Celebrating 20 years of the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK

Child clapping

- Top celebrities send birthday congratulations

Some of the UK’s best-known faces have congratulated the Fairtrade Foundation on 20 years of Fairtrade products in the UK this year.

Actress Zoe Wannamaker CBE, DJ Sara Cox and presenter Amanda Holden are among dozens who have sent birthday wishes to the Foundation, marking two decades since the launch of the FAIRTRADE Mark on UK shelves.

Throughout 2014 the Fairtrade Foundation and supporters will be hosting events to mark the anniversary, assessing the achievements to date and the opportunities and challenges ahead, are set to take place around the country, culminating in a major multi-stakeholder conference in the Autumn at a London venue (details to be released later in 2014).

Zoë Wanamaker CBE said: ‘Throughout its history, the Fairtrade Foundation has been at the forefront in advocating a better deal and price for farmers and workers around the world. In its work in 70 countries around the world, and its campaigning to encourage us here in the UK to buy fairly traded products for every day of its 20 year-existence, it has made a huge difference. I wish it many happy returns.’

Broadcaster and gardener Alan Titchmarsh MBE DL added: ‘As someone who spends much of my time outdoors, I know the value of fresh produce. That's why I'm so glad the Fairtrade Foundation has been there since 1994 to help farmers access a good price for the crops and a better deal for everyone. Many happy returns.’

From its modest beginnings in 1994 with one chocolate, one coffee and one tea on shop shelves, Fairtrade has grown to 450 companies now licensed to trade 4,500 Fairtrade products in the UK, ranging from traditional commodities such as coffee and tea, to cotton, raisins, spices, cut flowers, cakes and gold jewellery.  Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark has risen from 25% in 2003 to 78% in 2013 through the vibrant and active grassroots social movement in the Fairtrade communities of now over 560 Fairtrade Towns, 1050 Fairtrade schools, 170 universities and colleges and 7,000 Faith groups.   And, most importantly, 697 producer groups from 60 different countries are now benefitting from supplying the UK with Fairtrade produce .

Actress Cheska Hull, who visited Fairtrade farmers in Ghana recently, says she is proud to support Fairtrade in its 20th year in the UK: ‘Happy Birthday Fairtrade! It was great meeting Fairtrade producer groups first hand recently. I saw how the Fairtrade system has provided them with a vital international market and standards which help bring about community development over the last 20 years. As someone who has grown up with Fairtrade, I feel really proud to now be able to tell more about how important it is to continue to support disadvantaged farmers and workers from around the world.’

The 2014 year-long programme will seek to bolster  affinity and engagement with Fairtrade’s values, impact and ambition for the future as well as to inspire continued purchase of Fairtrade products and increased public interest in campaigning for change in trading relations.

‘When the first products with the FAIRTRADE Mark appeared twenty years ago, industry commentators predicted a temporary fad that wouldn't last or become mainstream. Today Fairtrade is part of the fabric of British society and the leading ethical label in the UK and the world ,’ says Barbara Crowther, Director of Policy and Public Affairs.  ‘We are proud it is also the only ethical certification that is co-owned by producers in developing countries. With that comes even more responsibility to drive even greater impact for small scale farmers and workers, and our 20th anniversary is a time to recommit to greater transformative change for the future.’

Among those who have sent the first birthday messages are some of the UK’s top celebrities:

Model Tali Lennox said: 'I’m lucky enough to have travelled all over the world with my job and my family and I know how important it is for workers to be able to trade fairly, globally. That’s why the FAIRTRADE Mark is so important to me. Happy 20th Anniversary Fairtrade Foundation! Keep up the good work.'

Actress and Presenter Amanda Holden said: ‘Happy birthday Fairtrade! You should be proud of the work you’ve done over the past twenty years and I am proud to support an organisation that is working for a better deal for farmers across the developing world.’

Actress Sarah Parish said: 'Every time I go shopping for groceries, if I can buy a product with the FAIRTRADE Mark on it, I try and do that. It's great to know the organisation has made such a difference to farmers and workers all over the world, for the past twenty years. I wish it a very Happy Birthday.'

Radio DJ and TV presenter Sara Cox said: 'Happy Birthday, Fairtrade! Ever since I bought my first chocolate bar with the FAIRTRADE Mark, and now learning that the organisation has helped 1.3m farmers and workers around the world, I am happy to keep supporting it and encourage others to do the same.'

Singer Beverley Knight MBE said:  'I've been lucky enough to travel to Africa and South America to see how integral farming is to their way of life. Seeing how Fairtrade works over there and here in the UK makes me a big supporter. I wish the Fairtrade Foundation a happy birthday, and big success over the next 20 years!'

Cheska Hull, who stars in Made In Chelsea and supported the Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 campaign by handing in a petition on behalf of smallholder farmers to 10 Downing Street, visited Ghana at the end of 2013.  She met farmers from Kuapa Kokoo, the 50,000 strong cocoa farmers’ co-operative which co-owns the Fairtrade chocolate brand Divine.  Women farmers there were particularly keen to tell Cheska that, at Kuapa Kokoo, boosting the position, confidence and standing of women farmers, who make up a third of the total membership, is a priority. The co-operative is determined that women will develop the self-assurance to take on leadership roles.

Diane Afra, mid-30s, who has three children attending a school paid for by the farmers through the Fairtrade premium said: 'Before I came to Kuapa Kokoo, I didn’t have much education. I have now been trained on how to manage my small farm by myself and I am able to maintain it.'

Her neighbour Mary Obeng Serwo talked passionately about how life in the village has changed with Kuapa Kokoo and Fairtrade. 'We had no one to talk for us. Now we women have a voice. We have a better standard of living. This is how far we have travelled,' she said. 

It is the telling of stories of producers like these that will be central to celebrating 20 years of the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK.

For more information, contact the media team media@fairtrade.org.uk / 020 7440 7692

Notes to Editors
The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.3 million people – farmers and workers – benefit. Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2012 reached £1.57 billion, compared with £45 million in 2002 (sales figures for 2013 will be released at the end of February for Fairtrade Fortnight.
• People in the UK drank 2bn cups of Fairtrade coffee, ate 1.3bn bananas and drunk 3.2 cups of tea in 2012
• One in every 3 bananas sold in the UK is Fairtrade
• 44 per cent of bagged sugar sold in the UK is Fairtrade certified
• 25 percent of all roast and ground retail coffee in the UK is Fairtrade certified