Campaigns

National Campaigner Committee latest news

Community campaigners are the beating heart of the Fairtrade movement and thousands of us up and down the country spend every Fairtrade Fortnight and beyond engaging with our local communities in high streets, village halls, churches, schools universities and steam trains. We are a diverse bunch as Yorkshire’s 38 Fairtrade places show – we campaign in the way that works best for us.

But we do all this with the understanding that we are working as a single campaigning community, with a single aim, using materials created by the Fairtrade Foundation’s Campaigns Team to create a single message – Choose Fairtrade. It works. It empowers farmers, helping their communities. Our grassroots community movement is dedicated to supporting the grassroots community organisations who decide how their Fairtrade community premium is spent. Telling their stories is the most important and rewarding part of campaigning for Fairtrade.

Since the first Fairtrade Town – Garstang – was announced in 2001, over 600 UK places have joined the Fairtrade Towns movement and we’ve made a huge impact.  In 2010  the National Campaigner Committee was set up as a way to give campaigners a democratic voice within Fairtrade. The committee is designed to represent the regions and nations of the UK and report back to campaigners. It’s also designed to give campaigners a key contact – fairly local to them – who can represent their views to the Fairtrade Foundation and give feedback on campaigns. The current Chair of the NCC is Mark Dawson, the previous Co-ordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire and last week current Co-ordinator Joanna attended the Fairtrade Foundation’s AGM as a co-opted member of the NCC and heard the latest plans for future campaigns and activities.  She is excited to bring you more information about plans for Fairtrade Fortnight and beyond, but meanwhile the latest news from the National Campaigner Committee can be found here:

Read the latest

Posted on October 9th, 2020 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Book review – Stolen Lives by Louise Hulland

On a recent shopping trip I was disappointed  by the hugely reduced range of nail polish available to buy in my local Superdrug store. I worked for the retailer in in the early 2000s when we sold hundreds of different shades and brands. It was a mystery to me how demand could possibly have reduced so much in a just a few years, since I was still seeing women with painted nails. Then it struck me with increasing horror. There’s no longer any need to pay £10 for a bottle of nail polish – and the base and top coat if you’re going to do it properly – when for the same price you could go to one of the myriad nail bars that pockmark our high streets and have them done for you. Many people would call it pampering. But the Vietnamese woman who does your nails is so far from pampered she may not even be paid. And she is more likely than not to be a modern slave.

In 2015 I was invited by Baroness Lola Young to attend the launch of the Modern Slavery Act. It was an opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea at the House of Lords, so of course I couldn’t refuse.

But the whole point about modern slavery – like so much of the broken global system of trade – is that the people trapped in slavery can’t refuse either. They have had all their choices taken away, along with their paperwork and money. From Vietnamese teenagers trafficked into the UK to work on cannabis farms, to Slovakians washing your car by hand for £3 a time, and homeless British men taken off city streets to work on farms, made to live, eat and sleep with animals, modern slavery is now so prevalent that it has popped up as a storyline in the perhaps incongruous setting of Ambridge. The Archers – not long after tackling the then little understood issue of coercive control in relationships – is showing how modern slavery is easy to miss since it hides in plain sight.

Louise Hulland’s book looks at all aspects of modern slavery with a keen, incisive eye and a compassion for victims. Threaded through the book is the story of Albanian woman Elena. Lured by a “boyfriend” to Belgium where her papers are taken, Elena finds herself in a brothel and eventually due to a kindly lorry driver she escapes – heavily pregnant – into the British system. Victims who are so scared of their bosses and the authorities that they resist attempts to save them, and are so traumatised by their experiences that their accounts are inconsistent, do not make credible witnesses. Louise shines a bright light on the labyrinthine, almost Kafkaesque, complexity of the hostile environment which aims to support victims and prosecute bosses, while still treating victims as potential illegal immigrants.

While supporting the right of workers to decent pay and conditions wherever they are is close to the hearts of trade justice campaigners, perhaps most relevant to our movement is the persistence of modern slavery in complex supply chains. The second principle of fair trade is “Transparency and Accountability” and it would be difficult to imagine anything further from most conventional models of trade than the fair trade model of full traceability. The people who import and sell fair trade goods in our independent fair trade shops understand how important it is to be able to tell the story. Regular visits, audits and inspections are part and parcel of what it means to be a fair trade organisation. This is easier for small importers who know their suppliers by name, but what about bigger organisations? Our old friend the Co-op comes out of Louise’s book very well, with a long interview with Paul Gerrard (The Co-op’s Campaigns and Public Affairs Director) who gives a few key pieces of advice for other retailers who could be doing more. M&S also merits an honourable mention, with their Interactive Map showing all their suppliers all over the world which you can search by sector.

Slavery was not abolished in 1807, 1833 or 1865. It remains endemic, especially in complex supply chains or places where the rule of law does not reign supreme. This book will empower consumers and activists to keep our eyes open, question and tackle the root causes. It should also make you decide that your next afternoon tea will be Fairtrade.

If you want to buy this book, please try to avoid Amazon. Buying from your local bookshop helps support family businesses, or you can order from Hive to get it delivered there, at home or as a download.

Posted on September 22nd, 2020 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Nestle abandons Fairtrade after a decade. KitKat will no longer bear the mark

Update: Wednesday 23 September

The cocoa harvest in Cote d’Ivoire starts on 1 October and that’s the same day that the first KitKats without the Fairtrade mark roll off the production line in York.

So that’s the day we’ve chosen for our Day of Action, and the day we hand in the Keep KitKat Fairtrade petition with almost 300,000 signatures to Nestle.

Obviously the global pandemic and social distancing laws and guidelines limit the number of people who can take part in person, but you can still get involved from the comfort of your own home.

We want the hashtag #IStandWithFarmers trending on Thursday 1 October. We’re asking supporters and campaigners – including celebrities – to tweet our videos, photos and graphics on that day.

You can download the poster and put it in your window on Thursday 1 October. If you have a shop window, a business or access to another place where you think the poster will be seen, please put one up there.

You can also take a photo of yourself with the poster and share it on social media using the hashtag #IStandWithFarmers You can also add #ChooseFairtrade and/or #KeepKitKatFairtrade

We’re asking everyone to change their Facebook cover photo to the I Stand With Farmers graphic. You can do this just for one day or for a longer period, so long as it includes Thursday 1 October. We want to try and turn Facebook red on Thursday 1 October. Don’t forget, if you manage the Facebook page of a Fair Trade business or campaign group, you can change both your personal and the organisation’s cover photos.

Download the poster: Poster English

Download the Facebook cover photo

Download the Twitter post picture

Download the Instagram post picture

Download the Facebook post picture

Day of Action Press Release

Keep an eye out for more details of what’s happening, because there’s lots more to come.

 

We hope you’ll love and share the above video, featuring Fairtrade campaigners from around the country reading some of the comments on the petition.

When we hand in the petition on Thursday morning we’ll take photos which you’ll find on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

You will have your own ideas for other ways to get involved. Perhaps you’re having a Zoom meeting for your fair trade towns group, so why not take a screenshot of all your members holding the poster like this one from Dunscore Fairtrade Village.

Perhaps you’re running an art or craft class for children or adults, so why not take our poster and add your own decorations in the white spaces or create your own versions? Or write your own haiku when you tweet out our video? (Tip: Keep KitKat Fairtrade and I Stand With Farmers are both 5 syllables)

These are also available in Welsh from the Fair Trade Wales website

Update: Tuesday 15 September

The latest International Guide to Fair Trade Labels 2020 Edition has been released.

While this looks at both Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance Standards it does not contain Rainforest Alliance in its list of Fair Trade Labels, instead classing it as a Sustainable Development label. Nevertheless, campaigners have been asking for a simple side by side comparison of the two marks so we have produced a document which attempts to do this. It is not exhaustive and has not been produced under rigorous academic conditions. It is simply a way of broadly comparing the standards of the two marks. All the material comes directly from either the International Guide or from the websites of Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade.

Rainforest Alliance Fairtrade comparison

You can download the full Rainforest Alliance 2020 standards from their website here.

And download the full FLO standards from their website here.

Update: Wednesday 2 September

Watch the video from the Ivorian Fair Trade Network (RICE) showing how important Fairtrade is for farmers

Update: Thursday 23 July

With the petition now standing at over 275,000 signatures, Nestle has met Joanna and Mark, current and previous Co-ordinators of Fairtrade Yorkshire. Before the meeting we asked some of the signatories what they wanted Nestle to hear. One comment in particular stood out:

My great-great grandfather, Henry Isaac Rowntree, started H.I.Rowntree & Co, later Rowntree & Co. Remind them that KitKat was a Rowntree product and that Rowntree was a Quaker firm, based on Quaker principles of fairness and honesty. Fairtrade matches those principles. The farmers who produce the cocoa for Nestle are as much their workers as those directly employed and are owed a duty of care.

Key Points

Nestle’s plan is for all their cocoa to be independently certified as sustainable by 2025. Because they have been working with Rainforest Alliance and UTZ – which have now merged and will be called Rainforest Alliance – they have chosen to work only with them in the future. This means their relationship with Fairtrade on KitKat will end in October 2020. We asked if the implementation could be postponed until after the pandemic, but the answer was “No.”

Around 10,000 cocoa farmers who form 8 co-operatives in Cote d’Ivoire currently supply Fairtrade cocoa to Nestle. Around half of these already have both Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certification. When a company buys cocoa from a Fairtrade farmer they don’t have to buy it on Fairtrade terms. They must do so if they wish to use the Fairtrade mark on their packaging, but until the last decade it was not unusual for farmers to have to sell most of their crop on non-Fairtrade terms. In October 2020 it is likely that some or many of the farmers who are currently only Fairtrade certified  will not have had chance to gain Rainforest Alliance certification. Nestle has agreed that it will help pay for these farmers to gain certification and for those who have not yet achieved it, they will pay a premium on the 2020 harvest – not the Fairtrade premium, but a lower Rainforest Alliance premium. The Rainforest Alliance plans to introduce a minimum premium of $70 per tonne by 2022. At present they require buyers to pay a sustainability premium but there is no minimum. In contrast the Fairtrade premium is set at $240 per tonne.

Nestle says it will end up paying $180 per tonne in premiums. This is lower than the $240 per tonne Fairtrade premium. The Fairtrade premium is paid direct to co-operatives where the money is allocated based on a democratic vote. Nestle has promised to give Fairtrade Yorkshire a breakdown of the $180 premium – how and to whom it is paid and who decides where it is spent.

The key feature of the Fairtrade system is the minimum price guarantee. Currently this is $2400 per tonne. It is likely that the price of cocoa – plus the legally required Living Income Differential – will not drop below this for the 2020 harvest. But in 2017 cocoa prices dropped by 40%. Farmers will not be able to plan long term if they cannot guarantee what price they will receive for their harvest. Bear in mind that on average cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire earn just 74p per day.

Nestle also appeared before the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fairtrade whose co-Chairs, Holly Lynch and Jason McCartney both represent Yorkshire constituencies. They covered all the same concerns as we did in our meeting but also raised the concern that if, as a lot of the petition signatories suggest, people start to boycott KitKat because they are no longer Fairtrade, workers in Nestle’s Yorkshire factories which produce KitKat are at risk of losing their jobs which, particularly in the current employment climate, would be devastating.

Read the the APPG’s press release

Keep KitKat Fairtrade campaign

Kit Kat was invented in York in 1935. A billion bars a year are still made in the city and Nestle has offices here. From its earliest  beginnings in York, Rowntree like many of the city’s Quaker chocolatiers was known as a good employer, providing pay, working conditions and housing and healthcare far beyond what other employers at the time were doing. Fairtrade now does the same thing for people who live in desperate poverty in low income countries growing the food we eat. Which is why we in Yorkshire were delighted when in 2010 Nestle announced that KitKat – its best selling brand – would bear the Fairtrade mark, meaning all the cocoa and sugar which Nestle sources for KitKat is bought on Fairtrade terms.

In the past ten years, cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire, like Rosine who visited Yorkshire in March, and sugar farmers in Fiji and Malawi have benefited from increased prices and community premiums which have transformed their lives and the lives of their families. Nestle intends to source all its sugar from European sugar beet farmers which means around 10,000 small scale sugar farmers losing out. The brand plans to continue buying from its cocoa farmers but not on Fairtrade terms which means 16,000 farmers losing the premiums which they allocate democratically based on their communities’ needs. It’s undemocratic and risks sending the message that cocoa farmers don’t deserve to make decisions about their own lives.

The Black Lives Matter protests have successfully brought the issue of violence against people of colour into mainstream conversation. Black lives matter wherever those lives are lived and reducing the already low incomes and right to self determination of some of the poorest black people in the world will be devastating.   To take and implement this decision in the middle of a global pandemic is unconscionable.

The Association which represents fair trade producers in Cote d’Ivoire have written a letter to Nestle to  ask them to reconsider. You can read more including the letter here.

You can read Joanna’s opinion piece in the i newspaper here.

Please sign the petition to Keep KitKat Fairtrade and share it widely with your networks.

Sign the petition

UPDATE; Friday 3 July – We now have over 240,000 signatures on the petition. Thank you to everyone who’s signed and shared.

The Ethical Trading Initiative published an interesting blog post about the issue. Is Nestle Building Back Worse?

Nestle has published this page on its website to deal with the issue.

My comments: Rainforest Alliance is a really good organisation, and for cocoa brands which don’t currently have any independent certification for their suppliers, it’s a good choice to ensure their farmers are Rainforest Alliance certified. Lots of farms – coffee as well as cocoa – are “triple cert” – Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic, and the majority of farmers who currently supply Nestle on Fairtrade terms will already meet Rainforest Alliance standards. From September, Rainforest Alliance will be applying new sustainability standards. This will coincide with Nestle’s move to Rainforest Alliance.

However, Nestle is moving away from the more rigorous Fairtrade certified cocoa standards to Rainforest Alliance. Having the same symbol on all your products might be tempting from a branding point of view but it doesn’t help the farmers who will be paid less for their work.

“Our aim is not only to make sure farmers receive a fair price for their cocoa but to also make sure that we are tackling key social and environmental issues including child labour and deforestation.” 

Fairtrade has always been about much much more than paying a fair price to farmers. Tackling social and environmental issues is also at the heart of Fairtrade, and tackling the endemic problem of the worst forms of child labour on West African cocoa farms has always been one of the guiding principles of Fairtrade. Rainforest Alliance’s new sustainability standards focus on child labour and deforestation after some criticism about certifications for farms which were encroaching on rainforest (ironically) in Cote d’Ivoire.

“Farmer income is based on some variables that we do not control. This includes the annual price of cocoa, which the Ivorian and Ghanaian governments will only confirm shortly before the new cocoa year begins, as well as the portion of the Fairtrade premium that the farmer receives, as this is decided by each individual cooperative. The amount we spend on premiums and investment in additional projects with the farmer cooperatives in the year ahead will significantly exceed the Fairtrade premium we would have paid.”

This is the key paragraph for the farmers who will be working with Nestle. With Fairtrade there is a minimum price for cocoa guaranteed at $2,400 per tonne. This has been calculated to cover the cost of production and applies whatever the market price for cocoa happens to be. So if Nestle really wanted to guarantee what price they pay their cocoa farmers they could continue with Fairtrade. Recently the governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana introduced the Living Income Differential which adds $400 per tonne to prices paid for cocoa grown in these countries, regardless of who the buyer is. The money is put into a pot to compensate farmers when the cocoa market price falls. This will mean that the price should be more or less the same as the Fairtrade minimum for the next couple of years, but if there is another collapse like 2017 when prices dropped by 40% this will severely impact farmers.

The Fairtrade premium is paid directly to the farmer who pools it with other cocoa farmers in her community and they decide democratically how their community should best use it. There is no need to explain what they plan to do, to apply for the money. This is their money and Fairtrade understands that they know best how to spend it. The Fairtrade premium is $240 per tonne – 30% higher than the $180 per tonne Rainforest Alliance premium which Nestle says it will be paying. Nestle has committed to extra payments over the next two years but communities need to be able to rely on a steady income long term. What Nestle is proposing feels more like charity than fair trade.

The elephant in the room is sugar. Nestle has made commitments to the cocoa farmers but none to the sugar farmers. The decision to source all their sugar from European sugar beet will have a devastating effect on sugar farmers like these in Fiji whose plight Australian media are reporting.

For more information about the differences between Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certification – and others, you can download the International Guide to Fair Trade Labels by clicking below.

international-Guide-to-Fair-Trade-Labels-2020-Edition

 

Posted on June 23rd, 2020 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Don’t Give Up on Fairtrade in Lent

Don’t Give Up On Fairtrade this Lent
Lent is a time when many of us choose to make a small sacrifice for a few weeks. For lots of us this includes giving up chocolate, which has the added benefit of making our Easter celebrations that bit sweeter, but have you considered the impact of your choice on the millions of cocoa and sugar farmers who rely on our chocolate consumption for a living.
Fairtrade Fortnight starts on the Monday before Ash Wednesday and we’re asking you not to give up on the Fairtrade farmers this Lent. By pledging to make sure all the chocolate you eat this Lent is Fairtrade – and talking to others about your choice – you can help support farmers around the world to have a better life.

When we ask Fairtrade farmers what they want us as campaigners to do, the answer is nearly always “Buy our goods!”
So while giving up chocolate for Lent might feel like the right thing to do, it leaves cocoa (and sugar) farmers out of pocket.
So this year we’re saying “Don’t Give Up On Fairtrade this Lent”
By making sure you only eat Fairtrade chocolate in Lent – instead of giving up altogether – you can help farmers around the world.
Because the Easter message is partly that one person can save the world and Fairtrade is a way for you to be that one person.

So instead of refusing all chocolate by saying “Sorry, I’ve given up chocolate for Lent” now you can say “I’ve pledged only to eat Fairtrade chocolate during Lent” and start a conversation with someone who may not know how important Fairtrade is to farmers.

You can download our leaflet below and this Fairtrade Fortnight look out for stories from the cocoa farmers themselves to help you explain why you’re not giving up on Fairtrade this Lent. Some of these will be “storybombed” by Fairtrade campaigners and supporters, some will be in the national and local press and some will be available on the Fairtrade Foundation website and social media.

Dont Give Up on Fairtrade – download the leaflet

Posted on January 14th, 2020 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fair Trade Detectives

How many times have you visited a town or village and looked in vain for a cafe where you can get a Fairtrade cup of coffee or a shop selling delicious Fairtrade chocolate to satisfy your cravings? Perhaps you’re going Christmas shopping in a Yorkshire city and want to know where you can buy fair trade gifts for your loved ones. Well – at Fairtrade Yorkshire we’re here to help.

Our brand new web resource turns you into a fair trade detective – and helps you find fair trade goods wherever you are in the region.

Whenever you find fair trade goods in Yorkshire, upload the details to the website (it won’t be instant – just in case people take advantage!) and help others find the Fairtrade and fair trade goods we love.

Click here to go to the fair trade detectives website

The criteria are: it can be a shop, cafe or a regular stall for example in a church. They must be selling goods with the Fairtrade mark, or sourced from members of WFTO or BAFTS (UK Fair Trade Network).

If you’re a group wanting to promote the Fairtrade Detectives scheme at local schools and events we have pens and leaflets for you to give out. Simply contact us to order what you need.

Look for these marks.

Posted on November 1st, 2019 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Beeston Community Eid celebrations

It was fantastic to see Fairtrade Yorkshire represented at the Beeston Community Eid celebration on Saturday.

Posted on June 10th, 2019 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Let’s promote Fairtrade on Yorkshire Day

Yorkshire Day falls on Thursday 1 August 2019 and we’re planning on making a splash about Fairtrade Yorkshire on this special day.

Here’s how you can help promote Fairtrade Yorkshire on social media:

  1. First get your Fairtrade Yorkshire logo –  Either print the A4 version (available by clicking here) or email joanna@fairtradeyork.com to order some of our specially printed cards.
  2. When you visit one of Yorkshire’s tourist attractions, iconic buildings, parks, artworks or bridges for example, simply get out your logo and take a photo.
  3. If you wish you can email your photo to joanna@fairtradeyork.com for inclusion on our Wall of Yorkshire Fairtrade for Yorkshire Day.
  4. On 1 August post your photo on social media, tagging Fairtrade Yorkshire and including the hashtags #FairtradeYorkshire and #YorkshireDay – any photos emailed will be posted on your behalf.

Wall of Yorkshire Fairtrade

Posted on June 3rd, 2019 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

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: http://bit.ly/2inWPBx

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