82% of ‘generation fairtrade’ teens want companies to behave responsibly

An interesting article appeared recently in Blue and Green Tomorrow (below)….

Young Britons who have grown up in the era of a flourishing fairtrade market are highly sensitive to global issues and want to see businesses taking action to end poverty, inequality and climate change – according to a new analysis from the Fairtrade Foundation.

The survey found that 82% of UK teens think companies need to act more responsibly, while just 45% say they trust businesses to do so. Almost all the youngsters surveyed (97%) said they are familiar with the fairtrade mark and system.

Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said, “From fast fashion to constant upgrades to their smartphones, you might be forgiven for thinking that today’s teens only care about a product’s price tag and whether it looks cool enough to be Instagrammed.

“But ‘Generation Fairtrade’ also care deeply about some of the biggest global issues that we face. They have grown up with fairtrade products at home, and may even have attended one of the UK’s 1,000 Fairtrade schools – so they are aware that by taking a simple action such as buying fairtrade or signing an online petition, they can persuade businesses and governments to act more ethically – and the good news for all of us is that they want to use their power to change the world for the better.”

The research found that more than half of teens surveyed are deeply worried about global issues, such as human rights, poverty and climate change, and are willing to take action, by participating in events and signing petitions for good causes. Most of them also want to see more fairtrade products at home.

Caroline Holme, director at GlobeScan, who carried out the survey, added, “Young people are just as switched onto global issues as older generations and we see a similar gap in perceptions between trust and expectations of companies. The number of thoughtful answers to unprompted questions far exceeded what we typically see in online surveys.”

You can see the article here.

Blue & Green Tomorrow is currently running a crowdfunder to ensure its survival. You can pledge here

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How Fair Are You?


Our research says that 99% of us claim we’re fair ‘most of the time’. So until 12 October, we’re putting that to the test with The Great British Fairness Debate and asking the nation, ‘Are we really as fair as we think we are?’

So why not take the test at fairtrade.org.uk/befair and find out?

We’re running The Great British Fairness Debate, and asking the UK to make a pledge to buy Fairtrade, by raising awareness of how important it is not only to think fair, but be fair. When you consciously choose Fairtrade products you’re changing the lives of the farmers and workers who produce them.

Take the test, make a Fairtrade pledge and enter into the prize draw for a chance to win some fabulous Fairtrade goodies!

So, what are you waiting for? Show the UK just how fair you are.

Eastern Region Supporters’ Conference

The Eastern Region Fairtrade Supporters’ Conference for 2014 looks like being a great event.

There are some very interesting workshops and speakers and the event also gives you the opportunity to speak to many Fairtrade experts from the UK and overseas.

Joanna Milis from the Fairtrade Foundation education team will be there to answer queries about the new Fairtrade schools scheme and school teachers and pupils will be especially welcome. Noel Cresswell, Head of Digital at the Foundation will also be there to give advice and answer questions on promoting Fairtrade in the digital world. We have “Fairsnacktime” cookery sessions, Fairtrade craft activities with Fair and Funky and a Thinktank for networking and exploring ideas about Fairtrade.

A draft programme is below.

The Conference will take place on the 18th October at the University of Bedfordshire’s Luton Campus, and is free of charge.  You can book your place here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/east-england-fairtrade-supporter-conference-tickets-11634829087


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10-10.30                     Arrivals, refreshments, Marketplace.


10.25                          Bananas suits lead delegates to inaugural session


10.30 -10.45              Introduction and Housekeeping

Welcome to Luton from Kelvin Hopkins MP and Zafar Khan, Luton Council of Faiths

Fairtrade welcome from Mike Gidney, head of Fairtrade Foundation


10.45 – 11.00             Fairtrade Role Play – St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School


11.00-11.50               Fairtrade Workshops (1)

Plus craft activities/fairsnacktime cook-in/story-telling

Marketplace and Thinktank


12.00 – 12.50             Fairtrade Workshops (2)


1.00 – 2.00                 Fairtrade Hot Lunch, Marketplace, Networking


2.00                             Polish assembly to Lecture Theatre


2.00 – 2.15                 NCC presentations and elections


2.20 – 3.20                 “Fairtrade Slam” and Q & A


Chief Adam Tampuri, Fairtrade Africa

Kate Gaskell, Liberation Nuts

Manal Abdallah, Zaytoun

Mike Gidney, Fairtrade Foundation


Craft activities/story-telling/Marketplace


  1. 30 – 4.00 Fairtrade High Tea

Fairsnacktime, Samosas and scones, celebratory cake


4.00 –                          NCC election results and thanks


4.15pm                       End of day



  • From seed to shelf – how Fairtrade certification works
  • The Power of You: Fairtrade in Your Town – a Luton perspective
  • The future for Fairtrade cotton, cocoa and sugar

Anglia Ruskin retains status as a Fairtrade University

Congratulations to Anglia Ruskin University, who recently renewed their status as a Fairtrade University.  Under the current regulations, Fairtrade Universities have to apply to renew their status with the Fairtrade Foundation every two years.  Anglia Ruskin were successful in their renewal, receiving some very positive feedback from the Foundation – well done to all concerned!


Good Luck Goldie

goldieGood luck to Goldie Sayers, Cambridge athlete, GB Team Captain and Fairtrade supporter, who is competing in the javelin in the European Championships right now.  You can follow her progress on the BBC here

And you can read about her visit to Fairtrade producers in South Africa here.


Fairtrade: does it work?

Recently, reports have appeared in the media question whether Fairtrade actually helps the poorest rural people in developing countries.  These reports have been prompted by research by the School of Oriental and African Studies, part of the university of London.  The SOAS report is called ‘Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction (FTEPR) in Ethiopia and Uganda’.  Fairtrade Foundation has issued the following response:

The Fairtrade Foundation welcomes the underlying research for this report, which included interviews with 1,700 workers in areas where both Fairtrade and non-Fairtrade smallholders and plantations were operating across the tea, coffee and flower sectors in Ethiopia and Uganda. We will study it with a view to improving our work in those two countries.

Fairtrade has always recognised that agricultural labourers are extremely poor, and we agree that more needs to be done to help them.

Speaking for the Fairtrade Foundation, CEO Michael Gidney said, “We welcome this focus on the low wages that persist among too many agricultural workers, particularly those who carry out informal work and who are very hard to reach.  In Fairtrade we are committed to playing our part in supporting all workers – in the past year for example we have substantially strengthened our Hired Labour standards and are making real progress on aspects such as Living Wage.”

However, the Foundation believes there are significant flaws in this study and that it is wrong to state that Fairtrade does not improve the lives of the poor.  Many independent academic studies have shown that Fairtrade does benefit poor farmers and workers supplying international markets.

In particular, the SOAS study failed to find Fairtrade certified farms for half of its research sites (Table 2:1, page 31), making a balanced comparison between Fairtrade and non-Fairtrade systems impossible.  For example, researchers looked at only one of five Fairtrade certified smallholder tea producer organisations in Uganda.  Many of these are selling higher proportions of their tea on Fairtrade terms – a study of a different organisation might well have reached very different conclusions.

“It is a shame that the report does not acknowledge a critical problem: that where farmers themselves have low levels of Fairtrade sales they are limited in the additional benefits they can pass on to workers, especially seasonal labour,” Michael Gidney continued.

The study did not assess how much each certified farmer organisation was selling on Fairtrade terms, nor consequently the amount of Fairtrade premium each received for investment in community projects such as health centres and housing.

In addition, the large “Fairtrade” flower farm in Ethiopia cited by this report left Fairtrade in 2011, whilst one of the “non-Fairtrade” flower farms studied in the report, which has some of the best wage conditions in the country,  joined Fairtrade in 2012. As a result , in 2012 alone, its first year of certification, this farm has earned several hundred thousand pounds in additional Fairtrade premiums for investment in workers’ own projects to improve their own lives and their wider community.

The report indicates that one major factor clearly affecting the lives of agricultural workers is the size of the farm on which they are employed, and that many other differences are down to “highly idiosyncratic” factors which vary from locality to locality. The report concludes (page 120): “FTEPR cannot make direct causal claims from its findings, such as that ‘Fairtrade causes low wages’, for example.”

“We know that Fairtrade makes a difference to the lives of 1.4 million farmers and workers, and many other studies have backed this up,” concludes Michael Gidney. “When people reach for a product with the FAIRTRADE Mark, they are making a difference in the lives of the people who grew them.  If we want to have an even greater impact, we need more of those customers – and more companies and donors – to back Fairtrade and campaign for trade justice.”


Eastern Region Fairtrade Conference: Hold the date!

The Eastern region Fairtrade conference will be held on Saturday 18th October at the University of Bedfordshire’s campus in Luton. It promises to be an interesting, information active and enjoyable event and a great chance to meet other people who share an interest in Fairtrade. More details later….


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