Here's our rundown of everything you need to know about Fairtrade Fortnight:
While enjoying your favourite chocolate bar, have you ever stopped to think about what it took to make it? If you go right back to the start of your chocolate bar’s life, you’ll most likely find a farmer who earned less than their living wage to source the cocoa to make it. According to the Fairtrade Foundation, West African cocoa farmers should earn £1.86 per day. The reality is however that many of them currently earn as little as £0.74 per day.
There is also disparity amongst genders. Whilst both men and women practice farming in West Africa, the latter have it worse. Every day West African Women earn less than half the living wage sourcing the cocoa for chocolate bars. Women are responsible for much of the work on the farm and in the household. From planting and harvesting to looking after the children and carrying water. If that wasn't enough, women are also in charge of transporting the cocoa beans to the market, and yet they often earn less.
But there is hope. Founded in 1992, The Fairtrade Foundation is dedicated to solving this problem. They ensure these farmers are paid a fair wage for their produce. Incredibly, the Fairtrade system now includes over 1.66 million workers in 1,411 organisations. Pulling hundreds of thousands of farmers out of poverty over 26 years.
What is Fairtrade Fortnight?
In 1997 they launched Fairtrade Fortnight, a two-week long celebration of the people that grow the crops that fuel our world. The campaign’s ultimate goal is to inform people of the extremely disadvantaged conditions that some workers have to face in the world’s poorest countries. It runs from 24 February until 8 March 2020, and this year focuses again on the people who grow the cocoa that goes into our chocolate bars.
How do you get involved in Fairtrade Fortnight?
Fairtrade is all about guaranteeing good working conditions and fair terms of trade to workers, but what can we do can to help?
There are many different ways in which you can help the Fairtrade Foundation. From sharing the campaign on your social media to signing a petition. Everything can make a difference. Joining these types of activities can significantly help the cause. You can start by changing little things, like the food you buy.
Look for the Fairtrade logo the next time you’re shopping for chocolate and you can guarantee that the person who grew the cocoa has been paid fairly. The same goes for many other food types.
But it’s not just food that can be certified Fairtrade… our clothes can be Fairtrade too.
How does Fairtrade affect the way we shop for clothes?
While the theme for 2020 Fairtrade Fortnight is cocoa, fair agricultural labour conditions extend far beyond just food.
As most of the textile industry relies on cotton, it makes sense that Fairtrade would also apply to the textiles and clothes. Fairtrade clothing guarantees the cotton farmers and others in the supply chain earned a dignified salary and reasonable work conditions.
Fairtrade clothing is growing in popularity with, for instance, Transport for London announcing the use of Fairtrade cotton in the production of their safety vests. From good working conditions to fair wages, it is safe to say that many fashion brands are moving in the right direction, producing clothes and accessories that embody ethical values.
At MAMOQ we are proud to champion the rights of workers by supporting brands committed to fair and ethical production. This Fairtrade Fortnight we celebrate all of the amazing farmers around the world, and the organisations that help support them. So, next time you pick up a bar of chocolate or buy a new cotton t-shirt, look for that Fairtrade symbol and help create a more equitable and fair future.