Fairtrade Fortnight begins

For two weeks each year at the end of February and start of March, thousands of individuals, companies and groups across the UK come together to share the stories of the people who grow our food and drinks, mine our gold and who grow the cotton in our clothes, people who are often exploited and underpaid.

This year the theme of the fortnight is 'Choose the world you want: Fairtrade, climate and you' highlighting the growing challenges that climate change brings to farmers and workers in the communities Fairtrade works with. Find out more about this year's campaign here.

You can get involved! There is an online festival taking place over the fortnight where you can hear why winning a fairer deal for farmers and workers is critical in tackling the climate crisis.  Throughout Fairtrade Fortnight the festival will feature:

  • Farmers and workers from around the world explaining why they need to earn more to survive a climate crisis that is already hurting their communities
  • Discussions between farmers, other experts and famous faces about what we need to do to choose a better future
  • Music, art and entertainment, from all corners of our passionate and talented global Fairtrade community
  • Fun interactive workshops on sustainable living here in the UK

Sign up today to join the festival here.

Fairtrade fortnight gives a great opportunity to think about the supply chain of all of the goods that we buy. Margaret Rouse (Mothers’ Union and Modern Slavery lead on the Diocesan Social Responsibly Panel) has written a short piece to get us thinking about the people behind the products... 

"We all like a bargain and, thanks to the internet, it is easy to find one. But, when you find that wonderful offer, do you stop to ask why it is so low? People often say ‘I could not make it myself for that price’; so, if you could not make it, who could? The answer, unfortunately, is people who are being exploited. They may be underpaid and working long hours in dangerous workshops- or- they may be victims of modern-day slavery. Retailers have high overheads, they need to get the best possible return for their money. They may be tempted to accept a low quotation for work; if the manufacturer cannot meet the demand, either in time or cost, they may pass the order on to another, cheaper firm who may pass it on again. No-one knows the condition of the workers who produce the items. Supply chains like this can be long, giving ample opportunity for exploitation. One on-line company recently accused of using manufacturers guilty of exploitation like this, is now making it a condition of the contract that the work must be done by the first contractor. Their prices may have to rise, but they hope that their goods will have been produced ethically. Local authorities have been aware of instances of modern day slavery in factories and workshops for some time, but identifying premises and rescuing victims is difficult. While low prices and high profits are attractive to retailers and to shoppers, manufacturers will exploit vulnerable people. If and item is cheap, it is because it was produced cheaply. The cost may be far more than the price on the tag. Next time you are tempted by a bargain, stop and ask why it is so inexpensive. The true cost may be someone’s life!"

If you'd like to find out more about the impact and prevalence of modern slavery then join the Christians in Leicester and Leicestershire Against Modern Slavery Facebook Group where they will be sharing a wide and diverse range of Fairtrade-related articles and thought-provoking questions for discussion throughout the fortnight. 


First published on: 22nd February 2021

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