By Emily Pearce, Fairtrade Officer

Fairtrade is incredibly important to us as a community retailer – and we’re proud to have supported since its formation in 1994. It’s a global movement for trade justice. By supporting Fairtrade – whether that be as a small purchase, or a big company commitment, it leads to a bigger change for producers and their communities around the world. Fairtrade is a mechanism to change lives as people are empowered by trade, not aid, and are given the tools to help themselves and strengthen their own communities.

I’ve worked in ethics and sustainability for over a decade. In my role I’m responsible for implementing the development and delivery of our Fairtrade strategy, so I was really excited to be a part of the In It Together podcast this week. In this episode, I joined Yasmin Evans and Tess Ward, chef and Fairtrade Ambassador, to discuss what Fairtrade really means for people, how it brings global communities together and why it’s so important.

Fairtrade – The Gold Standard

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against vulnerable producers at the bottom of supply chains. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

There are a number of ethical schemes in the market place, however, in our opinion – and reaffirmed by the producers who we’ve visited –- Fairtrade remains the gold standard in ethical certification. Fairtrade is so much more than paying producers fairly for a product or ingredient; through the Fairtrade Standards, Minimum Price, social Premium, producer voice and campaigners, it delivers a unique proposition. Only Fairtrade guarantees all of the below:

  • pays producers fairly, guaranteeing them a fair price and a premium
  • gives producers control over their future
  • tackles both poverty and climate change, doing the right thing for people and the planet
  • helps strengthen communities around the world – as people are at the heart of Fairtrade

In this podcast we shared stories of producers we’ve met and how Fairtrade improved their lives and the lives of their families and communities, sharing stories of people behind the products. Meeting producers is the highlight of the job. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Belize and Ghana meeting sugar and banana producers respectively. We also (under normal conditions) have regular visits from producers to 1 Angel Square. Hearing producers empowered by Fairtrade speaking up for their rights and their communities, demanding dignity, respect and better conditions is so powerful. You can hear some of these stories from some of our Fairtrade producers themselves here.

Finally, in these challenging times Fairtrade is more important now more than ever. It’s a safeguard protecting producers from global market volatility. As part of our Global Wellbeing Charter, we’ve also reallocated £310k to support Fairtrade producers through the Covid-19 emergency who are facing hardship.

Every time you choose Fairtrade you’re choosing fairness, you’re choosing to stand in solidarity with those disadvantaged in global supply chains, you’re choosing to protect the environment. #ChooseFairtrade.

Be more curious

The great news is that customers are being much more conscious and curious shoppers – they’re interested in where their ingredients come from and how they’re produced. We need more consumer activism and awareness about the issues involved in the way we grow, source and create the products we love. You can find out more about our key activity in our Future of Food 2030 ambition.

I hope this episode inspires you to think about the people behind the products you buy, empowers you to feel your individual impact and understand the difference you can make through your purchasing decisions. By choosing Fairtrade, you’re choosing to change lives for the better. Thank you.

You can listen now by streaming on personal devices via Apple, Spotify and on Acast. If you enjoy them, please feel free to share the podcasts with your social networks via Social Hub too.