World Fair Trade Day
Today we celebrate World Fair Trade Day! This provides a great opportunity to reflect on how far Fair Trade has come as a social movement, with this year’s theme being the idea of Planet Fair Trade, a planet populated by Fair Trade Enterprises whose priority is people and planet. This message is about creating a new economy based on human and environmental well being. We stand in solidarity with these enterprises, workers and their communities, supporting them today, during the pandemic and beyond.
Fair Trade has come a long way as a social movement, advocating to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of farmers and producers living in the Global South. Across the world, cities and towns have committed to supporting Fair Trade, each one fulfilling five core goals to do so, and this year marks 15 years of Bristol being a Fairtrade City (stay tuned for celebrations!). These communities are paving the way for a 'new normal', where Fair Trade is at the heart of businesses, society, and the environment.
Fair Trade also provides a business model, empowering producers to make their lives better and in turn, the lives of their families and communities. This wouldn’t be possible without the ethical consumers who are drivers of the movement. Many businesses in Bristol support Fair Trade through their buying and sourcing policies, so by supporting these businesses you’re not only helping the local economy, but workers globally. It’s becoming ever more apparent why shopping locally, and supporting small, independent businesses, is so important. Browse our directory to find local businesses, many of who are previous winners of South West Fair Trade Business Awards.
The movement faces many challenges, with the climate emergency at the forefront of this. Millions of farmers around the world who rely on agriculture for their livelihood will be hit the hardest by these changes. Prevention and mitigation strategies are at the heart of Fair Trade environmental standards, with farmers making sustainable agriculture and climate change adaption part of their farm management. The increased revenue from receiving a minimum price acts as a safety net, giving farmers much needed finances to respond to the effect of climate change. Read more in our blog about Fair Trade and the Climate Emergency.
Without the workers behind Fair Trade, there would be no movement and it is important to remember that there is a face behind the food we love to eat. Fair Trade is about empowerment. The Fairtrade Foundation tells the story of Edith, a Fairtrade cocoa farmer from the Côte d’Ivoire. Being part of Fairtrade has given her the opportunity to earn enough money to secure herself and her son into the future. She was also one of the first women to attend the women’s school of leadership, to bring out confidence and skills in women living in cocoa farming communities. Earlier in the year, here in Bristol, we met Gloria Gonzalez, a Nicaraguan Fairtrade coffee producer who reinforced this by telling us her story, which you can read here.
Purchasing Fair Trade certified products has the power to change someone’s life, and today gives us the opportunity to celebrate this. Check where those products you can’t buy from local producers have come from, make sure they are Fair Trade certified, and together we can build a fairer world.