05 Jul Fairtrade Fortnight Fundraising 2018 – Results
Devoted readers (so, all of you right?) will remember that back in February we attended the Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK, and put the call out to help us raise funds for the Fairtrade Foundation. Thanks to our supporters’ generosity, FAIR contributed to Fairtrade’s overall £70K fundraising for the Foundation’s work around the world. YAY GO YOU ALL! Then we thought, I wonder if everyone is even that familiar with the Foundation and what they do? And if not, do they want to be? If so, should we be the ones to introduce them? You can see how our train of thought would have gone on and on until we got to this point: here is an interview with Duncan Gates and Stephanie Wong, the Business Engagement Officer and Public Fundraising Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation. It’s time we all know exactly what they do and how we can all do our own little bit to further the mission of Fairtrade.
FAIR: Thank you both for sitting down to chat with us. Let’s start simple: in only one sentence, can you describe what the Fairtrade Foundation does?
Duncan: We’re a UK charity that supports the international Fairtrade movement by certifying products to high standards, raising awareness for making trade fair, and encouraging people to buy Fairtrade, lobby for Fairtrade, and donate to Fairtrade to make it all happen!
F: What is your broader mission, or why do you exist?
D: To bring fairer trade across the global supply chain, so that farmers aren’t exploited for the crops they grow.
F: How does your work or your mission directly affect the people working in co-ops?
D: Without Fairtrade, farmers would not get a minimum price for the food they work so hard to produce. By becoming Fairtrade certified, co-ops can get this minimum price as well as a ‘premium’, an additional amount of income that the co-op can invest in what’s best for their communities. This includes schools, hospitals, training, sanitation, healthcare, and much more! The choice is up to them, which is part of empowering communities.
F: During the Fairtrade Fortnight, FAIR raised money for the Fairtrade Foundation: why is that money important and how will it be used?
Stephanie: We’re so thankful for our amazing partners like FAIR! Together we’re trying to stop unfair trade, for good. The money raised helps us invest in supporting farmers’ lives and communities. Donations allow all of us at Fairtrade to enable farmers to become part of the Fairtrade movement and give them the support they need to become Fairtrade certified and get a fair price for their produce. With the additional income this provides, farmers can invest in their businesses and communities, become independent, earn enough to feed their families, and begin to break out of poverty.
F: We’re so glad the money raised is being used so well! Why do you think the average person should care about buying Fairtrade?
S: In the UK, we’re really starting to care more about our footprint, and the effect that our consumption has on the world. Because of the nature of how information is being shared, it’s getting harder to hide unfair practices that belittle and exploit farmers; farmers who, in the past, we didn’t even think twice about. The more people that buy Fairtrade, for example in your weekly grocery shop or buying Fairtrade coffee before work, the higher the demand for Fairtrade produce, and the more income farmers receive to put food on the table. The more transparent we become in shedding light on the problem, the more people will see how they can help end it. The Fairtrade movement has been around for over 20 years and has improved the lives of many, but we know there is so much more to do. There are still so many farmers that need support in becoming Fairtrade or selling more Fairtrade.
F: So there is a still lot more to do. What are three simple steps you’d give to someone who wants to buy Fairtrade products but isn’t sure where start?
S: It’s actually a lot easier than you think!
- Start with your staples—buy products with the FAIRTRADE Mark, such as coffee, tea, bananas, and lots more! They are in a lot of supermarkets and even bodegas in the states now, you just need to spend an extra minute checking for the mark.
- If you find a product you like, share it with friends and encourage them to buy Fairtrade. People tend to buy things that are recommended by someone they know, so start spreading the word!
- Feeling excited and want to branch out? Why not support newer fair trade produce like Fairtrade Cotton and Fairtrade Flowers!
Learn more about how to get involved at www.fairtrade.org.uk
F: And finally, what are five Fairtrade brands killing it at the moment?