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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Happy Birthday Fairtrade Foundation’s 25th Birthday

This year marks a special year for Fairtrade as it’s the Fairtrade Foundation’s 25th birthday and it’s also Traidcraft’s 40th birthday. Perhaps later in the year we can mark these events suitably, but for now I would just like to say a big “thank you” for continuing to support the Fairtrade stall and Traidcraft’s work. If you’re looking for Easter eggs, please also look out for the Fairtrade mark.

This year, the Fairtrade Foundation continues to focus on the “She Deserves Campaign”, which it began last year. This looks at women in food production, who often do most of the work, but are not financially rewarded in the same way as men. I’ve included some case studies about chocolate and coffee production below and how Fairtrade is helping in the coronavirus crisis.

So thank you to all of you who regularly support the Fairtrade stall and look for Fairtrade when you are out shopping; know that your money helps support many Fairtrade cooperatives around the world. Over the past year, with the monthly Fairtrade stalls at church, as well as the Spring Fair, Eco Fair and Christmas Fair at the home of Leigh Road Baptist Church, Leigh-on-Sea, you’ve helped raise a fantastic £1,310.62, all of which has gone straight back into purchasing more Traidcraft and Fairtrade items for the stall, so on behalf of Fairtrade farmers and artisans – a huge thank you!

How Fairtrade is helping in the coronavirus crisis

Many farmers and agricultural workers in the global South are already beginning to feel the economic effects of COVID-19. In response, the Fairtrade Standards Committee issued new guidance on 27 March 2020 that apply to all types of Fairtrade-certified producers, from small-scale farmer co-operatives to larger farms with a hired workforce.

The new guidance enables Fairtrade-certified producer organisations to make decisions and act quickly to keep farmers and workers safe or provide needed extra income during this uncertain time.

The Story behind chocolate

This year Fairtrade’s nationwide ‘She Deserves’ campaign highlights the hidden inequality experienced by the women and girls behind the multi-billion global chocolate industry. In West Africa, where 60% of the world’s cocoa is grown, the average woman cocoa farmer earns as little as 23p a day.

Fairtrade’s industry-leading standards, innovative programmes and ground-breaking research are changing this for those in Fairtrade Cooperatives. Fairtrade is striving towards equality for women and is enabling women farmers to earn better incomes and become leaders in their fields.

The Story behind coffee

In rural Kenya, women typically do an estimated 70% of the work in the home and on the farms, but until recently only men received any form of payment.

A few male members in a Fairtrade cooperative in the Nandi Hills in Kenya set up the “Women In Coffee” scheme whereby husbands give a minimum of 50 coffee bushes (around 25% of what they own) to their wives. This means women can now register as members of cooperative societies, open bank accounts and receive a direct income for the work they do.

Fairtrade studies have also shown generally that when more income goes to women, the whole community benefits, as women are more likely to spend their money on the welfare of their children or other dependants.

They can also spend Fairtrade Premium funds more flexibly to minimise the spread of disease, such as by purchasing and distributing face masks or other personal protective equipment, or by implementing health and hygiene campaigns.

In Côte d’Ivoire, despite carrying out 68% of the labour, which involves planting and harvesting, hacking cocoa pods, fermenting, drying and bagging up the cocoa beans, as well as domestic duties at home, women have fewer rights than men, get less money than men and are often landless.

The “Women In Coffee” scheme has been so successful there are now more than 500 smallholder women coffee farmers, who own an average of 250 coffee bushes each. The women coffee farmers are now producing almost double the amount of coffee cherries per bush than men, and this increase in productivity continues to rise. Plus, more than 70% of the coffee they produce is now of premium quality because of their hard work and dedication.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Fairtrade Foundation beats snow to Leigh-on-Sea to bring the importance of Fairtrade to many lives around the world.

Sarah Brazier, Fairtrade Foundation. Darrell Binding, Coop Member Pioneer, Leigh-on-Sea. Gina Cox, Leigh Road Baptist Social Justice Network and Southend-on-Sea Fairtrade Network.
On Sunday 25th February, Oasis Coffee House, 189 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea hosted a Fairtrade event at the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, which attended by a full house.

Sarah Brazier from the Fairtrade Foundation came to give a talk about Fairtrade and the difference it makes for farming communities who produce our food in the global south. Without Fairtrade, farmers from the global south, who produce the food that we buy from supermarkets, are often those that do not earn enough to feed their own families.
Sarah gave the example of the Coobana Cooperative in Panama, who for many years struggled producing bananas and getting a fair price for their crop. Now they are Fairtrade certified it has made a huge difference to their economic security in the global market, and to their community with improved housing for farmers, children able to afford to attend school and college, and improved working conditions and increased productivity for banana farmers in the cooperative.
“It is our choices on what to buy when shopping that make a very real difference to people like you and I all around the world.  We urge people to choose products with the Fairtrade mark and to ask shops to stock Fairtrade products, where they are not apparent – the consumers power really is king in making the difference.” said Gina Cox member of Leigh Road Baptist Church and Southend-on-Sea Fairtrade Network who organised the event.
Fairtrade is good news for farmers and artisans, however it relies on demand from consumers in the West to make it a continuing success. Only one third of bananas sold in the UK is Fairtrade.
The Coop Food has always been a pioneer of Fairtrade products and were the first supermarket in the UK to have 100% Fairtrade bananas in their stores. Darrell Binding is the Coop Member Pioneer, Leigh-on-Sea and he gave a short talk on the evening about Coop and his role in the community.
The local Leigh Road Coop Food store also supplied the evening with a great display of their Fairtrade goods including Fairtrade Easter eggs, flowers, wine and cotton wool, as well as tea, coffee, chocolate and sugar. Thanks also to Divine Chocolate, Tropical Wholefoods and Esquires coffee shops who sent us Fairtrade freebies for people to try during the evening.
A Fairtrade hamper was also won in a free prize draw, and those attending were also were given a Fairtrade  picture quiz to identify various food crops such as cocoa and sugar cane in their raw form. Many thanks to all those who braved the cold weather to attend the Fairtrade event, and please continue to look for the Fairtrade mark when you next shop.

More information about Fairtrade across the Borough can be found at www.fairtradeleigh.org.uk and www.facebook.com/SOSFairtrade

Monday, 3 July 2017

Sainsbury's 'Fairly Traded' tea - Sign the petition

You may have seen in the news recently that Sainsbury’s have decided to drop the FAIRTRADE Mark from their own-brand tea and replace it with their own ‘Fairly Traded’ label.

It means their Red and Gold Label, Green and Rooibos teas are no longer Fairtrade certified. Sainsbury’s are piloting a self-run sustainability scheme instead, and these are the first products launched as part of it.

Sainsbury’s asked the Fairtrade Foundation to work with them on their scheme, but we have some major concerns about it. You can read our statement here.

They include the fact that the farmers who grow their ‘Fairly Traded’ tea do not have a fair say in how the scheme is run. They will not be allowed to decide themselves how they invest the cash bonus they get on top of what they earn for their tea (similar to the Fairtrade Premium). Instead, the money will be held by Sainsbury’s, who have told farmers they have to apply to a board in London to find out if they can have it. 
Over 220,000 tea producers stand to be affected by the change, and those we have spoken to are deeply dismayed. Fairtrade farmers have written an open letter to Sainsbury’s making it clear how unhappy they are:    
‘We told Sainsbury’s loud and clear: your model will bring about disempowerment. We are extremely concerned about the power and control that Sainsbury’s seeks to exert over us.’

Another major concern is how the ‘Fairly Traded’ label on their own-brand tea could be misleading customers. It is very clearly written on the front of packs but the tea is not independently Fairtrade certified, it is self-accredited by Sainsbury’s.

Sainsbury’s are the largest retailer of Fairtrade products in the UK, and have proudly supported it for many years, with thousands of farmers and workers relying on their business. That’s why we’re hopeful that through discussions we can still persuade them to change their approach.

If you would like to show Sainsbury’s how much you support Fairtrade, you can sign the Change.org petition set up by Barbara Gwinnett, a long-time Fairtrade campaigner and Chair of Wolverhampton Fairtrade Partnership. 

It’s being backed by Oxfam, Christian Aid, CAFOD, Traidcraft Exchange and Tearfund who have been publicly sharing their concerns about the scheme with Sainsbury’s too.
We’ll be in touch soon. 

Thank you for your support,
Jonathan Smith
Head of Campaigns, Fairtrade Foundation

Monday, 20 February 2017

Fairtrade Fortnight is coming

Fairtrade Fortnight is fast approaching, and this year it comes with an unprecedented opportunity for the UK to champion the fairer trade needed to lift millions out of poverty.

As the government prepares to trigger Article 50 and begin negotiating the terms on which we leave the EU, they will want to secure the best trade agreements for the UK. But if we’re going to be, in the words of Prime Minister Theresa May, a ‘great global trading nation’, our deals have to work for everyone.

There is a massive risk that in the rush to negotiate Brexit, vulnerable and voiceless farmers and workers from the poorest countries could be forgotten. Can you email your MP 
to ensure the farmers who grow the food we love won’t be forgotten?

If you haven't already invited your MP to attend an a Fairtrade Fortnight event, it's worth letting them know in your email what you'll be up to so they are aware of the support from their constituents. If you'd like to know a bit more about the campaign you can find more information here

Fairtrade Fortnight latest updates

You'll find new church resourcesproducer images and quotes with other materials on the resource library, and most items in the shop are still available to order for Fairtrade Fortnight. The last few offers from businesses to support your events are also available while stocks last!

We would love to hear what you have planned for Fairtrade Fortnight so that we can showcase Fairtrade Breaks from across the UK during Fairtrade Fortnight - please drop us a line to let us know your plans - and don't forget to add your public events to the online event map to advertise them to new potential supporters.