By Cathryn Higgs, Head of Food Policy
Firstly, I’d like to introduce Anne-Marie Yao, Fairtrade Africa’s regional cocoa manager for Ivory Coast and Ghana. Known as ‘Mama Cocoa’ by farmers, she works directly with our producers who helps bring Co-op own-brand chocolate to our shelves.
We asked her along with a number of our Fairtrade producers to join in our celebrations this year for Fairtrade Fortnight, and Anne-Marie has filmed a special video to tell us more about what Fairtrade means to her and to also say thank you to us all at Co-op for being Fairtrade champions.
I have previously had the privilege of traveling to Cote d’Ivoire to visit our Fairtrade producers, one of those being Anne-Marie. On this trip I witnessed first-hand the difference that Fairtrade is making to people’s lives, and particularly, in Cote d’Ivoire, to women, through the Women’s School of Leadership that we fund through our Fairtrade cocoa commitment. I was so inspired by the inspirational women I met on this trip and the stories they shared of the incredible difference Fairtrade has made to their lives, their community and their environment. It’s amazing that we can all be a part of that difference simply by choosing to buy Fairtrade products.
Farmers are on the front line of the climate crisis, with many still unable to afford basic human rights like sending children to school or putting food on their plates. Fairtrade supports these farmers by ensuring they receive fair prices so that they can improve their livelihoods and are better able to face climate challenges and protect the environment.
At Co-op, we believe Fairtrade to be the gold standard of certifications, doing the right thing by people and planet, which is why we’ve championed Fairtrade for over 25 years. Simply by choosing Fairtrade, you are changing lives across the world and helping to protect our amazing planet.
Chocolate workshops, wine tasting and more ways to get involved
We have a lot of different ways you can all get involved with Fairtrade Fortnight this year.
I’d love to see all colleagues playing a part in championing Fairtrade. This can be done simply by choosing Fairtrade, and through having conversations with your family, friends and people in your local communities. To support you, we have some brilliant posts you can easily share to your social media networks on Social Hub. If you share the Fairtrade posts, you can even be in with the chance to win a delicious Fairtrade hamper too. We’ve also created a brand-new Fairtrade Campaigning Resource webpage that’ll provide you with all the tools you need.
Our wide range of Fairtrade products means you can choose Fairtrade at any time of the day. Wake up with some Fairtrade coffee, tea or orange juice. Enjoy some fruit with your lunch with a Fairtrade banana. Wind down in the evening with a glass of Fairtrade wine (maybe our award-winning Fairtrade Malbec or Fairtrade South African White) and some delicious Fairtrade chocolate. If you need to celebrate a special occasion, why not buy a beautiful bouquets of Fairtrade flowers or roses for your special person (even if that’s yourself!). Every one of these choices has a huge impact.
To kick start your week of Fairtrade celebrations, we’re running several events you can get involved in. Please sign up to as many of the events as you’d like and encourage your teams to take part.
- Tuesday, Fairtrade Coffee & Cake Morning – Please join our Food CEO Jo Whitfield for a special Fairtrade Fortnight Food Huddle at 11:00
- Tuesday, Fairtrade x Co-op Wine Tasting – Join us for an evening of Fairtrade Co-op wine tasting with influencers Jules Von Hep and Sarah Powell, our very own wine buyer Ed Robinson, and producer Walter Carol: 7:30pm – 8:30pm
- Wednesday, Fairtrade Podcast – Take the time to listen to our Fairtrade podcast, either with a Fairtrade cuppa or on your daily walk
- Monday, Fairtrade Chocolate Masterclass – Join our chocolate masterclass to learn all about Fairtrade cocoa, hearing from various members of the team involved, 12:30 – 1:30pm
- Tuesday, Fair Focus – Join Fairtrade Foundation to hear from industry experts, including Cathryn Higgs and Anne-Marie from Fairtrade Africa on how to build more climate-resilient supply chains, and to hear about the realities for producers who are on the front line of the climate crisis, 11am – 12pm. This session will be recorded if you can’t join in live.
- Thursday, Fairtrade Baking Session – Join the Co-op Foodology chefs to learn how to make a delicious Fairtrade treat, 4pm
There are also other Join In Live and Local sessions throughout the week which you can get involved in here. I’m so excited to see how all of you celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight with us this year, and thank you for choosing Fairtrade.