As we look ahead to Fairtrade Fortnight next week, we’re reflecting on some of the reasons why buying Fairtrade products and supporting producers is so important. This was summed up perfectly by Hannah Kelly, a student at the University of Lincoln, during Fairtrade Fortnight 2019.
“There are many reasons why it is important to buy Fairtrade. There is a wide range of Fairtrade products on the market. For example, bananas, coffee, sugar, cotton, and even gold. Making the swap to fair trade products benefits the environment, communities all around the world, and the 1.65 million farmers and workers, and their families, in Fairtrade certified producer organisations.
“Fairtrade offers a minimum price to producers which acts as a safety net. This means that if prices in the global market drop below this level, farmers will still receive a fair price. This is important as it helps keep the farmers/workers and their families out of poverty and gives greater financial security enabling them to plan for their future. This could be planning for their children’s education, or buying a house, or even planning to set up their own business.
“In addition to this, a Fairtrade Premium is also into a communal fund for the farmers to use how they see fit. 26% of worker spend their Premiums on education which helps to break the cycle of poverty. Farmers could also spend their Premium on healthcare or improving infrastructure. However the Premium is spent it improves the lives of workers and their families.
“It is much better for the environment. This is because within the Fairtrade standards there are a number of criteria that farmers must meet in relation to the environment. One of the criteria is that the use of potentially hazardous chemical fertilizers is minimised. This is important because it reduces the amount of chemicals in the rivers and the water cycle as a whole. The true extent of the long-term effects of chemical fertilisers and pesticides on a person’s health are not known but its suggested that the use of pesticides negatively affects a person’s nervous system and could cause cancer. Ensuring that these chemicals are minimised helps the communities and ecosystems that rely on rivers and streams near plantations. Other criteria include the obligation to source water sustainably and reduce water use as much as possible. In Asia where cotton is grown for the fashion industry, entire lakes and seas have been drained to provide water to the crops. This has had a devastating effect on local communities as many have had to move away as the water shortage also meant there was a food shortage. Sourcing and using water responsibly help to prevent problems like this in the future.
“It helps to keep children in school. Fairtrade organisations have a zero-tolerance policy on child labour. Children under the age of 18 cannot work if it threatens their schooling and children under the age of 15 can’t be employed. This is important as an education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty. A good education also ensures that the doctors, lawyers, and engineers of the future are trained. This has a positive impact on the lives of the individuals, but also the community as a whole.
In conclusion, I think it is important to buy Fairtrade because it improves the lives of so many people and communities around the world by providing them with financial security, a fair wage, and an education for their children. Fairtrade is also important to reduce the environmental impact of producing the goods we consume on a daily basis. Buying Fairtrade is important because it can change the world we live in.”
By Hannah Kelly, University of Lincoln, Student, March 2019
Fairtrade Fortnight is taking place from Monday 24th February 2020 until Sunday 8th March. You can follow our social media accounts to keep track of Fairtrade events across the City during this time.
Lincoln has renewed its Fairtrade Status for a further two years to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions.
Since 2012, Lincoln has retained the status of a Fairtrade City to contribute to the 7 million people including producers, workers and their families who have benefited from Fairtrade.
City of Lincoln Council has five goals to support the movement, which include serving Fairtrade products, ensuring at least four Fairtrade product ranges are readily available in local retail outlets, ensuring local work places and community organisations support Fairtrade, raising awareness and understanding of Fairtrade across the community, and having regular meetings in the Fairtrade Steering Group.
Councillor Gary Hewson, City of Lincoln Council’s Fairtrade spokesperson, said: “We are delighted that Lincoln has retained its status as a Fairtrade City to continue to support the international farming industry for a further two years.
“City of Lincoln Council and the Lincoln Fairtrade City Steering Group has shown its continued dedication by supporting Fairtrade, from coffee mornings to fun and games, in order to engage the community and get them involved in the movement.
“One of City of Lincoln Council’s priorities is to reduce inequality in the city and we want to extend that globally as well as locally to reach the vision of a world where justice and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices.”
Next week marks the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight (26 February – 11 March), this event is held nationally in order to make people aware of the plight of farmers and other workers who put food on our plates every day. Fairtrade products are those which come from farms or other workplaces where the staff are treated fairly, paid a good wage and work in good conditions.
Since 2012, Lincoln has retained the status of a Fairtrade City and it is one as a council wish to still hold in the years to come. By supporting Fairtrade, you can ensure that these farmers and workers are able to fulfil a basic human need – to put enough food on the table for themselves and their families, all year round.
As part of the fortnight, City of Lincoln Council and other organisations in the city will be involved in promoting the benefits of Fairtrade products.
On March 2, St Mary Le Wigford Church Community Hall will host an event in order to promote the importance of Fairtrade in the city. This event will include and interactive giant-sized snakes and ladders with a Fairtrade theme, free cups of Fairtrade tea and coffee, Fairtrade produce stalls and Fairtrade bananas donated by the Lincolnshire Co-op.
City Hall will also have a stand in main reception from Monday 26 February, which will have information about Fairtrade Fortnight. We are also encouraging members of the staff and the public to take pictures of how they are supporting Fairtrade Fortnight whether it’s attending events taking place in the city or buying Fairtrade food. Any photos taken use the hashtag #lincolnfairtrade
Posters and leaflets will also be made available at Bracebridge, Sudbrooke Drive and St. Giles community centres, along with some shops around Lincoln.
More information about the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign can be found at the Fairtrade Foundation website here: https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/Get-Involved/Current-campaigns/Fairtrade-Fortnight