Mike and Elaine de Villiers, were privileged to represent Bradford Cathedral at the 30th Anniversary celebration of the Fairtrade Movement in the UK held at the Barbican in London. We heard from the Fairtrade Foundation’s CEO Michael Gidney, Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsburys, Sandra Uwera, CEO of Fairtrade international, Sylvia Herrera, Mexican coffee farmer, supplier to Café Direct, and Imogen Suett, University student, an active campaigner who, having learnt about Fairtrade at an early age, has now written materials for primary schools. Mixing with delegates from the UK and abroad, we realised that we, as campaigners, are one part of a world-wide movement embracing producers, businesses, civil society organisations, charities, and consumers working towards a fairer trade system. What a strong and diverse movement Fairtrade is!

It’s 30 years since the first Fairtrade certified products hit supermarket shelves. Since then, the Fairtrade movement has not only pioneered a unique, more equitable way of doing trade, it has also become the world’s most recognised and trusted ethical label.

That includes more than 2 million farmers and workers in 58 countries, supply chain partners, some of our most loved brands of tea, coffee and chocolate, and towns, cities, schools, places of worship and supermarkets.

Through the strength of Fairtrade’s community, millions of Fairtrade farmers have secured a fairer price for what they grow. Workers have been able to improve their living standards. Fairtrade sets off a ripple effect that has seen children go to school and university, women take the lead and reforestation projects supported. Fairtrade has improved the lives of over 10 million people in. low-income countries.

However, despite this success, our global food system still isn’t fair. Farmers are part of a chain in which power is unfairly distributed. The fact is that producers are at the end of long supply chains, disconnected from consumers, and they lack negotiating power to make their voices heard when business deals are being made. Farmers need a proper seat at the table when laws and regulations are being developed to make sure their concerns are listened to and their interests protected. Without fair pay and a proper say and long-term trading relationships, millions of farmers and workers simply won’t survive in the coming decades, Fairtrade warns.

“The more people buy Fairtrade goods, be it coffee, chocolate, bananas, wine, cotton, or any of the other thousands of products available in the UK where you see the distinctive mark, the more power it gives the farmers.”

The future for Fairtrade lies in 3 words: Price, Power and Pace. ‘In our 30th year, the issues that we are addressing through our public campaigns go to the heart of our calls for greater price and power for farmers and call for rapid action on environmental sustainability and climate justice, the most urgent issues of our time.’ Michael Gidney CEO Fairtrade Foundation.

Thank you – each time you choose a product with the Fairtrade logo, you are part of the movement for change.

Elaine & Mike de Villiers

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