By Jo Whitfield, Food CEO.

Fairtrade Fortnight is a time when the Fairtrade movement unites to spotlight the problems farmers still face and the difference Fairtrade makes. This Fairtrade Fortnight, I’m proud of Co-op’s Fairtrade commitments and our ambition to be the UK’s biggest supporter of Fairtrade. We’re continuing to play our part in Co-operating for a Fairer World and championing a better way of doing business.

We know that now, more than ever, our continued support for Fairtrade is crucial – not only are Fairtrade producers still dealing with the unprecedented changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re also facing increasing hardship due to the impacts of climate change. That’s why Co-op have been campaigning for climate justice and we will continue to do so this Fairtrade Fortnight.

Climate justice means finding solutions to the climate crisis that not only reduce emissions or protect the natural world, but do so in a way that creates a fairer and more equal world in the process. We recognise that climate change is a human issue as much as it is an environmental one. 

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 means farmers receive fairer prices so 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 the planet. Simply by choosing Fairtrade, you’re changing lives across the world and helping to protect our amazing planet.

Only Fairtrade:

  1. Pays producers fairly 
  2. Gives producers a say in their future 
  3. Does the right thing by both people and the planet
  4. Strengthen communities around the world

We’ve been championing Fairtrade for over 26 years and have delivered many ‘Fairtrade Firsts’ over the years, from being the first retailer to stock Fairtrade products in all stores in 1990, to being the first retailer to sell Fairtrade sugar back in 2002. 

Last year, we became the UK’s first retail partner of Fairtrade Africa’s climate strategy, investing in a three-year programme to support at-risk tea, coffee and flower products to become more climate resilient and help secure their livelihoods. The first year of funding is focussed on coffee and I’m delighted that Evelyn Nyawira Njiraini, smallholder coffee farmer at Mutira co-operative in Kenya, can tell us why this partnership is so important for farmers like her.

Fairtrade is incredibly important to me, and to Co-op, as it helps to create a better future for both people and planet. So, let’s come together over the next two weeks to challenge our friends, family, customers and each other to choose the world you want, by choosing Fairtrade. 

How you can get involved this Fairtrade Fortnight

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. Check out our Fairtrade Campaigning Resource webpage that’ll provide you with all the tools you need.

You can also head to our colleague website to find fun print-outs, information packs and a varied series of events we’re running over Fairtrade Fortnight. On Tuesday, 22 February at 10am, I’ll be having an online chat with former Chair and Fairtrade producer Mary Kinyua so make sure you add it to your calendar! 

Our wide range of Fairtrade products means you can choose Fairtrade at any time of the day. Every one of these choices has a huge impact.

This week 

  • Tuesday 21 Feb, Fairtrade Live Please join a Fairtrade Live event near you by visiting co-operate
  • Wednesday 22 Feb, 10am – In conversation with Jo Whitfield & Mary Kinyua – Join us for a special conversation with Co-op’s food CEO Jo Whitfield and Fairtrade producer Mary Kinyua (watch the video of the conversation)

Next week 

  • Monday 28 Feb, Fairtrade Taste and Tell – Look out for a special Fairtrade offer on your Co-op App
  • Tuesday 1 March, Campaigning – Get involved in a Government call to action, sign up to our events and use your member pack to spread the word.
  • Wednesday 2 March, 11-11:45am – Fair Focus Webinar – Join Fairtrade Foundation on how to build more climate-resilient supply chains 
  • Thursday 3 March, Co-op Wine Tasting – Join us for a special wine tasting and celebration of Fairtrade wine event 7pm – 7.45pm

I’m so excited to see how all of you celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight with us this year and thank you for choosing Fairtrade.