Archive for April, 2021

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.

I was particularly moved by the event with photographer Sean Hawkey who has travelled extensively in Honduras, Nicaragua and other countries hit by flooding, landslides and droughts.

You can watch it here:

So the opportunity to build an event for the Great Big Green Week in September was too good to pass up.  As a seller of fair trade fashion accessories I have a real interest in sustainable fashion and while climate activists rightly focus on the emissions from transportation of goods and people around the world, the real carbon footprint of what we buy is more complicated than the emissions taken to ship or fly it around the world.

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.

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?

We’re looking for 40 textile artists, crafters, fashion students and artisans to upcycle the green Fairtrade cotton T shirts and create a piece of wearable art with a message about climate change, fair trade and you. Joanna will post you a T shirt to upcycle and you have all summer to create your piece. Whether you use embroidery, applique, screen printing, block printing, fabric paints or any other textile craft, we want you to get as creative as you like. Each T shirt should become a wearable comment on the climate crisis, fair trade, fast fashion or whatever aspect of the campaign inspires you.

We’re hoping to involve makers from all around the UK and even around the world in a celebration of all the ways fashion can be part of the solution rather than the problem of climate change.

The garments will be gathered together and styled with fair trade clothing and accessories, second hand and “model’s own” clothing – after all, the most sustainable item is one you already own. We’ll recruit a diverse cohort of models – different body shapes, race, age, disability, gender – and put on a fashion show during the Great Big Green Week in September. We welcome 1-2 minute video diaries from the artists as they make the T shirts, and will give you plenty of opportunities to tell your story about why you wanted to take part. People who have made a garment will have the opportunity to model their own shirt.

We’re also looking for fair trade brands to sponsor us through donations of items of clothing, jewellery and fashion accessories for our models to wear.

We would love this to be an in person event, but we have contingency plans for all levels of social distancing measures that might be in place by September. In any case the event will be filmed and made available to view on YouTube, edited to include video diaries and stories from the makers and the fair trade brands.

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

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 April 18th, 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