Members pledge their support for a Fairtrade future

640 words approx. 3 minutes to read.

As we look forward to celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight this month, it seemed like the perfect time to share some feedback from the hundreds of members who got involved last year to tell us about how they’ve been championing Fairtrade over the years.

From buying Fairtrade products and raising awareness in local communities to organising Fairtrade fairs and AGM motions, Co-op members have been absolutely instrumental in ensuring the success of Fairtrade. We know that only Fairtrade…

  • Pays producers fairly
  • Gives producers control over their future
  • Does the right thing by both people and planet
  • Strengthens communities around the world

“I helped Warrington achieve Fairtrade Borough status when I was chair of Warrington Fairtrade Steering Group. Fairtrade is extremely important to me – it is only right that every producer and worker should receive a fair return for their labour.” Jackie Hancock, Warrington

“In May 1986, while I was working at Greencity Wholefoods co-operative in Glasgow, I was involved in organising the first Fairtrade conference in Scotland. This led to the foundation of the Equal Exchange brand (a workers’ co-operative). I also attended international conferences. Most important of all, it has given me the opportunity to visit Fairtrade producers in countries such as Palestine, Peru, the Philippines and Tanzania to find out what a difference being Fairtrade- certified means to them.” Martin Meteyard, Scotland

“As a fashion design student, I researched global supply chains. I went on to work at a pioneering NGO and co-founded an ethical fashion platform, the Source, that helped fashion buyers source from Fairtrade and sustainable artisans and producers worldwide. Now I’m the Fairtrade officer at Co-op and am thrilled to be able to help our business improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in the supply chain. Having seen first-hand the impact that Fairtrade has on our producers, I am more dedicated than ever.” Emily Pearce, Manchester

In October, members helped us celebrate 25 years of the Fairtrade Mark by getting involved in roundtable discussions at Co-op Join In Live events across the UK.

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We asked members to suggest what they could do, and hundreds came forward with some great suggestions – including checking product labels more carefully, cooking with Fairtrade ingredients and lobbying local councils to use Fairtrade products.

We put the best ones together and asked members to pledge to support one or more of the ideas.

Buying more Fairtrade products simply by swapping non-Fairtrade items in their basket for Fairtrade versions, educating themselves more about Fairtrade and talking to family and friends about Fairtrade were the most popular pledges.

“When I buy drinks to serve at my Church Homegroup I shall buy Fairtrade.” Ann Pickersgill, Huntingdon

“I pledge to ask cafés and restaurants if the chocolate in their desserts is Fairtrade (and decline to order them if not).” Simon Myers, Irkley

“I pledge to give Fairtrade gifts to friends and family at Christmas.” Jenny Stein, Shipley

“I pledge to start discussions with groups, (such as the WI, my branch of the labour party etc) that I am involved in, about Fairtrade.” Michele De Broglio, London

Members also shared their ideas about what more Co-op could be doing to help them champion Fairtrade – from how it’s displayed in store to how we can help them to spread the word about Fairtrade.

To support the latter, we’ve produced a member resource pack for Fairtrade Fortnight while some of our favourite Fairtrade products will be promoted throughout stores. You can find more information in our magazine, on radio and on our blog with special Fairtrade Fortnight features.

We know the time to act is now. Producers deserve a different story. Change the story and #ChooseFairtrade.

There are always opportunities for Co-op Members to get involved in shaping our Co-op. Head over to your online membership to Join In with all the latest opportunities.

Sarah Wakefield
Sustainable Sourcing & Fairtrade Manager