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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.
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.
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.
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.
If I were to describe Fair Trade Lebanon in a couple of sentences, I would say it is an organisation that strives to preserve and valorise the traditional Lebanese know-how of food preservation and transform it into an income-generating activity. With the help of other NGOs, Fair Trade Lebanon provides technical training to residents of villages, helps them to form co-operatives and use their know-how to come up with products that achieve export standards and are easily marketable. Along this journey, Fair Trade Lebanon also teaches co-operatives to work according to the values of fair trade, such as transparency, accountability and fair compensation. Finally, it conducts all marketing activities, from packaging to finding markets to exporting.
Today marks the launch of Fairtrade Fortnight and the Make Bananas Fair campaign. Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, explains why we need to make sure all bananas are sourced fairly and ethically in the UK.
A recent report has revealed that gold from conflict zones is entering gold markets illegally. Allan Bond of BT Global Services recently travelled to Tanzania with a group of BT employees to see the difference that Fairtrade gold is making to a small group of artisanal miners in Geita.
This week marks the start of the Fairtrade Foundation’s Make Bananas Fair campaign – a campaign targeted at government to intervene in supermarket pricing practices.
This Monday saw the world’s first ever Fairtrade banana billboard unveiled on Clapham Common to mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight. Martine Parry, Media Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, explains the thinking behind the 5,000 banana-studded stunt.
Find answers to some of the questions that are frequently asked about Fairtrade.
Ever wondered how many farmers and workers are involved with Fairtrade? Or how the Fairtrade Premium is used? Here's a snapshot from our latest data.
With Fairtrade you have the power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices you can get farmers a better deal. And that means they can make their own decisions, control their futures and lead the dignified life everyone deserves.