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The reality behind ‘bananageddon’

‘Bananageddon’ is a word that has been bandied around this weekend in national newspapers, ahead of an upcoming report from the United Nations (UN) on the spread of Panama disease across banana farms and the devastating effect it is having on farmers. Here Martine Parry, Fairtrade Foundation Media and Public Relations Manager, explains why the reality behind the bananageddon headlines is far from sensational as thousands of farmers struggle to contain this destructive disease.

From cotton fields to cutting floors: it’s time to revolutionise the fashion industry

Rachel Hearson, Fairtrade Foundation Account Manager for Major Retailers Cotton, recounts her own personal journey into the lives of cotton farming communities and speaks about how UK shoppers are now demanding that the people making their clothes get a fair deal.

Fash Mob takes over Carnaby Street

Yesterday, Thursday 24 April, saw fashion students from across London gather on Carnaby Street – one of the most famous fashion streets in the world – to campaign for a more sustainable fashion industry as part of Fashion Revolution Day.

From the cotton field upwards: recognising accountability in the fashion industry

GS Rao is the State Co-ordinator for Chetna Organic for their farmers in the state of Odisha, in the east of India. He represents more than 3,000 smallholder tribal farmers, belonging to 4 organic and Fairtrade cotton farmer cooperatives in Odisha, one of the poorest states in India. Here, he describes why Fashion Revolution Day is a trigger for a more harmonious supply chain.

Following the thread: the start of a Fashion Revolution

Orsola de Castro is creative director at fashion label From Somewhere, which makes clothes from recycled off cuts of luxury materials. She is also co-founder and co-curator of Estethica at London Fashion Week and a co-founder of Fashion Revolution Day.  Here Orsola reflects on why following the thread in our clothes from beginning to end is vital and why we need a revolution in fashion.

How to save chocolate

The looming chocolate shortage is making headlines around the globe. Terrible, nightmarish forecasts predict a dark future – a future in which the chocolate we now enjoy will be expensive as caviar, and the rest of us will have to be content with “chocolate” containing so little cocoa that it actually bends.

Farming in an occupied land

A couple of weeks ago I helped lead a group from the UK on a tour of the West Bank, visiting Fairtrade farmers and learning something about how the Israeli occupation affects the lives of Palestinians. The tour was organised by Zaytoun, the Community Interest Company that imports delicious olive oil, dates, maftoul and almonds from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Zaytoun celebrates its 10th birthday this week.

Influencing positive EU change over breakfast

In a previous life I worked with community groups raising money to support people living with dementia. Their passion stemmed from watching their beloved family members change in front of their eyes, ravaged by a disease with no cure. Before working for Fairtrade, I thought the depth of feeling couldn’t be as strong, as the beneficiaries of the Fairtrade system are so geographically removed from campaigners in the UK. I was wrong. The UK has one of the most powerful networks of Fairtrade campaigners, volunteering their time in towns, schools and places of worship to promote Fairtrade products and values throughout the community. Their passion for the farmers and workers who produce our favourite products is overwhelming.

The future of Fairtrade

Back in 1994, the year that the FAIRTRADE Mark launched in the UK, I was working in southern Africa. After years when civil war seemed inevitable, there was a tangible sense that hope and peace would triumph over despair, as the era of Apartheid came to an end. That same spirit of optimism was present too when three far-sighted brands – Green & Blacks, Cafédirect and Clipper tea – offered the first Fairtrade certified products in the UK.