Called “Fairtrade at 20: The Power of You”, the free exhibition will run for three weeks, and through images of farmers and producers illustrates the history of the Fairtrade movement which also includes consumers, campaigners and fairtrade organisations.
Emerging from persistent appeals for fairness in trade from Mexican small-scale coffee farmers, in 1994 a crusading group of NGOs, charities and trade campaigners came up with an idea. The FAIRTRADE Mark was born, and the first three Fairtrade certified products hit UK shops: Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate, Cafédirect coffee, and Clipper tea.
Products carrying the new FAIRTRADE Mark promised a better deal for the farmers growing the ingredients, an agreed price plus Fairtrade Premium towards their communities and businesses. Twenty years later, Fairtrade is a household name, with the Mark on over 4,500 products, and part of a unique and truly global movement.
This exclusive collection of images has been drawn from our photographic archives with the help of curator, photographer and photo journalist Jon Levy. It pays tribute to both the farmers and workers in the Fairtrade system – those who produce so many of the things we enjoy every day – and those in the UK who have long championed the cause and need for trade justice.
The exhibition offers a small snapshot of the lives of coffee farmers and sugar growers, banana workers and tea pickers, artisanal miners and cotton producers, who are now able to combine their power more directly with the ordinary shoppers, campaigners and businesses in the UK towards a common vision. A vision in which those we rely on for so many of the everyday products in our lives can get a fairer deal from global trade, and build a better future as a result.
While much of this exhibition is a retrospective of the past two decades, it also looks towards the next 20 years: from the future generation of shoppers and campaigners who are now part of a growing Fairtrade schools movement, to the children safely born in a proper maternity hospital in Mali or able to go to school in new classrooms in Ghana, powered by Fairtrade Premiums from the products we buy today.
Examples of some of the photography on show:
Fairtrade at 20: The Power of You, 3 June – 22 June, Monday - Saturday: 10am - 8pm.
The Guardian Gallery, Kings Place, 90 York Way London (3 min walk from Kings Cross Station)