Keeping refugee families together

The campaign keeping Refugee #FamiliesTogether, which is part of ‘Stand As One’ led by Oxfam and Amnesty International, has secured a victory.  On March 16th MPs voted to support a Bill that, if successful, will help keep families together, by proposing important changes to the rules that allow refugee families to reunite in the UK.

The ‘Stand As One’ campaign at York’s Fishergate Fair

This is a huge step forward for refugees in the UK who are desperate to be reunited with their families.

Restrictive government rules are leaving refugees isolated, traumatised and alone in the UK, knowing that the people they love still face untold dangers in other countries.

Thanks to pressure from campaigners and concerned members of the public, 129 MPs have shown true leadership. We’re one step closer to the introduction of new rules, which would mean fewer children have to grow up alone, fewer young women are left stranded in war zones and fewer elderly parents are forced to fend for themselves.

Posted on April 3rd, 2018 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Stand against ‘Sainsbury’s’ mean decision

In October, Fairtrade campaigners took a stand against the mean decision of supermarket giant ‘Sainsbury’s’ to abandon the Fairtrade certificate for tea in favour of launching their own ‘fairly traded’ scheme.  The new scheme will have a different approach to the distribution of the Fairtrade premium.  Whereas Fairtrade guarantees a premium which is paid to producer groups for them to decide how it will be spent to the benefit of their communities, Sainsbury’s will require that their producers will have to apply to a central committee to receive a premium.  The committee will vet the application, deciding what is in the best interests of the producers.  We at Fairtrade Yorkshire believe that the producers are the best people to decide what their earnings should be spent on.

York Fair Trade Forum members protest at Sainsbury’s York Foss Bank store.

On October 28th there was a national day of action in protest at Sainsbury’s decision.

Check out #NotMyCupofTea on Twitter to see just a snippet of the action:

Online, campaigners targeted 85% of stores. Offline, people did a huge amount – from craftivism to improvised drama in the checkout queue.

Posted on November 1st, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Trade renegotiation threats

The renegotiation of Britain’s trade agreements will be an extremely difficult process which is likely to stretch out over the next five years and more.  Those of us who have campaigned on trade issues realise that although this may offer some opportunities there are also immense threats.  Bi-lateral trade agreements have in the past resulted in the collapse of whole industries and sectors of agriculture.

Sylvia of York Fair Trade Forum backs Global Justice Now


Powerful trading nations, such as the USA, can insist that the UK turn its back on traditional trade with developing nations; leading to the loss of livelihoods for some of the world’s poorest communities.

Trade negotiations are closely linked to livelihoods.  Jobs both in the UK and overseas are on the line.  That is why we support the campaign by Global Justice Now to introduce democratic accountability for trade deals.

Global Justice Now refer to the intended process of trade renegotiation as ‘Dangerous Deals Being Done in the Dark.’  They call for Parliament and ordinary citizens to be involved in the process.  Given these are the most important decisions affecting our country’s future in a generation, it is unacceptable that trade deals be conducted in secret.  MPs need to be informed about the direction of any trade deals and their constituents should have the right to be involved in a democratic process.

There is mounting concern regarding trade negotiations with the USA which could result in a “taking away of control” on a wide variety of issues such as who else we choose to trade with and environmental, labour and health standards.

Say no to secret trade deals destroying livelihoods.  Back Global Justice Now.

Posted on August 10th, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Massive risk in the rush to negotiate “Brexit”

Mark Dawson, Coordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire comments: “Trade negotiations are all about livelihoods.  Britain is renegotiating all its trading relationships and this brings risk.  Risk that sectors of industry and agriculture, both in the UK and overseas, will be damaged and livelihoods lost.”

The Fairtrade Foundation is asking everyone who is concerned about the livelihoods of those producers across the globe who depend on British trade, to contact their MP’s.

Take action now

There is a massive risk that in the rush to negotiate “Brexit”, vulnerable and voiceless farmers and workers from the poorest countries could be forgotten.

Too often in the past, changes to trade rules and new trade deals have harmed not helped the poorest people who work hard to grow the food we love. We need to manage risks such as:

  • Leaving the EU’s single market and customs area without putting in place measures similar to the ones which currently protect farmers in the poorest developing countries. Doing this would immediately punish millions of farmers and workers with an extra £1 billion import tax bill.
  • Rushing into free trade agreements with wealthier countries such as the US, China and Brazil without ensuring that these deals won’t undercut very poor countries which depend on the UK for much of their sales.

Many of us will remember the large trade campaigns of the past and so are aware of the immense damage that can be done by ill thought out trade agreements.  It is very disappointing that there has not been a public debate around trade issues either in the run up to the referendum or in its aftermath.   The hurried nature of discussion in the UK Parliament, undermines the ability of the UK public to hold their elected representatives to account in the trade negotiation process.

For the Fair Trade movement, secrecy and lack of any real democratic accountability regarding our trade negotiations is not on.  We welcome the reinvigoration of a large scale movement for trade justice: dedicated to protecting livelihoods in the UK and for producers across the globe who rely on UK trade.

Make no mistake, millions of livelihoods, both in the UK and overseas, are at risk in the renegotiation of the UK’s trade agreements.  Don’t leave the decisions to the few, who will protect the sectors of the economy that they are interested in, at the expense of everyone else.



Posted on March 29th, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Show your hand: make trade fair

Thanks to your support, over 1.5 million farmers and workers in 74 countries are now part of Fairtrade – which stands for changing the way trade works, through fair prices and better working conditions, to offer a more stable future for farming communities.

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Together we’ve made great progress – but we need to go further. We need your help.
The interests and livelihoods of many Fairtrade farmers and workers, and many more outside of Fairtrade, continue to be undermined by unfair subsidies, unreasonable regulations, self-interested trade tariffs and one-sided trade deals – supported by the UK government. These deals prop up British and European interests, but they often do little for – and sometimes actively harm – poor farmers and workers. They block them from building up their businesses, force them out of markets and leave them unable to sell their produce.
This September, UK Prime Minister David Cameron will take to the global stage at the UN, backing new targets to end global poverty and reduce inequality, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The government is keen to show trade as a way for poor countries to tackle poverty – and as we know, the right kind of trade is a powerful way to lift people out of poverty.
The SDGs are a unique opportunity to call for fairer, more sustainable trade. Otherwise, it’s a case of giving with one hand and taking with the other.
We need government rhetoric to be backed by reality. We need the poor to come first in trade. It is only by doing this that trade will improve lives and livelihoods in a truly sustainable way.
Please ask your MP to raise this issue with the Prime Minister and demand he acts now to make trade fair.

More details: show your hand campaign

Posted on July 10th, 2015 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Speak up, for the love of Fairtrade

On 17th June Fairtrade supporters joined with Climate Coalition partners (including Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF) to lobby their MP’s for more action to combat climate change.  The mass lobby took place at the Houses of Parliament in London.

The goal of the coalition is 100% clean, safe energy by 2050, to protect both people and nature.

Matt Wright of Fairtrade Horsforth and Mark Dawson, Coordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire at the climate lobby

Matt Wright of Fairtrade Horsforth and Mark Dawson, Coordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire at the climate lobby

The world’s poorest communities are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, unable to afford adaptation strategies.  They are also the least to blame for the change in climate caused by rising CO2 emissions.

The benefits Fairtrade has brought to smallholder farmers and poor communities across the globe could be lost because of the changing climate.  Farmers in developing countries are already experiencing the detrimental effects of a changing climate leading to lower crop yields.

Constituents told their MP’s to:

Make it clean – we need to get all out energy from clean sources

Make it fair – support developing countries hardest hit by climate change

Make it work – for the sake of people and the environment – locally, nationally and globally.

The UK can play a pivotal role in obtaining a global climate deal at the UN climate conference in Paris in December, agreeing action to limit the rise in global temperature and delivering climate finance for developing countries.

Richard Lane, Communications Officer of Fairtrade Yorkshire, adds his message to the display in Lambeth Palace Gardens.

Richard Lane, Communications Officer of Fairtrade Yorkshire, adds his message to the display in Lambeth Palace Gardens.










Posted on June 18th, 2015 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Go bananas with Tesco

Fairtrade campaigners in York went bananas as they called on Tesco to stock more Fairtrade. Members of the York Fair Trade Forum assembled at Tesco’s Clifton Moor superstore on Friday 12th December and, with the help of a 5 metre long inflatable banana, drew attention to the campaign: ‘Asda and Tescos make your bananas Fairtrade.’

The campaigners were joined by the Fairtrade Councillor for the City of York, Linsay Cunningham-Cross, who handed over letters to the Duty Manager calling for the Tesco store to stock more Fairtrade bananas.fair bananas 30

The Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘Asda and Tescos make your bananas Fairtrade’ campaign has been launched as bitter banana price battles between the UK’s biggest supermarkets are trapping vulnerable farmers and workers in poverty.

Over the past 10 years, the price supermarkets charge for our loose bananas has halved, whilst the cost of producing them has doubled, leaving many banana farmers and workers caught below the poverty line.

Asda and Tesco are two of the biggest bananas sellers in the UK and major players in this price war. Thousands of farmers and workers grow the millions of bananas they sell each year, yet less than one in ten of these bananas comes with Fairtrade certification, which research shows is the best independent assurance that those who produced them were protected from the pressure of low prices.fair bananas 34

Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and The Co-operative have already acted to give their customers confidence that they’re not squeezing their farmers and workers – 100% of the bananas they sell are Fairtrade certified. Asda and Tesco, selling less than 10% Fairtrade, lag a long way behind.

We need to know that farmers and workers aren’t paying the price for our cheap bananas. Asda and Tesco are negotiating their banana contracts right now so it’s important to act quickly.fair bananas 32

Ask them to go Fairtrade today – send a message to your local store now


Posted on December 12th, 2014 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Leeds Campaigners Apeel to Asda to sell more Fairtrade bananas

A slightly soggy bunch of bananas a-peel to ASDA for better bananas

A slightly soggy bunch of bananas a-peel to ASDA for better bananas

Campaigners from Leeds have called on Asda and Tesco stores to sell more Fairtrade bananas to prevent banana farmers and workers in the developing world suffering as a result of supermarket price wars.

They are asking the supermarkets to make the switch during November, when retailers typically negotiate supplier contracts for the year ahead.

Bananas are the UK’s favourite fruit – the UK public spends over £700m eating 5 billion of them a year – yet instead of making a decent living, many banana farmers that supply the UK are struggling to get by. For instance in Ecuador, one of the UK’s biggest suppliers, only 1 in 4 families working in the banana industry earns enough to take them above the poverty line.[1] Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on November 14th, 2014 by Fairtrade Yorkshire

Stick with Foncho

bananasFairtrade Fortnight this year is from 24th February to 9th March and the theme this year is Make Bananas Fair.

We love bananas – in fact they’re our favourite fruit. In the UK alone we eat over five billion a year.

In the last 10 years, the UK supermarket sector has almost halved the shelf price of loose bananas while the cost of producing them has doubled, trapping many of the farmers and workers who grow them in a cycle of poverty.
Does that sound fair to you?

Our campaign aims to transform the banana industry. We want to make bananas fair. This means that every banana farmer and worker earns enough to have a decent standard of living, works in conditions that are safe and has rights and benefits. It also means bananas are produces in a way that is environmentally sustainable too.

More than 1.2 billion Fairtrade bananas are now sold in the UK each year. That’s one in every three bananas we buy.

Fairtrade provides a vital safety net for banana farmers and workers.  The Fairtrade safety net is the minimum price that farmers get to cover the costs of sustainable production, and a premium on top of this which they choose to invest either in community projects or in their business.

Fairtrade alone is not enough to end the price wars. We have to go further to ensure the price we pay for our bananas is sustainable, so that the whole industry can be made fair for farmers and workers.

Colombian banana farmer, Foncho.

Colombian banana farmer, Foncho.

Foncho is a banana farmer from Cienaga in Colombia.  This Fairtrade Fortnight, he’s coming to the UK and he’s on a mission to make bananas fair.

Before Foncho’s co-operative Coobafrio was certified as Fairtrade, Foncho often struggled to make ends meet – it was a hard life.

But since becoming Fairtrade, Foncho receives a fair price for his bananas, which means he can afford to care for his loved ones and send his daughter to college.

We need to act now so that all banana farmers and workers get a fair deal.

This Fairtrade Fortnight Stick with Foncho to make bananas fair.

Posted on January 28th, 2014 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

IF Campaigners head to London

Supporters of the Enough Food for Everyone: IF campaign headed to London for a last push before the G8 meeting hosted by David Cameron.IF5

They rallied in Hyde Park on 8th June.

45,000 people came from across the UK to demand the changes necessary so that no one in the world goes hungry.

The Fairtrade Foundation had their own display at the event & Yorkshire was well represented with many coachloads of supporters making the journey south.

The IF campaigners were joined by Rowan Williams, Bill Gates and Myleene Klass.

One of the highlights of the day was the planting of the field of flowers.  The two million petals of the paper flowers represent the 2 million children’s lives lost each year to hunger.  Lives that should never have been lost and we have a duty to ensure that policies change, so that children do not have to die of hunger and starvation in the future.IF4

Read here of Oxfam’s verdict on the G8 meeting and what has been achieved so far by the IF campaign.

Posted on July 8th, 2013 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News