Fairtrade is a term that most of us are familiar with. In fact, it's a label that many of us have learnt to look out for when we're shopping - most commonly - for food. Despite the fact that this movement has been running for over two decades, conditions for some farmers are actually getting worse, especially for cocoa farmers. So 2019 marks the start of a 3-year campaign with the aim of moving fairtrade farmers towards a living income, with the focus this year being on cocoa, women's empowerment and a living income.
What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is very literal - it's all about making trade fair. The organisation seeks to empower producers and ensure that they enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods. It also provides accreditation and an easy to spot label so we as consumers know with total confidence that our purchases are making a difference to the lives of people who grow the things we love.
"Fairtrade is an incredible initiative on so many levels. It is unique in its set up because it puts the farmer first by agreeing a price from the buyer for the farmer ahead of the season for each quantile of produce. This offers protection for farmers in a highly homogenous and competitive market, which ultimately means they start each season knowing how much they’re going to earn for their hours of labour, meaning they can make appropriate and accurate investments in things ranging from equipment to even the education of their children.
Because this market is so competitive, what Fairtrade has done is create a more even playing field when it comes to farmers who operate on a very small scale. Through Fairtrade, these small scale farms develop collectives within their area, to encourage shared use of equipment use, land, etc. These collectives receive a premium from Fairtrade that they need to reinvest back into the group. This allows the individuals within the collective to identify what their greatest needs are, and put the investment towards that.
Fairtrade has developed a model that makes the buyer stand back and understand that there is more at stake than just the bottom line. It protects the needs of the farmers that work long, hard hours to grow things we love and it is absolutely right that they earn a fair wage for what they do."
Other than the fact we love chocolate and are fully on board with this year's campaign encouraging us to make sure we buy more Fairtrade chocolate, there is also a difference to be made every time an item is bought using fairtrade cotton. Cotton is one of the world's oldest commercial crops, grown in more than 100 countries, however only 13% of the world's cotton is produced sustainably, with most cotton being genetically modified.
This is where your choice as a Sancho's customer comes in - your decision to buy products with a fairtrade label makes the world of difference to cotton famers, giving them an alternative route into trade and higher, more stable incomes.
For anyone that can visit us in Exeter at 117 & 126 Fore Street, we will be offering fairtrade snacks over the weekends of Fairtrade fortnight 2019 (so the 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th of March) :-)
At Sancho's we want to shine a light on the #shedeserves element of Fairtrade fortnight. Both male and female farmers are underpaid and exploited, but for women, it is worse. Those that work in the fields and in the home have to plant and harvest, look after children, carry water and transport the cocoa beans to market. Despite all that hard work, they are likely to see even less of the money for their crop.
Buying Fairtrade will make a difference to the producers who grow the crops to make the things we love. A purchase from brand, People Tree, is a guaranteed Fairtrade purchase - here are some items that will help you build a capsule wardrobe that is 100% fairtrade.