics – not to mention a huge range of delicious chocolate! You needn’t go out of your way to purchase a Fairtrade product, as they’re available in all shops and supermarkets. Just swapping one item on your shopping list for a Fairtrade alternative helps to support the cause.
- Sign the petition
This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight has a particular focus on cocoa farming – or, more specifically, the female cocoa farmers that are struggling to afford basic necessities such as water and healthcare for their families. The Fairtrade Foundation is campaigning for a living income for these women, and is calling on the UK government to lead the way in making international trade deals work for the poor. Sign this petition to take the exploitation out of chocolate.
- Make a donation
While many farmers in developing countries can benefit from Fairtrade, many more are still at the mercy of unpredictable market prices. When prices plummet, children can’t go to school, families go without food, and vital medicines become unaffordable. Making a donation helps to fight this. You can make a one-off or monthly payment of whatever you’re able to give, or for just £8 a month you’ll receive a ‘Box of Fairness’ four times a year, packed with Fairtrade treats, tips and recipes.
- Attend an event
The Fairtrade Foundation will be holding a number of special cocoa-themed events around the country during Fairtrade fortnight, including ‘The Story of Chocolate’, where a panel of guest speakers – including a female cocoa farmer from Côte d’Ivoire – will share inspirational stories about the importance of women taking leading roles in business and society. Find an event near you here.
- Stay up-to-date with Fairtrade’s work
Fairtrade Fortnight is all about raising awareness and making noise, so stay in the loop! Sign up to receive emails from the Fairtrade Foundation about events, offers, news and petitions, and follow all the latest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube – and remember to share their stories with your followers to help amplify their message!
The bottom line
The Fairtrade Foundation makes things fairer for everyone – farmers, suppliers, businesses and those that want to take action on the damaging farming practices that are contributing to climate change. Supporting Fairtrade means a better deal for us all – and that includes the planet.
We would love to hear your comments and stories about the issues raised in this article:
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