Fairtrade Fortnight (6-19 March 2006)
- Make Fairtrade your Habit

Update: Tuesday, March 14, 2006


WHEN HEBDEN BRIDGE was made a Fair Trade Town in 2003 it was not just the first in West Yorkshire, but one of the first few in the country to be given that status by the Fair Trade Foundation. Now the national figure is up to 149 with a further 238 "in the pipeline".

This coming weekend marks the end of Fairtrade Fortnight, which celebrates the formation of the Fair Trade Foundation, with its distinctive Fairtrade logo. Remarkably this was only back in 1992, which means that in fourteen years the Fairtrade movement has grown from nothing to the force it is today.

The huge growth in the sale of Fairtrade goods, (sales of products with the Fairtrade mark grew by 40% in 2005) shows that more and more people are realising that they can make a difference by the way they shop. Add to this the fact that the range of products available grew from 850 to 1500 in the same period, and it becomes clear that shopping with a conscience is not just a gimmick, but a way of life, a habit. And this has been the theme of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight : "Get the Fair Trade Habit".

Research shows that only three in every hundred shoppers say that they disagreed, or were not convinced, by the idea of Fairtrade. So if 97 out of every 100 don't disagree, why is the growth not even bigger? Well, one in five said that whilst they agreed with the ideas they simply were not yet "in the habit" of buying Fairtrade. Over one third said that the biggest single barrier was that products carrying the Fairtrade mark were simply not visible enough on the shelves.

So here are two things that you can do.

ONE - if you don't see the Fairtrade alternative on the supermarket shelves, ask. The biggest incentive for shops to stock Fairtrade goods is demand.

TWO - start a Fairtrade habit. Make it your aim to always go for the Fairtrade option with one product - say bananas or tea - and gradually build up the habit to cover other items. And remember the list is growing every day. Recent announcements include:

  • Fairtrade certified nuts will be in UK supermarkets for the first time - brazil nuts at branches of Tesco and roasted, salted peanuts at the Co-op nationwide.
  • Virgin Trains has announced that it is switching all tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar and chocolate sprinkles on board to Fairtrade.
  • Marks & Spencer has become the first high street retailer to offer a range of own brand items made with Fairtrade certified cotton, including T-shirts and socks.
  • The Co-op is extending its range of wines with a new South Africa wine, Thandi Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2005.
  • Sainsbury's switched 75% of their rose bouquets to Fairtrade in January 2006.
  • Plum Baby banana and mango puree is the first baby food to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark.
  • Asda has the fastest growing supermarket sales of Fairtrade fresh produce, and is also the only retailer to offer Fairtrade lychees - the first Fairtrade product from Mozambique.
  • Fairtrade footballs will go on sale at Oxfam shops across the UK.
And the list goes on. The Fairtrade Foundation explain "Fairtrade still has huge untapped potential. Fairtrade benefits farmers and workers in developing countries, offering a fair price, an additional premium, environmental benefits and more secure markets. We want to expand the Fairtrade market in the UK so that still more farmers, workers and their families can benefit. Our challenge now is to make it easy to get the Fairtrade habit and switch to buying Fairtrade certified goods."

Hebden bridge Fairtrade Forum can be contacted at fairtradeforum@caldervalley.fsnet.co.uk or c/o Hebden Royd Council Offices, St Georges Street. They welcome any enquiries and support, and their message is "Stop before you shop, and ask yourself "Does my purchase support or exploit others?" Search for the Fairtrade Mark and get the Fairtrade Habit!"


Monday, March 6, 2006

The Hebden Bridge Fairtrade Forum is taking part in the national Fairtrade Fortnight campaign (6-19 March 2006), "Make Fairtrade Your Habit".

The aim is to show people how a small change in their shopping habits - buying products with the FAIRTRADE Mark - can make a real difference to poverty in the developing world.

"With the increasing range of Fairtrade products, there are more and more opportunities to make Fairtrade your habit and to pass on the Fairtrade habit in the workplace, at school or university and in the community," Forum chair Roger Munday said before revealing his Fairtrade habit. He said that he buys Fairtrade bananas every week, has Fairtrade muesli to start the day, and drinks far too much Fairtrade coffee, at work and at home.

"It's wonderful that so many people in Hebden Bridge have already got the Fairtrade Habit that we have achieved recognition as a Fairtrade Town, he said, "but many other people are sympathetic to the aims, and buy Fairtrade now and again, but it is not yet a habit with them"

To promote the theme of "Make Fairtrade Your Habit", the national Fairtrade Foundation has been approaching celebrities to ask them to have their photograph taken showing how they have Made Fairtrade Their Habit. Comedian Harry Hill,

TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and newsreader Jon Snow are among the celebrities who have been photographed.
With the increased interest in the developing world aroused by MAKE POVERTY HISTORY, Live 8 and the political focus on Africa in 2005, the Fairtrade Foundation wants the public to recognize that buying Fairtrade products is a meaningful way of tackling poverty that everyone can make. Fairtrade sales are doubling every two years and all major supermarket chains now stock Fairtrade products.

Here in Hebden Bridge, the Forum have organized "A Fair Night Out" on 15th March at the Trades Club from 7.30 onwards, with live music and dancing, a Fairtrade video and workshops, and Fairtrade drinks and nibbles at the bar.

The Trades Club itself is getting the Fairtrade Habit and plans to offer Fairtrade wine as part of its normal bar range.


Hebden Bridge Fairtrade Forum member Nick Bartholomew has recently returned from Nicaragua, where he found out about how Fairtrade benefits the local people. He was a member of a study tour organised by the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, and the results of his trip, and the video produced by NSC, will form the centrepiece of "A Fair Night Out". This is the Fairtrade Fortnight event organised by the Forum on 15th March at the Trades Club from 7.30 onwards.

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean, after Haiti, with 45 per cent of the population living below the "one dollar a day" world poverty yardstick.
Coffee has been grown in the northern hills of Nicaragua since 1852 and has been Nicaragua's main export crop since the 1960s. It provides a living directly for one-fifth of Nicaragua's population of 5.4 million. In 2000 and 2001 international coffee prices fell to an all time low meaning that producers were receiving less than half the cost of production. In these circumstances Fairtrade has literally been a life line for many small producers.

This is one example of how the people of Hebden Bridge, a Fairtrade Town, are making a difference across the world, and the aim of "A Fair Night Out" is to look at how Fairtrade is changing the world, in an evening of live music and dancing, and Fairtrade drinks and nibbles, alongside the video and Fairtrade workshops.


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