Thursday, 28 February 2008

Next Stop Leeds!

Today was an early start as we drove into Leeds; our first stop was the headquarters of the supermarket chain Asda. Asda have made great steps in supporting Fairtrade by taking the decision to stock a wide range of Fairtrade products. The 'Choose Fairtrade bus' along with Percol and Wensleydale cheese was invited to the office to advertise and promote Fairtrade and the massive difference it makes to producers lives. This was a great experience as the Asda staff seemed increasingly supportive.

After the stop in Asda we moved into Leeds city centre. There was a great hustle and bustle as the general public were amazed to see the bus pull up into town. We were joined by the Leeds Fairtrade City steering committee who had done an excellent job in putting together a brilliant line up. This included steel bands and a gospel choir which really caught the general publics' imagination, with literally hundreds of people gathering to have a listen.

The highlight of the day for me was telling a couple of young girls who had never heard of Fairtrade about the positive affects it has on the poorest communities. Their reaction was just majestic and they promised to go out and buy as much as possible as the concept had moved them so much.

Fairtrade is currently helping 7 million people (workers, farmers and their families). With events like this happening, I feel we are going to continue to transform the lives of millions more people. Change Today! Choose Fairtrade!

Richard Wyatt, Marketing and Promotions Intern

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Thanet becomes the 8th Fairtrade Island

I considered it an enormous privilege and honour to be given the task of awarding the certificate that declared Thanet the 8th Fairtrade Island and number 326 in the rapidly growing list of Fairtrade Towns in the UK.

The event held on Tuesday 26th February took place at the same time that Harriet Lamb (Director of the Fairtrade Foundation) launched her new book ‘Fighting the Banana Wars and other Fairtrade battles’ in London. This ‘must read’ book is a collection of stories from producers, campaigners, consumers, retailers, charities and others explaining their part in the amazing Fairtrade success story. Of course many, if not all had endured many years of hard work and frustration before being able to enjoy that success and reap the benefits that Fairtrade offers today. The book is testimony to what can be achieved when decent people from all over the world come together, each doing their bit for Fairtrade and ultimately to see an end to poverty.

Becoming a Fairtrade Town is a microcosm of that success story. As in all Fairtrade Towns the people who sat down that evening to their beef con papas, complimented with Los Robles Fairtrade wine, represented everybody from councils to churches and shops to schools, not to mention the many representatives from other Fairtrade Towns or places running campaigns throughout Kent. It was particularly wonderful to see Thanet’s youth well represented by members of the Thanet Fairtrade Juniors.

Becoming a Fairtrade Town is only the beginning of a community’s Fairtrade journey and it is important that Thanet now continues to broaden its network and promote Fairtrade. Campaigners, like Tammy Steward Jones from the Thanet steering group, never cease to inspire and amaze me and she like so many campaigners epitomises all that I love most about Fairtrade Towns. Tammy is already setting her sights on developing a community link between the Isle of Thanet and Dominica, where they grow Fairtrade Windward Island Bananas. Such links are in my view a natural progression for Fairtrade Towns. Like the stories in Harriet’s book they are a sure way to personalise Fairtrade and deepen understanding of the issues contributing to world poverty and thus giving rise to the need for Fairtrade.

Gold Mayoral chains were in abundance at the event and much credit should also be attributed to the visionary Thanet District Council. At an early stage they recognised the benefits of becoming a Fairtrade Island as well as realising that supporting Fairtrade was simply the right thing to do.

All in all a fantastic evening enjoyed by all and most refreshing following the untimely recent report from the Adam Smith Institute. The event confirmed my belief that ordinary people are not fooled by such poorly researched and unfounded nonsense and I have no doubt that while decent people continue to do what they know to be right, Fairtrade will continue to go from strength to strength.

Bruce Crowther
Fairtrade Towns Coordinator
February 2008

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Welcome - Roll Up Roll Up for the Fairtrade Fairground

Roll Up Roll Up for the Fairtrade Fairground

For the first time ever the Fairtrade Foundation will be holding a large public launch event to mark the beginning of ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ our annual promotion. Fairtrade Fortnight itself continues to grow as we build on the achievements of the previous years. The campaign is a fantastic culmination of work from dedicated Fairtrade activists up and down the UK, along with licensees and retailers, NGO partners, producers and the general public. In 2007 we estimate over 10,000 events promoting Fairtrade were held up and down the country.

Fairtrade Fortnight attracts massive and varied media coverage of Fairtrade and the growing range of products. From a commercial point of view the campaign generates significant uplift in sales, with many companies announcing commitments to Fairtrade during this period. The campaign generates not only more awareness of Fairtrade but allows deeper understanding of trade justice issues.

Fairtrade Fairground
The theme of the 2008 launch event will be a Fairtrade Fairground, held at London’s South Bank. Supporters will be treated to a traditional helter skelter and tea cup rides, Fairtrade coconut shy and candyfloss with Fairtrade sugar. Licensees and retailers will be hosting market stalls with Fairtrade twists to sampling, imagine a guess the weight of the cake competition, a Fairtrade tea lead reader, and design your own T-shirt. Our NGO members will also be bringing the Fairground theme to life with games and activities educating event goers about Fairtrade.

Our producers are always at the heart of our work, and this event is no different. Supporters will be invited to visit the ‘Meet the Producer’ marquee where growers will be talking about how Fairtrade has benefited their businesses and communities. Producers speaking will include: a mango grower, nut collector, cocoa grower, plus the producers the Fairtrade Foundation will bring.

Choose Fairtrade Bus Tour
In addition to the biggest-ever launch event for Fairtrade Fortnight, the Foundation will be unveiling the Choose Fairtrade Bus Tour for the 2008 campaign. The branded double decker bus will form one of the focal points of the events and will be the area for speeches from Harriet Lamb, Executive Director, George Alagiah, Patron, and celebrity Fairtrade supporters. After the unveiling on 24 Feburary, the bus will tour eight cities up and down the UK to publicise Fairtrade Fortnight.

24 Feb (Sun) London

26 Feb (Tues) Ipswich

28 Feb (Thurs) Leeds

1 Mar (Sat) Sunderland

2 Mar (Sun) Glasgow

4 Mar (Tues) Liverpool

6 Mar (Thurs) Birmingham

8 Mar (Sat) Cardiff

9 Mar (Sun) Bristol