Ten years ago, Croydon became the first London borough to become officially recognised as a Fairtrade borough, committed to boosting awareness and understanding of trade issues and promoting the purchase of Fairtrade products.
It is World Fairtrade Day on May 11.
And on Saturday May 18, to mark the borough’s anniversary Croydon Fairtrade Network (CFTN) is hosting a celebration event in the Clock Tower Café Foyer from 11am to 1pm.
Food insecurity – either not having enough food or having good reason to believe that you soon won’t have enough food – is a chronic issue in the developing world.
• Half the world – around 3 billion people – live on less than £1.30 a day (www.globalissues.org)
• Worldwide around 925 million people are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty, while up to 2 billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degrees of poverty (source: FAO, 2010).
• 6 million children die of hunger every year – 17,000 every day (Ban Ki Moon, 2009)
Meanwhile in the developed world, we have an “obesity epidemic” – in the UK, more than 1 in 5 are regarded as obese.
The reason for this stark contrast it that the world’s trading system is currently unfairly skewed in favour of the rich nations (including the UK) and against the producers in the developing world. For example, if you buy non-Fairtraded bananas in the supermarket, then typically
• 44 per cent of the price is kept by the supermarket
• 23 per cent goes to the firm that imports the bananas into the UK
• 13 per cent goes to the shipping company
• 17 per cent goes to the owner of the banana plantation – often a multi-national
• 3 per cent goes to the banana grower
Fairtrade is a practical response to this unfairness. It is about paying better prices, guaranteeing decent working conditions and local sustainability, and ensuring fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
Companies that want to market themselves as Fairtraders are required to pay sustainable prices which must never fall lower than the market price. Over and above the Fairtrade minimum price, the producers also receive a Fairtrade Premium which they can invest in meeting the needs of their community, such as building roads, erecting a school, or digging a well – to better help their community to become more sustainable.
Fairtrade also encourages producers to join together in co-operatives to increase their ability to promote their own interests.
The Fairtrade Foundation is a development organisation in the UK committed to tackling poverty and injustice through trade. Its role is to develop and implement Fairtrade standards for products, and oversee the use of the Fairtrade kitemark in the UK.
The UK is one of the world’s largest Fairtrade markets: £799 million was spent on Fairtrade goods here in 2009, and it is doubling in value every two years. There are now more than 3,000 Fairtrade certified products available in the UK. Some items – like bananas, coffee, and chocolate – that sell in large quantities are available through supermarkets, but many other products that the producers can’t supply in sufficient quantity for the supermarkets are only available through your local Fairtrader or online.
- For more information see the Fairtrade Foundation website: www.fairtrade.org.uk, or for local activities, contact Bernard Dainton at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon – 267,670 page views (Nov 2012-Apr 2013)
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