Sue Mann

22nd January 2022

On 21st February this year, Fairtrade Fortnight begins, when people come together to share stories of the people who grow our food and drinks, mine our gold and who grow the cotton for our clothes.  Often these workers are exploited and underpaid. During this fortnight we are encouraged to consider the impact our spending has on other people.

As a church we have committed to using Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar and we try to use Fairtrade biscuits when we can source them. At the moment we only seem to be able to get Fairtrade biscuits from Traidcraft but, perhaps, if we all write to our local supermarkets to request that they stock more of these biscuits, we might be able to be agents for positive change. It certainly worked with bananas several years ago.

In 2019, Fairtrade launched a campaign to enable a sustainable future for cocoa farmers by providing  them with a living income and, therefore,  an ability to cover all their cocoa farming costs  and their basic human rights,  such as a nutritious diet, children’s education and healthcare.

The Fairtrade Foundation says,

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us more than ever how interconnected we are globally. This interconnection is at the very heart of the Fairtrade message and is where your role begins. You are part of the Fairtrade movement, and you have the power to drive long-term change, not only with your shopping choices but with your support in spreading the message.

Fairtrade not only ensures a fair wage for the producers but it also has a positive effect on climate change. Speaking about their work in this respect, the Fairtrade Foundation, say:

Fairtrade is about social, economic and environmental justice. These are built into our standards and drive everything we do. A root cause of the inability to adapt to and mitigate climate change is poverty. More money in the hands of farmers is needed if they are to adapt and survive the climate crisis. Choosing Fairtrade fights for improvements in producers’ livelihoods with collective strength through co-ops and their bargaining power, the protection of a Minimum Price and Fairtrade Premiums.

During Fairtrade Fortnight, this year, we have the opportunity to engage with the online Festival, ‘Choose the World you Want’ which you can find by going to Fairtrade Fortnight – Fairtrade Foundation It encourages us not only to share the Fairtrade message but to keep up the pressure on those who  will be attending the COP27 in Cairo next year.

Last year’s festival saw campaigners, shoppers, students and businesses come together in a show of support for the farmers behind our food on the front line of the climate crisis. From online panels to bake-offs and coffee mornings over 50 virtual events took place as part of our virtual festival, with supporters sharing the power of Fairtrade and what needs to happen next to ensure farmers and workers are put front and centre of conversations on how to tackle the climate crisis.

I would love to hear of anything you decide to do for Fairtrade Fortnight. Please do send in any reports or photos for the website or magazine.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Take care and God bless,