Fairtrade Fortnight 2015, 23 February – 8 March, will celebrate the power of everyday choices by telling the other half of a product’s story – the producer’s – to show the difference Fairtrade makes.
Over the past 20 years, the FAIRTRADE mark has become the best known ethical label in the UK. The Fairtrade movement has generated significant economic benefits for farmers and workers around the world, from cocoa growers in Ghana to sugar farmers in Belize[i]. In 2015, the Fairtrade Foundation wants to see more people choosing products that change lives – so that greater impact can be achieved over the next 20 years and beyond.
70% of the world’s food is produced by 500 million smallholder farmers[ii] yet many of them can’t feed their families. And many farmers who are part of the Fairtrade system are still not selling all their produce as Fairtrade to work their way out of real poverty. For example, tea growers are selling less than 10% of total production as Fairtrade.[iii]
Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 will turn the spotlight on the famers and workers who grow our favourite food, and share their compelling stories, to remind everyone of the dramatic difference Fairtrade makes and why it is still needed.
It will focus on cocoa, tea and sugar – in new case studies, a brand new short film and a marketing campaign. Consumers will be asked to make the connection between them brewing a cup of tea and a farmer’s son being able to attend school as a result – and learn how their individual shopping choices can affect the lives of others.
Cheryl McGechie, Director of Public Engagement at the Fairtrade Foundation, said:
“People buying products with the FAIRTRADE Mark is one of the most powerful ways Fairtrade delivers impact for producers. More sales on Fairtrade terms means more Fairtrade benefits for farmers, workers and their communities – and more lives transformed.
“Global trade is not working for the world’s poorest. The ongoing price war between supermarkets is one of the major reasons why farmers in developing countries still can’t afford to put enough food on the table for their families, or provide the basics such as education or healthcare.
“Fairtrade has paved the way for ethical trading but we – shoppers – need to keep driving the benefits for the smallholder farmers, particularly those not selling on Fairtrade terms, so they can provide a better future for themselves and their families.”
Mario Mantagna, Sri Lankan tea farmer said: “When you buy Fairtrade tea, I notice. Thanks to the premium price I get, we’ve been able to build a school in my village”.
Fairtrade ensures farmers across the developing world receive a stable price for their product, as well as an additional Fairtrade Premium, used by producers and workers to invest in their communities – whether that’s building a school or hospital, or investing in better environmental farming methods.
According to a recent Fairtrade Foundation’s survey of over 2,000 Brits, a resounding 99 per cent respondents considered themselves fair. [iv]
Cheryl McGechie explained: “British public has already showed their strong belief in fairness and their appetite to be fair – for Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 we are following this through and inviting them to demonstrate that sense of fairness by choosing products that change lives more often.
“Our campaign will be aspirational, inspirational and future-looking. It is simply trying to get us all to understand more about what lies behind our everyday shopping – when you’re demolishing a bar of chocolate, you’re helping a cocoa grower pay for their child’s school fees.”
There are more than 4,500 Fairtrade products available, from artisanal chocolates to the tea and coffee that gets us through the working day.
During Fairtrade Fortnight, thousands of campaigners around the UK will be organising film screenings to help strengthen awareness about Fairtrade in their communities, as well as calling on businesses and cafes to take part in the ‘Stock It’ challenge to switch to Fairtrade.
For more information about Fairtrade Fortnight 2015, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/fortnight.
[i] 1.4 million farmers and workers in the Fairtrade system (over 1.2 million farmers; 187,500 workers); €86 million estimated Fairtrade Premium paid in 2013; Fairtrade International Annual Report 2013 – 2014 (page 3)
[ii] Powering up smallholder farmers to make food fair, February 2013 (page 12) from ETC Group, Who Will Feed Us?: Questions for the food and climate crises, November 2009; (page 4) from International Assessment of Agricultural Science Technology for Development (IAASTD) Global Report Agriculture at a Crossroads, 2008
[iii] This is average for the tea sector, Fairtrade International M&E (Monitoring the scope and benefits of Fairtrade, p.84. http://www.fairtrade.net/fileadmin/user_upload/content/2009/resources/2013-Fairtrade-Monitoring-Scope-Benefits_web.pdf
[iv] Survey carried out by The Fairtrade Foundation with 2,046 adults in August and September 2014,http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/media-centre/news/september-2014/brits-are-not-as-fair-as-they-think-they-are.