The region celebrates Fairtrade Fortnight

The East of England comes together to support Fairtrade Fortnight

Written by Kayleigh Thomas

With Fairtrade Fortnight (27 February – 12 March) just around the corner, we look at the businesses offering support across the region 

Fair Trade Tea Picture

Fairtrade isn’t just about bananas and coffee beans. From the clothes on our backs to the furniture in our homes, awareness of human exploitation and the impact of our purchasing decisions is higher than ever.

In the wake of tragedies like the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, which housed five garment factories supplying global brands and killed 1,135 people, fast fashion has come under pressure with social media users asking brands #WhoMadeMyClothes.

And with more and more people taking an interest in their health, so has risen the scrutiny of the use of chemical pesticides and intensive farming practices, along with the exploitation of workers and animals that comes with cheap food prices.

Fairtrade shop

Fairtrade Fortnight offers an antidote to the world’s ills, connecting campaigners, businesses, schools and places of worship to the farmers and workers in developing countries who grow our food and make our garments.

This year’s campaign has a brand new message: ‘Don’t Feed Exploitation. Choose Fairtrade’, and between Monday 27 February and Sunday 12 March 2017 it’s going to be easier than ever for us to make conscious purchasing choices.

Adam Gardner, Communities Campaigns Manager for the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Whether in the UK or in Malawi, no one deserves to be short-changed for a hard day’s work. When we choose the cheapest products, we may be unconsciously feeding exploitation. We become part of the problem, but we can make a conscious choice to be part of the solution and support trade that is fair.

“Throughout our two-week campaign, local businesses, Fairtrade Towns and campaigners across the East of England will be encouraging people to put Fairtrade in their breaks, choose Fairtrade when they shop and ask more stores to stock Fairtrade products.”

A Fairtrade certified purchase is your guarantee that the product is traded in a more ethical way – meaning safe working conditions, better livelihoods and better protection for the environment.

Malcolm Wallace from Chelmsford City’s Fairtrade Campaign said: “Fairtrade sales have grown year after year but there is so much more to be done. If we want to act directly to improve the lives of people in the developing world, then purchase products that carry the Fairtrade logo.”

fairtrade chocolate

He couldn’t be more right. The East of England is home to many fantastic local, family-owned Fairtrade businesses – here are just some of our favourites:

Fair trade skin care 

Suffolk-based Odylique has one of the UK’s largest ranges of certified organic skincare and their handmade products are free from parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrances, petroleum, mineral oil, glycols, sulphates and other potentially toxic chemicals. 

Fair trade chocolate 

Rawr Chocolate has been producing delicious organic, ethical chocolate bars since starting out in a Cambridge kitchen several years ago. Their raw, dairy-free chocolates contain all the beneficial enzymes found in unprocessed cacao whilst adding none of the refined sugar, artificial ingredients, chemical preservatives, emulsifiers or colourings found in many commercial chocolate bars.

Fair Trade Charities  

The Just Traid Centre is a charity working towards alleviating poverty in developing countries by buying and selling Fairtrade goods in Suffolk. The organisation is completely self-financed and, along with the generosity of around 170 volunteers, a successful shop and café has been developed. Just Traid is working towards Bury St Edmunds becoming a Fairtrade town.

The Fair Trade Shop, found near Ipswich’s town centre on Upper Brook Street, believes that while you may come to visit them for their Fairtrade ethos, it’s the quality of their products that will bring you back. Their products are subject to rigorous quality control; for example, some of their food is organically produced, while all processed products are made only with high quality ingredients. The shop is staffed mainly by volunteers and, after expenses, all proceeds are used to stock the shop from a growing number of suppliers, most of whom are members of BAFTS.

Fair Trade Markets 

Traders Fair in Colchester is an independent, not-for-profit Fairtrade shop run entirely by volunteers. The store has been trading since 1995 and is proud to be a founding member of BAFTS, The British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers.

Fair Trade Food

Fairhaven Wholefoods is a family-run health store found in Letchworth Garden City that stocks many Fairtrade items. With over 3,000 wholefood products, here you’ll find organic produce alongside gluten- and wheat-free, dairy-free, paraben-free, SLS-free and vegan goods. The store also offers eco-friendly products across body care, haircare, feminine care and baby care, as well as natural health supplements and vitamins.

2017 is the perfect time for us to amplify the voices of marginalised producers by buying Fairtrade. By changing how we think about trade and choosing to purchase products that drive positive change, your actions truly transform the lives of farmers and workers all around the world.

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