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Choosing Fairtrade

Published Monday, 16 March, 2015 by Claire Keen

Fairtrade Fortnight ended on Sunday 10 March, a fortnight designated to raising Fairtrade awareness. However it’s not only during this fortnight that Fairtrade should be chosen, with many brands providing Fairtrade goods without you perhaps even realising; and they also don’t cost as much as you may think.

Firstly what really is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is a mark that can be placed on products when their ingredients, which have been produced by small farmers across the globe, meet the Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. These standards are for workers’ rights and pay the Fairtrade minimum price for the ingredients. Therefore the Fairtrade mark works to benefit small scale farms in disadvantaged areas globally through trade. Some of the most famous Fairtrade ingredients are bananas and cocoa beans, on these larger plantations they ensure all workers are paid correct wages and prevent illegal child labour. A premium is also paid to these companies, and this money allows the producers to invest the money in the community or business where possible. This means a lot of investment goes into schools, transport, health care and sanitation.

How can we include Fairtrade ingredients in our lives?

So many different products can be bought in different shops or cafes that use Fairtrade ingredients for example bananas, chocolate, beauty products, coffee, cotton, flowers, sugar and even gold; although I don’t think many students will be purchasing that one! There are many brands that use Fairtrade ingredients that you may be unaware of, for example Cadbury’s chocolate, The Co-Operative chocolate and Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference chocolate; therefore you may be buying Fairtrade without even realising. The most surprising products that can be bought with Fairtrade ingredients are beauty products. Most people associate Fairtrade with food items, but now thanks to LUSH and Boots Extracts range, beauty products are Fairtrade too. My personal favourite is the Boots Extract range, the products are lovely to use, and are not as expensive as some of the other branded products!

Do Fairtrade products cost much more?

It is a common misconception that Fairtrade products cost considerably more than non Fairtrade products. However this isn’t always the case, of course with everything brands can be more expensive than supermarkets’ own brand but this doesn’t always relate to Fairtrade. When comparing branded products like Cadbury’s, with other branded chocolate, Cadbury’s is usually the best value for money, getting more chocolate for the amount, even with it using Fairtrade products! Likewise with the beauty products, Boots Extracts body scrubs are £8 for all the different flavours, comparing this with other well-known body scrubs, for example The Body Shop, the Boots Extracts version is much cheaper for someone on a strict budget, like us students!

Fundraising for Fairtrade?

Fairtrade Foundation receives 13% of their income from donations, so therefore it forms a huge part of the help to famers across the globe. If fundraising is something you would like to get involved in there are many different ways to raise money all stated on the website: www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/get-involved/fundraise-for-fairtrade . However this is not only a good way to help out, if you are looking to be a bit more hands on the Fairtrade Foundation takes many volunteers every year. They have all the different roles they look for on their website, so take a look, you might find the perfect role for you to fill up your long student summers, it will look great on the CV too.

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