Do you know what you’re really buying when you get your morning coffee or cup of tea? How about your afternoon chocolate pick-me-up?
We don’t like to think about whether our treats or daily eating habits, for that matter, are anything but sweet for the farmers growing the ingredients, but in reality the conditions can often be too bitter to stomach.
Coffee, chocolate, tea, cotton and bananas are all products that have become so notorious for human exploitation (slavery, child labour, environmental injustice, sweatshops, and poor wages) that we often just assume we have to just accept the bitter reality of the way company supply chains are often run. However, we can and do have the ability to change trade. We can create a fair trading environment for these products, and eventually transparent supply chains. We just have to increase the demand for them.
That's where Fairtrade Fortnight comes in. Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand will be reminding consumers - that's you - over this time to look for the Fairtrade Mark - the familiar blue and green logo symbolising a farmer in a field - and to #buyfair. The Mark means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet robust Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include protection of worker rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.
Here are some cool things you'll be doing when you #buyfair
- If the coffee you buy is Fairtrade, you can be certain the business behind that cuppa is working with farmers to make the industry sustainable by paying a fair price for beans, improving environmental standards, and helping communities to build better futures.
- Buying Fairtrade chocolate gets all of us closer to a world without child labour and helps eradicate the practice in cocoa-growing countries where we work, like Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. It makes those chocolately mouthfuls even sweeter!
- A cup of Fairtrade tea supports the fight for gender equality in an industry that has a high number of female workers picking tea leaves, but can deny women their rights or make it hard for children to go to school.
- Cotton and banana crops can have a terrible effect on the environment, with harmful pesticides and chemicals ending up in waterways; not to mention the health costs to the farmers. Fairtrade’s environmental standards mean your new shirt doesn’t have to cost the earth. Literally.
The transformation of trade won’t happen in a week, let alone a fortnight. But small actions individually make a big impact together. So remember to #BuyFair and show your support this Fairtrade Fortnight and beyond!
For more ideas and brands to know about, visit fairtrade.org.nz