As Fairtrade Fortnight starts on Monday 26 February, it's time to think more about where the products we buy come from.
Fairtrade is a commitment to a better deal for producers in developing countries and making sure they get a good price for a good product.
The Fairtrade mark donates that farmers receive fair prices for these crops and products, providing a more stable, livable income.
We want to raise awareness through Fairtrade Fortnight about how our power as consumers can affect change through ethical consumption. As a Fairtrade borough we have lots of local business supplying everyday Fairtrade products from bananas to coffee, tea, sugar and chocolate. Everyone can buy Fairtrade. Visit your local store and ask what Fairtrade products they stock. Simply switching to Fairtrade can make a difference to people's lives in some of the poorest countries around the world.
As well as buying Fairtrade groceries, there are a wide range of Fairtrade products including jewelry, footballs and fashion that can be purchased to help ensure a better deal for farmers and workers in poorer countries.
One local business in Dalston, Mero Retro has been stocking Fairtrade clothes to the fashion conscious of Hackney for over five years. For business owners Ro Rai and his partner Sanju Tamang buying Fairtrade is very important. Sanju is originally is from Bhutan and Ro's family are from Nepal. They both feel very strongly that businesses and consumers should support deprived communities as growing up in communities affected by the exploitative conditions of the garment trade, they've seen first hand the hardships people have to suffer.
Ro Rai said: “We love fashion and beautifully hand-crafted goods but sadly the global fashion industry is responsible for an enormous amount of environmental damage and human suffering. We're committed to minimising the environmental impact of our business and to supporting the artisans and communities who create our Fairtrade and handmade goods - be they in Nepal, India, Thailand, here in the UK or elsewhere. The Fairtrade organisations we source our goods from ensure that producers are properly paid; treated with respect and provided with healthy and happy working environments.”
Across the world there are an estimated 40 million garment workers, the majority of whom are women, who work in exploitative conditions. From notebooks to dresses simply switching to buying Fairtrade helps close the door on exploitation and ensures a fairer deal for farmers and producers.
If you are interested in promoting Fairtrade, the Hackney Fairtrade Group, set up in 2007, which aims to promote the Fairtrade ethos to local businesses and organisations, is on the lookout for new members. If you are interested in volunteering your time then email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every year the group organises events for Fairtrade Fortnight. Last year this included a football match using Fairtrade footballs with Hackney Wick FC. This year Hackney Fairtrade have secured funding to run workshops with Fairtrade farmers; working with Manor House Development Trust, Hackney Marsh partnership, schools and other community groups, to talk to residents and local businesses about the benefits of buying and selling Fairtrade products.
Find out more about Fairtrade in Hackney including businesses you can buy Fairtrade at www.hackney.gov.uk/fairtrade.