Ian McMillan’s poem for Fairtrade Yorkshire

Ian McMillan supports Fairtrade Yorkshire

Ian McMillan lends his support to the campaign

Yorkshire poet and national treasure Ian McMillan, the Bard of Barnsley, has leant his support to the campaign to make Yorkshire a Fairtrade Region.

The presenter of BBC Radio 3’s “The Verb” and poet-in-residence at Barnsley FC has penned an ode to the campaign called simply “Fairtrade Region”:

Let’s make Yorkshire a Fairtrade place,
Put a Fairtrade smile on a trader’s face;
From the northern dales to the steel-built south,
Let’s bring a grin to a trader’s mouth;
From the Western Moors to the East Coast ships,
Let’s raise a cheer from a trader’s lips.
Let’s make a Fairtrade county – make it fair,
Show that we’re Yorkshire and show we care!

Hear Ian McMillan reading the poem

Many thanks, Ian!

Posted on October 5th, 2022 by Fairtrade Yorkshire

Like Moths to a Flame

The Moths to a Flame project for COP26 in Skipton and Embsay

Moths to Flame in the making

The Fairtrade town and village groups worked together in the Great Big Green Week and encouraged others to join them making moths out of the middle of plastic milk containers. The moths made in Skipton and Embsay became part of an installation comprising 20,000 others in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens for COP26, where they provided an oasis of calm and contemplation. If you’re asking why moths it’s because the moth is a metaphor for our relationship with energy.

Skipton and Embsay moths

The Moths to a Flame project was the brainchild of the Plymouth Energy Community and aimed to help people make creative connections with action on climate change. We certainly enjoyed the experience and were delighted when the moth installation won the Sustainability People’s Choice Art prize 2021. This short video on You Tube v=wyJnvUy75yM  will give you a tour of the exciting installation and the photos show some of the moths we made and some in the making.

Moths to Flame art installation at Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Posted on November 27th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fairtrade Campaigners call on COP 26

Fairtrade supporters across Yorkshire are calling for COP26 to be more than just blah, blah, blah. Climate justice is needed to ensure that the countries of the global south, who have contributed the least to escalating climate change, are given the support they need to adapt to the changing climate. The Fair Trade movement is at the forefront of assisting producers to cope with the adverse effects of climate change and has a key role to play in creating sustainable livelihoods for the future.

Fairtrade supporters joined the Global Day for climate justice march in York on Saturday 6th November. The march began at York Minster and the protesters demanded that world leaders assembling at COP26 deliver on promises of a low carbon future and climate justice for the world’s poor.

Global Day for Climate Justice march in York

Across Yorkshire Fairtrade supporters have been drawing attention to the need for climate justice. They supported the Young Christian Climate Network march for climate justice, as activists walked from Cornwall to Glasgow, passing through our region. Events along the route included the holding of  a special service at York Minster, which was led by the Dean. At a local level, Fairtrade campaigner Cynthia Dickinson set up a display of climate related artwork in the Crofton Parish Centre and promoted the Wave of Hope, to persuade leaders to do act swiftly in the face of the escalating climate crisis.

Fairtrade stalwart, Cynthia and the artwork display in Crofton

Wave of Hope window display

Posted on November 8th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

COP26 position paper – Placing fairness at the heart of climate ambitions

The international community must confront trade injustice, enforce transparency and accountability in supply chains, and secure climate financing mechanisms, living incomes and wages for the world’s smallholder agricultural producers, artisans and workers in order to successfully address the climate crisis and guarantee a sustainable future for all, the world’s leading Fair Trade organizations announced today.

In a position paper released ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, Fairtrade, the World Fair Trade Organization, and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and 14 additional signatories from the global Fair Trade movement, have outlined the critical steps deemed necessary for achieving comprehensive climate justice, including urging the private sector to increase transparency and accountability over sustainability in supply chains; demanding strengthened environmental regulations and trade rules; and calling for facilitated access to appropriate funding mechanisms for smallholder farmers and producers.

Without these measures in place, the signatory organizations argue, the international community’s climate ambitions will continue to fail the planet’s most vulnerable communities, particularly the smallholder farmers and agricultural producers, who remain increasingly affected by the consequences of climate change.

“Our planet’s farmers and agricultural workers are on the frontline of the global climate crisis. But far from being victims, they are integral in developing those key climate solutions that can reverse environmental degradation and pave the way towards a more sustainable tomorrow,” declared Dr. Nyagoy Nyong’o, Global CEO of Fairtrade International.

Download the position paper:

Fair Trade Movement Position Paper

Posted on November 1st, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

How Green Is Your T Shirt? Join in our Great Big Green Week project

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 had the theme Climate, Fairtrade and You and featured a huge range of online events with a focus on how climate change is affecting farmers and workers in low income countries.

You can watch many of these events on YouTube here

Great Big Green Week 18-26 September 2021

How Green Is Your T-shirt?

The problem

The fashion industry accounts for 8% of all climate emissions, more than the entire economies of the UK, France and Germany combined. And most of it is completely unnecessary. In the UK we buy four times as much clothing as we did in the 1990s. Even then it’s estimated that around 30% of all the brand new garments in UK shops – garments made by people working for poverty wages in low income countries – is never even sold. Imagine working really hard to bake a cake, and when you hand it over, a third is simply rejected and thrown in the bin. How would that make you feel?

Climate change and fair trade are inextricably linked. The effects of climate change are being felt now in the low income countries where fair trade organisations, farmers, workers and artisans operate.

The background

In October 2019 Fairtrade Yorkshire took part in the Fairtrade Foundation’s Make Your Mark challenge, creating the Fairtrade mark in the form of a human mosaic featuring almost 200 volunteers in Hull’s Trinity Square.

The image is great and enduring. It is used regularly in Fairtrade Foundation communications. The aim was a zero waste event. Dozens of crafters were involved in knitting and crocheting hats for the volunteers, which were later donated to a local charity working with homeless ex service people. The sky blue T shirts and hats were part of the uniform of the Absolutely Cultured volunteers (a legacy of the Hull City of Culture in 2017). The black T shirts were official Fairtrade mark T shirts and have been used to great campaigning effect in the months since, including when Joanna and volunteers from York Fair Trade Forum and Fairtrade Yorkshire staged a Day of Action at the Nestle factory in York.

Photo credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

But the 44 green T shirts – Fairtrade cotton, sustainable and ethical but only worn once. For less than half an hour. Not sustainable. A bit of a waste. What to do?

The project

The Great Big Green Week is an initiative from the Climate Coalition – an umbrella group of organisations which campaign on climate, the environment and human rights. The Fairtrade Foundation is a member.

Groups are encouraged to host events across the week in September highlighting the need to tackle the climate emergency.

For more details visit:

How can you help?

This summer dozens of textile artists, crafters, fashion students and artisans are busy upcycling the green Fairtrade cotton T shirts to create pieces of wearable art with a message about climate change, fair trade and you.

The garments will be gathered together and styled with fair trade clothing from WFTO and BAFTS members and accessories, second hand and “model’s own” clothing – after all, the most sustainable item is one you already own. We’re recruiting a diverse cohort of models – different body shapes, race, age, disability, gender – and putting on a fashion show during the Great Big Green Week in September. The event will be livestreamed on the WFTO website and an edit will be available for supporters and campaigners to share and use in their own climate and fair trade campaigning.

You can download the project brief here:

How Green Is Your T Shirt project brief



Launch – Monday 19 April – Fashion Revolution Week

Summer – Get crafty!

31 August – deadline for return of T shirts to Joanna

Fashion Show – Saturday 18 September 6pm

Reading International Solidarity Centre

35-39 London Street



Great Big Green Week: 18-26 September

If you would like to get involved please email

For inspiration see this amazing video from charity a-dress:

Posted on August 12th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

The impact of Fairtrade on living standards in cocoa growing areas of Cote d’Ivoire

Photo: Ivorian cocoa farmer Rosine Bekoin inspects her crop

Last summer’s campaign asking Nestle to Keep KitKat Fairtrade gave us an opportunity to connect directly with some of the cocoa farming communities in Cote d’Ivoire who will be affected by the decision to buy cocoa on Rainforest Alliance rather than  Fairtrade terms.

In our conversations the RICE network were very clear that Fairtrade really is the best, most impactful system, based on their conversations with the farmers and workers, but it’s always nice to have evidence for these claims. So we were pleased to see this study from academics from the Universities of Goettingen and Bonn, The abstract is reproduced here, and if you click the link at the bottom you can read the full study and conclusions.

Fairtrade certification has recently gained in importance for various export crops produced in developing countries. One of Fairtrade’s main objectives is to improve the social conditions of smallholder farmers. Previous research showed that Fairtrade has positive effects on farmers’ sales prices and incomes in many situations.
However, more detailed analysis of the effects on food security and other dimensions of household living standard is rare. Here, we use data from a survey of cocoa farmers in Cote ˆ d’Ivoire to analyze how Fairtrade certification affects aggregate household consumption expenditures and the consumption of specific types of consumer goods and services. We also differentiate between poor and non-poor households. Regression models with instrumental variables suggest that Fairtrade increases aggregate consumption expenditures by 9% on average. For poor households, the effect is even larger (14%). These effects are driven by increases in non-food expenditures. We do not find significant effects on food consumption and dietary diversity. In poor households, Fairtrade primarily increases spending on other basic needs such as housing and clothing, whereas in non-poor households positive effects on education and transportation expenditures are found. We conclude that Fairtrade improves farm household living standards, but not food security.  

FT positive effect HH income – Global Food Security 2021

Posted on June 22nd, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

World Fair Trade Day 8 May 2021 – Build Back Fairer

World Fair Trade Day is a great opportunity for Fairtrade communities to take action away from the main UK Fairtrade Fortnight activities.

Co-ordinated by the World Fair Trade Organisation,  World Fair Trade day happens on the second Saturday in May every year. As well as the farmers and workers who grow and make the Fairtrade marked products we celebrate during Fairtrade Fortnight, the focus is on the organisations who are part of the wider fair trade movement, as members of WFTO itself or network members like BAFTS – Fair Trade Network UK. The artisans and producers who make these mainly hand crafted products, from clothing and accessories to home and garden ornaments are a key part of the move towards a fairer world. You may remember the CEO of the WFTO Erinch Sahan was the keynote speaker at the Fairtrade Yorkshire Conference in October 2020 so we have a great connection from our region to the wider fair trade movement.

World Fair Trade Day will see a Europe-wide campaign celebrating the fair trade outlets in your local area under the banner “Fair Trade Local”. We’re asking people to take photos 0utside their local fair trade shop and upload them to social media with the hashtag #FairTradeLocal. We’re also asking you to contact your local MP or mayor and ask them to take a photo with the poster reading “Build Back Fairer”, then send them to the WFTO for inclusion in their gallery.

Here’s our Co-ordinator and newly elected Chair of the National Campaigner Committee sharing her message.

Get the email template and instructions

There are social media assets for you to download here.

Download the poster here.

Watch the Build Back Fairer campaign video here and via the Fairtrade Yorkshire YouTube channel



Posted on April 12th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

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 communities 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 and others 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.

In April 2021 Joanna Pollard was elected Chair of the NCC, following on Dr Mark Dawson, her predecessor as Co-ordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire.

Joanna’s message to campaigners on her election:

It’s been a really hard year for campaigners, with many of our usual Fairtrade Fortnight activities unable to take place, but moving almost everything online gave us an opportunity to connect in ways we never imagined. In particular the possibilities of virtually visiting Fairtrade farmers and workers in their own homes – meeting them where they are, seeing how they live and work – was really special and something I’m sure we would all like to build on in the future.

This month I was delighted to be elected as Chair of your National Campaigner Committee and am looking forward to getting to know you better and strengthening the bond we have with each other and the global fair trade community, Many of you have already engaged with me at some point during the 15 years I’ve been involved in fair trade, whether through BAFTS, Fairtrade Yorkshire, the Nestle campaign or the Fairtrade Connections festival. It’s really important to me that your voice is heard, within your local communities and at the Fairtrade Foundation, and your National Campaigner Committee will continue to support and champion the grassroots activists, supporters and campaigners who make Fairtrade such a force for good in the UK and around the world. I can’t wait to get started!

Joanna is listening to Fairtrade campaigners about how the next few years will look. If you have a burning issue you want to talk about please complete this anonymous form:

Tell us what you think

The latest news from the National Campaigner Committee can be found here:

NCC meeting summary April 2021

Posted on April 9th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Joanna’s interview for the Fair World Project podcast – about the Nestle campaign

Last month Joanna was interviewed by the Fair World Project in the US for their podcast series. Her episode – number 5 in the series – is out now.

She talks us through the 2020 campaign to Keep KitKat Fairtrade and the links between the Nestle factory in York, its Quaker roots and  challenges in the cocoa industry right now.

And in the first few minutes you can hear her explaining all about Fairtrade Yorkshire to her interviewer Anna Canning who was calling from Portland, Oregon.

Listen to the whole podcast here

Posted on March 31st, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fairtrade Yorkshire Regional Meeting


Fairtrade Fortnight may be over but the campaign for climate action in support of Fairtrade farmers and workers continues.

Come along to our Fairtrade Yorkshire regional meeting 6 – 7.30pm on Monday 17 May when we’ll be joined by a member of the Fairtrade Foundation’s campaigns team.

We’ll hear more about the latest campaigns around climate justice and the G7 and COP26 summits happening in the UK later this year.

We’ll also have an opportunity to look back on Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 and forward to the future.

Email Joanna for the Zoom link or look out for our newsletter in your inboxes.

Posted on March 19th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News