Fair Trade in the time of Coronavirus
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
Coronavirus has hugely disrupted our world as we know it, and it is very justified to feel helpless and lost at this time. We can see clearly how much of an impact this has had on our society, with many workers in the UK facing uncertainty and whose jobs are now in question.
Thankfully, Western governments are strongly positioned to put systems in place to help support their citizens and industries. Equally, developed healthcare systems – though under tremendous strain – are rising to the challenge of caring for the sick. However, as the pandemic begins to take hold in the Global South, Fair Trade campaigners are turning their thoughts to those not provided with this level of support.
Thousands of farmers, workers and producers across the globe are now facing a decline of production and lack of sales. The poorest of society are those who will be hit hardest by this pandemic and economic slowdown. Fairtrade International are compiling regular and detailed updates to capture the impact on producer nations. Amongst the many impacts, they report that so far overall product sales are suffering due to the loss of out-of-home sales from cafés and restaurants. In response to this, they have announced that certified producer organisations can use their Fairtrade Premium more flexibly during this time, helping producers to mitigate any negative effects on farmers, workers and their communities.
The World Fair Trade Organization have also launched their #StayHomeLiveFair campaign in response to the halt on trade and production across the world, reminding us to show our sense of community and to support the people most affected by this crisis. You can show your solidarity with the movement by posting about your favourite Fair Trade product using the hashtag.
Traidcraft Exchange are running a series of important campaigns to help support workers across the world during these difficult times. COVID-19 has highlighted the ugly truth behind fast fashion, with UK fashion brands cancelling orders, breaking contracts and impacting the lives of workers in poor countries who have no financial support. They also recognise that this pandemic will hit other industries like food and tourism, industries that prioritise cheap convenience over resilience.
Like any disruption to society, it is those who are already marginalised who suffer the most. The World Health Organisation have issued measures such as social distancing and hand washing, but these measures are almost impossible to abide by when you rely on crowded markets for food and live in built-up areas where self-isolation is impossible.
However, through the negativity shines hope, as we’ve seen communities come together to support one another through these difficult times. This is a chance to recognise that we live in a globalised society and one small action at home has the power to change someone’s life for the better. Choosing Fair Trade during the lockdown supports marginalised workers, their families and their communities, much like how we’re supporting our communities here in the UK.
There are so many ways you can continue championing the Fair Trade movement during this time, and it is essential to do this now more than ever, supporting each other and those in need. Here’s a blog to get you thinking about the many ways you can support Fair Trade at home!