Fairtrade - What's Your Swap?

Written by: Georgina Ingham | Posted: 09-02-2010

Fairtrade is something I am passionate about, believing that we all have a duty to each other to have a social conscience. Fairtrade believes, as do I, that developing world producers should be in control of their own lives, by getting a better deal for the work that they do.

The four main standards that producers must abide to in order to have Fairtrade certified products are:

  • pay a price to producers that covers the costs of sustainable production and living;
  • pay a ‘premium’ that producers can invest in development;
  • make partial advance payments when requested by producers;
  • sign contracts that allow for long-term planning and sustainable production practices.

The Fairtrade fortnight is an annual event in which fair and ethical trading values are celebrated. The concept was pioneered by the Fairtrade Foundation in the United Kingdom, and held firstly in 1997 in Scotland directed by Barnaby Miln. The event turned out to be a highly successful campaign to get every supermarket throughout Scotland to stock Fairtrade products. It spread to the rest of the United Kingdom the following year. Today, Fairtrade fortnights are celebrated in several countries, most notably Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

For Fairtrade Fortnight the Fairtrade Foundation are tasking the nation to join in The Big Swap. For two whole weeks they will be asking you to swap your usual stuff for Fairtrade stuff. Now how hard can that be? You don’t need to organise events or sponsorships, just make a few more informed choices as you do your shopping, and surely we can all manage that.

Now, saying that there are plenty of ideas to be found on The Big Swap website if you do fancy organising and event or suchlike. After all the Fairtrade Foundation campaigns rely on people like us getting involved and making as much noise as possible (in whatever ways possible) about unfair trade systems. After all to set change in motion “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” (Samuel Adams). Make yourselves heard and one day change will happen.

Why stop at Fairtrade for two weeks though? Please just keep on buying Fairtrade all the time, it really does make a huge impact on peoples lives, buying Fairtrade is after all one small step to making the world a fairer place.

So come on folks, what will you swap? I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips.

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