The A-Z of Fairtrade: Part 3
Here is my third and final part of the A-Z of Fairtrade; enjoy!
R – RICE: “In 2000, FLO took the first steps towards the introduction of the Fairtrade Standard for Rice to open up new markets for the benefit of small farmers. Today a total of 15 rice producer organizations in Thailand, India, Egypt and Laos are Fairtrade Certified.” This means that more farmers are able to work their way out of poverty and provide for their families as well as avoid the vicious circle of debt which is typical of small rice farmers.
S – SUGAR: Sugar is one of the worlds’ most important and sought after commodities and is bought and sold around the globe. However, significant obstacles lie in the path of those small scale sugarcane farmers who struggle to earn a living. Farmers who produce Fairtrade Certified Sugar are guaranteed a Fairtrade Minimum Price for their produce and a Fairtrade Premium to invest in social and economic initiatives in their communities. Sugar producers are organised into cooperatives that are governed democratically and they must adhere to environmental standards which encourage sustainability and restricts the use of agrochemicals.
T – TRAIDCRAFT: Traidcraft work with more than 100 producer groups in over 30 developing countries to provide 450 fair trade food, craft and textile products. It was instrumental in setting up the Fairtrade Foundation which awards the Fairtrade Mark to products which meet internationally recognised standards. Established in 1979, Traidcraft’s mission is to fight poverty through trade, by practicing and promoting approaches to trade that help poor people in developing countries transform their lives. Traidcraft can also claim to have produced the first Fairtrade composite product, the Traidcraft Apricot Geobar.
U – UBUNTU: Ubuntu Cola was the first cola in the UK to get the Fairtrade Mark (back in 2007) and is made with Fairtrade sugar from the Kasinthula Cooperative in Malawi and from the Kaleya Cooperative in Zambia. Each year, Ubuntu give at least 15% of its profits to the Ubuntu Africa Programme which supports sugar producers and their communities and encourages entrepreneurial projects aimed at tackling poverty. As well as that, it tastes great too!
V – VAN DER HOFF: Frans Van Der Hoff, Nico Roozen and a Dutch development NGO, Solidaridad, pioneered the first Fairtrade Certification in 1988; Max Havelaar. In the same year the first ‘Fairtrade’ coffee from Mexico was sold into Dutch supermarkets. It was branded “Max Havelaar,” after a fictional Dutch character who opposed the exploitation of coffee pickers in Dutch colonies. In the late 80’s/early 90’s this initiative was replicated across Europe and North America to include the “Fairtrade Mark” in the UK and Ireland.
Max Havelaar continue their pioneering ways today as proven by this great advert;
W – WINE: Wine is a relatively new market for the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation with the approved production standards being rolled out in 2003. The Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium have been set for wine grape production in Argentina, Chile and South Africa. In order to help the producers further, most of the current Fairtrade Certified Wine producers either own or co-own wineries and are directly involved in the wine making process.
X – XERISCAPING:Fairtrade encourages farmers and producers to use sustainable practices and methods of production. Xeriscaping applies these same principles to the land, farming and the environment resulting in a better deal and greater sustainability for everyone involved.
Y – YOU: The Fairtrade movement is nothing without YOU. Yes that’s right, mission statements, values, and good intentions are all integral to the success of Fairtrade, but so is support from consumers as well as producers. In buying Fairtrade goods you are becoming part of a chain which leads back to disadvantaged farmers, poverty stricken producers, and underprivileged communities. You can make a real difference to the lives of these people and to the welfare and sustainability of their communities by committing to Fairtrade and reflecting your support by buying ethically. It’s never been easier to get your hands on Fairtrade alternatives to your established favourites; from tea and coffee to clothing and home wares; make sure you buy what you believe.
Z: We have come to the end of the alphabet but the Fairtrade movement is far from ending. Estimated UK retail sales by value have rocketed from £16.7million in 1998 to over £500million in 2008 and having grown to accommodate Fairtrade standards for 18 different product categories we can only hope that the future brings such standards for many more categories so that producers such as Zimbabwe’s Dezign Inc. can benefit from all that Fairtrade brings.