Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Fairtrade at London Fashion Week by Martine Parry

Stunning Fairtrade cotton designer scarves made their debut at the London Fashion Week on Saturday.
Known as the Fairtrade Collective and on sale at Asos from Monday, the scarves were beautifully displayed at the packed Fairtrade Foundation stand at the British Fashion Council’s ethical showcase, Estethica.
Designers such as Ada Zanditon, Athena Procopiou, Carolyn Massey, London Undercover, Tim Soar, Way Perry and Hussein Chalayan’s gang from Puma all popped along to take part in our photocall.
Fairtrade Collective really taps into the next generation of style leaders and fashion followers with its trend-inspired designs. 
Jamie from London Undercover and Tim Soar    photo: Louis Hull

Using digital print techniques, a combination of established and new generation of talent have created distinct, high-fashion scarves.
So many people tried them on and said they wanted one, it was hard to keep track! Working with fashion photographer Zak Hussein, we snapped the stars wearing Fairtrade Collective items.
The party was packed, due in no small part to the high calibre of designers contributing to Estethica.
Our designer scarves really set the tone for that elusive question, what’s the accessory of the season? Me thinks Fairtrade fashion is definitely one to watch!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Say I do to Fairtrade and Fairmined gold by Gemma Cartwright

This Sunday was Juana and Manuel’s rest day, however they took in all the major sights of London, including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Sqaure and even saw the celebs arriving to the BAFTAs. Sadly they didn’t manage to see Livia Firth who will be wearing a piece of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold jewellery to the Oscars.

Juana was over the moon to see the Daily Mail article in today’s edition which features the details of a visit to Cotapata and mines in Peru just before Christmas. Juana and Manuel are overwhelmed that people are so interested in the stories of miners. The campaigners we met over the past few days explained to us all how unknown but fascinating the lives of artisanal miners are to them and supporters of other Fairtrade products. Later on Monday Juana and Manuel visited the London Bullion Market Association where the price of gold is set internationally twice daily and then toured Goldsmith’s Hall before being interviewed by Croatian documentary makers.

Spending time in Wales with local campaigners, Juana and Manuel has really reminded me what makes the Fairtrade movement great – that we are a movement and as Manuel says a family of people who are working together in each of our own ways to bring positive change to UK consumer habits and the lives of producers and miners in developing countries. For me this has been a massively busy and emotional week, but so much fun – I am really privileged to have worked on the development of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold and hope that is now goes from strength to strength so that people like Manuel and Juana are able to access the opportunities they strive for. Welcome to artisanal and small scale miners and the Alliance for Responsible Mining to our Fairtrade family. Valentine’s Day 2011 is not just a time to celebrate with your loved ones but also to say I do to Fairtrade and Fairtrade and Fairmined gold…

'Mining is hard work all over the world' - Juana and Manuel visit Wales by Gemma Cartwright

After the excitement of the press launch on Thursday morning, Juana and Manuel had their first day sightseeing in London, which began with a boat trip from Tower Bridge to the London Eye taking in Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Juana mentioned just how busy she thinks London is and that visiting the sights of London was like a dream – in fact the whole trip has been. Later in the evening Juana and Manuel attended the launch of Ute Decker’s new Fairtrade and Fairmined gold collection. Juana was presented a silver ring from Ute and in return presented her with a scarf. Manuel’s only comment as he rolled his eyes was ‘women!’. Juana says she now feels like a princess with her beautiful new piece of jewellery – Reina de Bolivia! 

On Friday morning we travelled to Cardiff to spend time discussing the new Fairtrade and Fairmined gold with local jewellers organised by Elen from Fair Trade Wales, who have been great hosts. Manuel really enjoyed explaining the work of miners in Peru to those in the meeting who had lots of questions about how gold is processed. After a wonderful lunch in Cardiff Bay we headed to Big Pit, a former coal mine. Juana and Manuel felt they learnt a lot from the visit and were struck that mining is hard work all over the world, but felt positive from what they saw that improvements were possible with the right investment and support. Later they met Jane Davidson, Minister for the Environment of the Welsh Assembly Government and asked her to support them in giving artisanal and small-scale miners a voice amongst international governments, whilst enjoying traditional Welsh cakes and tea. Having given his own Peruvian hat to a Welsh miner Manuel is now sporting a bright red Welsh cap!

On route to the mine we passed the coast – Juana has only seen the sea once when she stopped over in Lima on route to the UK, and was very excited as we drove past – we will make sure we have ice cream on the beach tomorrow. In the evening we visited Crickhowell for dinner in a traditional British pub originally built in the 16th century, where we tried local Welsh food and enjoyed a well deserved beer. Manuel really enjoyed being in such an old building. 

After a very comfortable night at a local B&B and Juana and Manuel’s first ever English (Welsh) breakfast (which Manuel argued the potatoes and tomatoes were South American so it should be a Peruvian breakfast), we took in the beautiful scenery of the Brecon Beacons. Next was a visit to Tretower a 15th Century house and 12th century castle. Juana gave herself the title of Reina de Tretower and Manuel Principle (Prince) de Tretower. Our medieval experience including bow and arrows was followed by lunch at the home of Katrina and Jeremy Gass in Abergavenny along with other Fairtrade campaigners from the area. The Gass’ were great hosts who gave us homemade soup and cakes which Manuel and Juana really enjoyed. We also had the chance to talk about the work of miners in South America and for Juana and Manuel to decorate their own pieces of Fairtrade cotton bunting to add to the record-breaking attempt in forthcoming Fairtrade Fortnight. On our return to Cardiff for our London-bound train we stopped at the sea for photos and an ice-cream in the beautiful South Wales sunshine. Juana and Manuel are extremely grateful to all their new Welsh friends for being so welcoming.

Fairtrade and Fairmined gold is a reality by Gemma Cartwright

I have been working on the launch and development of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold into the UK market for the last four years. This past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me and the whole team who have worked to launch certified gold products.

To help announce and celebrate the launch the Fairtrade Foundation has been joined by Juana Pena Endara, Senior President of Cotapata (the first Fairtrade and Fairmined certified mining cooperative) in Bolivia and Manuel Reinoso Rivas, Vice Chair of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and miner from Peru. For Juana this week has been her first trip abroad and Manuel to the UK.

We have been visiting the Spring Fair in Birmingham where Juana and Manuel spent time with Weston Beamore and the Assay Office learning about how gold is cast into jewellery and then hallmarked to show the authenticity of the gold content. Fairtrade and Fairmined certified products will now also be stamped with the Fairtrade and Fairmined dual stamp. Manuel mentioned how interested it was to see what happens to the gold once it leaves South America. Another highlight of the day was riding on a fast-tilting train from London – a first for both Juana and Manuel.

Last Tuesday was spent preparing presentations for the press briefing event on Wednesday morning and a practise presentation to the Fairtrade Foundation staff on all the different pieces of work which had to be completed to make the launch possible. The whole team including Juana and Manuel (our star speakers) were very nervous, but they both spoke from the heart. 

The press briefing was attended by over 120 people – there was standing room only. There were other speakers including Greg Valerio from Cred and jeweller Stephen Webster who made everyone laugh, but emotions really ran high when Juana unveiled the first ever certified Fairtrade and Fairmined gold bar from her mine. Many in the room felt themselves welling up as Juana received a standing ovation. The whole audience including journalists, NGOs and commercial partners were captivated by the strong messages from artisanal and small scale miners. The gold bar represented not only the hard work of many people including the artisanal miners who helped develop the Fairtrade and Fairmined gold standards but also the challenges which Juana, a single mother of four, has been through to now receive a better price and Fairtrade premium. The premium will be used as her mining organisation choose to invest into their business or social development projects. In fact at today’s price that bar is worth £2,000 in Fairtrade premium and £24,000 according to LBMA – no wonder Juana always kept an eye on it!

Juana, Manuel, the gold bar and several photographers headed off to the London Assay Office, where the first piece of certified gold was stamped with the Fairtrade and Fairmined dual stamp. Juana, who helped to stamp her gold bar, said she never knew that this was done to jewellery and was especially surprised to learn that hallmarking in the UK has been a legal requirement for over 500 years. In the evening the Fairtrade and ARM team celebrated their hard work and the launch with pizza and drinks.