BLOG: Fairtrade Fortnight…now what?

IMG_8638

Cheryl Jenkins is a member of the No More Traffik board. She and her husband share their thoughts on what happens after the buzz of Fairtrade Fortnight ends…

#FairtradeFortnight may have come to an end for 2015 and it has been a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the reality of life behind our purchases and to highlight again the power of our choices.

1     

And that’s good – we need to be reminded of that. Whether we like it or not, our everyday choices have impact across the globe, but it’s only when we change our long-term habits that Fairtrade and other certification schemes really start to change lives. So this is a call for everyday activists who stand up for what they believe in, not just for a couple of weeks every year, but on a daily basis.

Believe that your voice as a consumer is heard! We remember completing petitions for Fairtrade tea, coffee & sugar many years ago … and now these products are commonplace on nearly every Supermarket shelf. And the list of easily-accessible Fairtrade products is growing all the time, guaranteeing a better deal for those that produce them – chocolate, wine, bananas, nuts, Maltesers, flowers, footballs, even shower gel! We want to keep this growth and momentum going – keep telling manufacturers how you want your goods sourced (they DO listen), while nothing speaks louder to retailers than your wallet – if you purchase the products they will stock them!

2

Much has also been written in recent years about our fashion industry and unfortunately it’s disasters such as the Bangladesh Rana Plaza accident that shine the spotlight on the potential true cost of our clothes. Understanding the global implications of our actions helps to motivate changing our choices – maybe simply buying less new clothes, encouraging our favourite suppliers to check their supply chain, upcycling from charity shops and looking for the Fairtrade label when possible. Shopping for Fairtrade clothes does take a bit of additional effort and can cost a little more but the trade-off is knowing that those involved in making them were treated with dignity and paid fairly. To prove it can be done Pete sourced an entire Fairtrade outfit online last year and we hope you agree he looks pretty good! 

3

Hoodie from Wombat, skinny chinos by People Tree, polo shirt by M&S, shoes by Ethletics, underwear from Pants to Poverty and socks from a wee shop in Edinburgh!

4

Finally, here’s one you may not have thought about before … what about your finances? How ethical is the bank you deal with? Any idea what they stand for and how your funds are used? Ever given a second-thought to where you place your savings accounts, your investments or your ISA?

Ethical Consumer, in conjunction with the ‘Move Your Money’ campaign group have recently produced a list of ethical banks based on a number of set criteria
There are many great financial organisations that we could tell you about, but we have highlighted just three that we use and are convinced about their potential to change lives:

Charity Bank is not your average bank. It is consistently one of the top-rated ethical banks which uses money saved with them to provide flexible loans and support to charities, social enterprises and community organisations that help improve and enrich the society we live in. It’s not just a different kind of banking – it’s banking that makes a real difference!

5

Shared Interest is a co-operative lending society with a vision of ‘a world where justice is at the heart of trade finance’. They aim to be the vital link between UK social investors and Fairtrade organisations in the Third world needing finance to improve their livelihood. investors can open a Savings Account with £100 and immediately start changing lives across the globe, helping to provide fair finance to farmers and handcrafters in 66 countries around the world.
It is simple: your investment changes lives.

6

KIVA www.kiva.org is another fabulous non-profit with a mission to ‘connect people through lending to alleviate poverty’. As an organisation they want to create good in the world, and envision a world where all people are empowered to create opportunity for themselves and others. Connecting through a network of microfinance institutions, Kiva allows individuals to lend as little as $25 to help to create those opportunities around the world – you get to choose who you invest in, and get regular updates on how they are doing repaying their loan. And when the loan gets repaid, you can withdraw your funds or re-invest, and do it all over again!

Fairtrade goods and ethical choices are not just for #FairtradeFortnight…