Members fly the flag for Fairtrade

Co-op Members have been the driving force behind our pioneering commitment to Fairtrade for more than 25 years. As people across the globe celebrate World Fair Trade Day on 8 May, we thought we’d share some of the ways you flew the flag for Fairtrade during this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight.

 To raise awareness and mark Fairtrade Fortnight, which ran from 22 February until 7 March, members got involved to learn more about the campaign and find out what they could do to help Co-op make a difference.

Members learn about Fairtrade

Members told us they wanted to know more about Fairtrade so that they could campaign for Fairtrade and make a difference in their own way.

So, I teamed up with Louise Walker and John Boyle from Co-op National Members’ Council, to make a short video talking about all things Fairtrade.

More than 7,000 members joined in to watch the film, find out more about Co-op’s relationship with Fairtrade and take part in a few quiz questions at the end.

The video enabled members to learn about Co-op’s Fairtrade products and commitments in a fun and engaging way.

“This is a great way to encourage people to take time out of their busy schedules to get involved and be a part of the Fairtrade movement. I have shared with my team and on my social media, so hopefully this will encourage people around me to do the same.”

Violet Hunter, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Members told us they felt inspired, motivated and more educated after watching the short film, with many vowing to make the switch to Fairtrade products wherever possible.

“I work in hospitality, and this has made me consider how we can support Fairtrade once we are in a position to re-open.”

Janet Antink, Sleaford

“It has been heart-warming to listen to the video (twice!) and has encouraged me even more to seek out Fairtrade products and to purchase them as often as possible.”

Rosemary Martin, Donaghadee

“I feel better educated in Fairtrade producers and products and feel a duty to search out Fairtrade produce whilst shopping, swapping wherever possible.”

Abigail Cole, Southport

Members have been flying the flag for Fairtrade for many years but due to coronavirus restrictions, larger celebratory events were unable to take place this year. Instead, members found different ways to support and raise awareness about the campaign. Co-op supported them by launching a new Fairtrade Campaigning Tools webpage and by hosting a fortnight of online events to share the stories behind the people who produce the delicious products that we love.

“Our community is holding a Fairtrade bake off competition! We are sharing pictures of our baking and pictures of the Fairtrade ingredients that we have used.”

Emma Bennon, Kyle

“To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight this year, I’m going to buy an extra bar of Fairtrade chocolate and wash it down with a cup of Fairtrade coffee!”

M Domone, Southampton

You can watch our Fairtrade Fortnight video online here.

Young people and Fairtrade

Members joined our Co-op Young Members’ Group and young members from Co-op’s National Members’ Council to learn more about how Fairtrade supports and empowers young people.

During the online Zoom session, I explained why the Fairtrade movement is more relevant to them than ever. Fairtrade is more than a mark on a pack – it’s a movement of people who want to change the world.

I also shared stories about the people and communities behind the products, the impact of climate change on Fairtrade producer communities and projects Co-op are supporting to support producers tackle climate change. There was also a live Q&A discussion led by the CYMG.

If you missed the session, you can watch it online here.

Take a look at our Fairtrade campaigning tools webpage here.

Spreading the good word

To help raise awareness of Fairtrade, hundreds of Co-op Members also joined in to request our free Fairtrade Fortnight member resource pack so that they could get more involved at home.

The pack, which contained facts, Fairtrade producer stories, posters, stickers and bunting, was created to help our members spread the good word about Fairtrade in their communities. Download the pack.

Flying the Fairtrade flag

It was fantastic to see so many members getting involved to help us celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight. With World Fair Trade Day taking place in May, it is also a good reminder that Fairtrade isn’t just about two weeks of the year; it’s a longer-term campaign for better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fairer terms for producers and farmers across the world.

I’m so proud that Fairtrade remains at the forefront of our members’ minds and shopping baskets all year round.

We are committed to supporting the Fair Trade movement and to growing our contribution to producers. This Fair Trade Day we’re celebrating our unique Fair Trade charcoal. There are no internationally recognised Fairtrade International standards for charcoal, so we work in a unique partnership with Traidcraft to support burners and workers in Namibia with our Fair Trade charcoal and barbecue set sales.

In 2020, as customers turned to barbecuing at home during lockdown, the Fairtrade premium generated from charcoal sales doubled, providing £132,000 for the community in Namibia. During these challenging times, the Fair Trade Premium has provided the community with vital funds to support themselves through the crisis. 

We‘ve developed a five-year strategic plan to support the development of the Fair Trade committee with Traidcraft and charcoal supplier Rectella International Ltd.

So, if you’re BBQ-ing this summer, consider the impact and the difference you can make to people’s lives, just by choosing to buy Co-op Fair Trade BBQs and charcoal. Find out more about Fair Trade charcoal here.

By choosing Fair Trade you are making a difference for people and planet.

There are always opportunities for Co-op Members to get involved in shaping our Co-op. Join in on your online Membership account. 

Emily Pearce
Sustainable Sourcing & Fairtrade Manager