Why I’m Passionate about Fairtrade
Why am I passionate about Fairtrade? For a start, it’s not ‘unfair trade’. It’s the confidence the FLO label gives to me, the customer, that the produce I buy in my local co-op store – coffee, tea, cotton, wine – is sourced from producers, often co-operatives, that have good conditions for their workers, that do not exploit children, and that collectively decide on the community benefit to be funded by the Fairtrade premium we pay.
It’s about trade justice too, and supporting the aim of progressive governments to promote social and environmental development for the poorer countries we trade with. World trade in agriculture is dominated by multinational corporations and in many parts of the third world one or two companies can dictate terms to the detriment of the farming communities. Women are particularly affected by unfair trade practices because in the third world more than two-thirds of women work in agriculture. As a woman as well as a co-operator, I want to help make a difference.
By putting into practice our ethical values and principles, we in the Co-operative movement in Britain can play a part in redressing the unfair balance of trade through which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We can bring some fairness and honourable dealing into the sourcing of our products. We can support the social and economical development of poorer communities in the third world. We can support co-operatives within those communities, and we can support the women and children who are so often marginalised or exploited in the so-called free trade system.
And whilst it’s important to me that I should buy Fairtrade goods, I also want to campaign for Fairtrade and spread the message to others. I’m involved with my local Fairtrade group which worked with local businesses, schools and churches to achieve Fairtrade accreditation for our village, and we continue to campaign to raise awareness, for example running a Fairtrade stall alongside the Midcounties Co-operative stall at the recent Jubilee celebrations in the village. Fairtrade has become part of my life.
Jean Nunn-Price MBE
Pic: Jean at the Jubilee Fairtrade stall.