Cambridge Pupils take Fairtrade Message to Parliament

Rt Hon Daniel Zeichner MP and Cambridge pupils took part in a Fairtrade Break in Parliament to support farmers and workers from developing countries

On 28th February Cambridge’s MP Daniel Zeichner and pupils from The Leys took part in a Fairtrade Break in Parliament being held to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, which is asking consumers to think about the farmers and workers in poor countries behind some of the UK’s favourite, every day grocery items.

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(Photo: L-R Oliver, Bonnie, Jack and Ted from The Leys)

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fairtrade event helped to spread the campaign’s urgent message: ‘Don’t Feed Exploitation’, as it highlighted that smallholder farmers are responsible for providing the majority of the UK’s tea and coffee, yet 1 in 3 people in Kenya’s coffee and tea growing regions live in poverty; over 2 million children work in hazardous conditions in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana; and the average cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire lives on less than 40p a day.

Guest speakers included International Development Minister Rory Stewart MP, a coffee farmer from Tanzania, campaigners from across the UK and students from The Leys Fairtrade group in Cambridge.

In total, 45 MPs from different political parties attended the event and met representatives from Fairtrade towns across all regions of the UK as well as coffee farmer Leonard Kachebonaho, who is one of the founders of the Fairtrade-certified co-operative Kaderes Peasants Development Plc (KPD).

Leonard Kachebonaho said: “Thank you all for supporting Fairtrade. Many people in my region live on less than $2 a day and they depend on money from coffee sales. Now we are in our 6th year since joining Fairtrade and we have been able to support fellow farmers with farming to improve the environment and focus on quality to make sure you are always getting the best from us. Through Fairtrade farmers have also been able to invest in social projects such as improving health facilities, water tanks and schools. A new local secondary school now has 187 girls attending out of 293 – so a lot of girls are getting a good education and that is thanks to you.”
Oliver, Bonnie, Jack and Ted, pupils from The Leys, spoke about the importance of telling the stories of Fairtrade producers in schools. They talked about their #WhosInYourBasket social media campaign to raise awareness of the people behind the products that are consumed on a daily basis. Their campaign can be followed on Twitter @LeysFairtrade and over the 40 days of Lent they will be showcasing 40 different Fairtrade producers from across the world.

Adam Gardner, Fairtrade Foundation Campaign Manager, said: “We can’t achieve all that we do without the support of people up and down the country who choose Fairtrade when they shop and continue to campaign for the rights of farmers from developing countries. They won’t stand for exploitation, and we’re delighted that so many of them came along to this event to speak to MPs about the importance of ensuring farmers and workers continue to receive fair prices and decent conditions. But perhaps most importantly, we all had the opportunity to hear from Leonard directly about the difference that we can all make, when we put Fairtrade in our break.”

Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, said: “It was fantastic to see energetic young people backing Fairtrade. I was really interested to hear about the work they’ve been doing to support the Fairtrade movement, and to stop the exploitation happening to farmers and workers around the world.”

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Competition for Schools: Design Your Own Fairtrade Chocolate Bar!

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Love Fashion?

Fashion Revolution are passionate about clothes and also care about who makes them, and how. Their hashtag #whomademyclothes aims to create more transparency in clothes production.

This Valentine’s Day they are asking for Fashion Love Stories – love letters to those items of clothing that we love the most, or stories that illustrate our relationship with fashion. Their plan is to stitch together a film that will showcase our Fashion Love Stories, ready for Fashion Revolution Week on 24-30 April.

You can find out more here: http://fashionrevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FashRev_LoveStory_2017.pdf

 

 

“A Great Global Trading Nation”: Let’s speak up for fairness in the UK’s post-Brexit trade strategy

Let’s look at this optimistically. Leaving the EU could be an opportunity to reshape the UK’s trade with developing nations and make a real step on the path to mutually supportive relationships.

However, while the government’s rhetoric has been noisily proclaiming an active global role for UK, we have heard very little about how we will champion fair trading with the world’s poorest producers.

The Fairtrade Foundation is campaigning for the UK to put fairness at the heart of our trade strategy. You can read more and get involved here: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/get-involved/current-campaigns/brexit

There is also an interesting take on the Holme Valley Fairtrade website: http://www.holmevalleyfairtrade.com/news

Interested in Fairtrade? Join us!

Cambridge’s Fairtrade Group is dedicated to supporting Fairtrade in our city and beyond. We’re a small and friendly group, and we’re looking for new members to help us. It won’t take a huge amount of your time and it’s always interesting and important.

Can you help?

Please contact us: fairtrade.cambridge@hotmail.co.uk

Thank you!

Gold: A Forgotten Fairtrade Product?

We guess that, like us, gold isn’t a regular on your shopping list. For many, it’s a very special, once in a lifetime purchase.

Where gold comes from is not something we think about very often, which is why the terrible reality of small-scale gold mining is not well-known. Up to 16 million people work in small-scale gold mining worldwide, often due to poverty and a lack of alternative options. The dangers are endless and often unavoidable from pit collapse and mercury poisoning to child labour and exploitation.

Recently, photographer Ian Berry visited Africa’s first fairtrade certified gold mine and also documented the worst conditions of non-fairtrade artisanal mines in Uganda. The visit and his striking images were featured in the Telegraph’s magazine.

You can read the article and see Ian’s photos here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/17/inside-makeshift-goldmines-uganda-poverty-child-labour-exploitation/

However the market is changing and there are an increasing number of jewellers and artists working with fairtrade raw materials, including Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, here in Cambridge (www.hkjewellery.co.uk). Worth remembering if you do find gold on your shopping list.