We are in the midst of Fairtrade Fortnight which is running from 22 February through to 7 March. The Fairtrade Foundation launched a campaign called The Big Swap, suggesting we all swap our usual products for Fairtrade versions during these two weeks- everything from our morning cup of tea to the lip balm we use. It's a simple way we can all make a small difference and show a stance towards helping developing world producers.
I have to admit I'm not an active shopper of Fairtrade goods, but for no particular reason. I recognise the value of the Fairtrade label which indicates a guarantee that the producer has been paid a minimum price for their produce and that a premium has been paid to support social, environmental and development projects. However, not all crops are covered under Fairtrade and there is no recompense for the quality of the items. Unfortunately it is not available to some farmers in more developed countries who experience the same kind of exploitation as someone in a more developing country.
Having said all that, when you read on the Fairtrade Foundation site that a third of the world survive on less than $2 a day, it's clear that there are a lot of people out there who are struggling with unfair trade rules that leave them powerless to improve their own situation. Any help is beneficial and it's great if we can all do something towards the efforts of the Fairtrade Foundation.
The idea of The Big Swap makes it easy for us all to make a small contribution during Fairtrade Fortnight. Just by choosing the Fairtrade products when you're next in the supermarket can help towards a consolidated step to offering a better deal for producers in the developing world. With pretty much everything having a Fairtrade option these days, it's a good way to try something different too. Whilst it might mean you're not buying your usual brand of a particular food, slowly but surely manufacturers are making changes, with companies like Cadbury who switched to Fairtrade certified cocoa at the end of last year and Ben and Jerry's who recently announced that their entire global ice cream range will go Fairtrade from 2013.
I might be a little late in participating but I think I'll make the effort this next week to buy Fairtrade where possible. What are your thoughts? Do you buy Fairtrade produce? Will you be making some swaps for the remainder of Fairtrade Fortnight?