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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.

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.

Fair Trade Lebanon visits 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.

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.

The Fairtrade Mark at 20: looking back on where we’ve come

As the Fairtrade Foundation celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Fairtrade Mark, Ian Bretman, independent advisor to three Fairtrade Producer Networks, takes a look back.

We place a value on the choice we have to build ethics into our baskets

As part of a series of blogs exploring the value consumers place on ethical credentials, the Fairtrade Foundation’s Director of Public Engagement, Cheryl McGechie, kick-starts the discussion by asking how high you put responsibly sourced products on your shopping list… and what’s the value?

Is cheapest always best? Can cheapest ever be best?

As part of a series of blogs looking at the value consumers place on ethical credentials, Brad Hill, Fairtrade Strategy Development Manager at the Co-operative Group, asks us to take a journey back to the source of the things we buy...

Remembering Dennis Turner, the Lord Bilston.

In February 2014 the Chairman of Wolverhampton City Fairtrade Partnership, Dennis Turner (Lord Bilston) sadly died from cancer.  As MP for Bilston he had been instrumental in launching the City’s bid for Fairtrade status in 2003.  When the City achieved that status in 2004, he took on the role of chairman of the Partnership and served in that capacity until a month before his death.