Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK Highlights the Importance of Fairtrade

The Fairtrade Fortnight that is on-going is the biggest campaign run by the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK. This year they are "asking the nation to show off about buying Fairtrade which offers 7.5 million people in the developing world a more secure future." Last year Fairtrade supporters got the UK making over one million and one swaps to Fairtrade products during Fairtrade Fortnight.

This year Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 28th Feb to 30th Mar and there are several ways in which supporters can show their enthusiasm. Supermarkets such as the Co-op are getting their staff to dress up and have introduced a discount of all Fairtrade products for this duration.

The demand for fairly traded products has increased dramatically in the last decade and this has been good news for the Fairtrade Foundation, which has been establishing commercial relationships between producers and buyers for the last nine years.

Food companies who sign up to a Fairtrade agreement guarantee their suppliers will be paid at least the global market value for their goods plus a Fairtrade premium, which is commonly spent on business development. For 7.5 million farmers, workers and their families, Fairtrades ensure they are able to survive through difficult times and plan for a better future.

In the midst of growing threats to food security, supporting farmers through initiatives like Fairtrade is essential. In Ireland, people are being asked to be proud and to show off their support for third world producers by joining the Show Off Your Label Campaign. Ireland has the highest number of Fairtrade Towns groups per capita of any country in the world.

Sales of Fairtrade products soared by 40% in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £1.17bn compared with £836m in 2009. UK shoppers are continuing to embrace Fairtrade, showing no downturn on ethical values despite the tough economic times.

Although the Fairtrade label is most commonly associated with tea, coffee, chocolate and other food products, the Fairtrade Foundations wants to extend this to other products in the near future. Wine has been the most recent addition and in the near future there will be Fairtrade certified gold. The world’s oldest jeweler Garrard; pioneer ethical jeweler CRED and luxury bespoke jeweller Harriet Kelsall are among the first 20 companies to launch the world’s first Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold. All Fairtrade jewellery is stamped with the Fairtrade Mark and Fairmined Mark, the stamp of reassurance that the miners are getting a better deal.

Photo Credit: Fairtrade Fortnight Poster. Fairtrade Foundation.