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One World Week 2014

 

Please visit "Events" page for photos of the above.

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Fairtrade Foundation speaks out about Fairtrade's impact: evidence and challenges

Dear colleagues and campaigners,

You may well have seen some worrying headlines in recent days questioning the effectiveness of Fairtrade in tackling rural poverty. I'd like to reassure you that the Fairtrade movement you have helped to build is making a very tangible difference to 1.4 million poor farmers and workers in 70 countries across the world, their families and communities. 1

It's also important at this point to share the other side of the story that has been lost in the sensational headlines.  

Where has the story come from? 

The media stories follow the release of a research study titled Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda' by the School for African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), UK. 2  The study focuses on wage workers (those who don't own land but use wage labour in agricultural farms to earn a living) - their wages and working conditions  and asks if Fairtrade makes a difference for them. The scope of the research was only in two countries – Ethiopia and Uganda and the study only looked at four Fairtrade certified organisations (one large flower plantation that was decertified during the study itself, one tea smallholder group and two coffee small farmer cooperatives) out of over 1,000 worldwide. 

What is the Fairtrade Foundation's response?

Fairtrade has an open policy to academic research and learning and over the last five years we have commissioned several studies that highlight both benefits and limitations of Fairtrade. We know that such research helps us improve our work, our focus and make sure Fairtrade delivers for marginalised rural communities where we work.  In this spirit, we have welcomed the focus of the SOAS study on wage workers and the difficult questions it has asked. However,  w e strongly disagree with the generalised, sweeping conclusions criticising Fairtrade as a whole - in fact many statements that have made media headlines are not evidenced in the report. 

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International has written this blog published in the Huffington Post which I would encourage you to read , and James Mwai, Director of Programmes at Fairtrade Africa (who you may remember from last year's Supporter Conference) has writt en  this letter to you .

As Harriet says, Fairtrade is a work in progress, committed to tackling injustice and poverty brought about by a deeply unfair international trading system. It is making a real difference towards this aim, as numerous academic studies have shown – including one from the University of Göttingen  which found that in Uganda itself farmer incomes on Fairtrade certified farms had risen 30%, 3  and another from the Natural Resources Institute  in Africa, Asia and Latin America highlighting the particular benefits felt by women and children from Fairtrade premium investments. 4

So, as said earlier, whilst the focus of this research is useful, and its findings sobering for all concerned with fighting poverty, we believe the critical headlines the report has received in the media are inaccurate and flawed. The limited scope of the study doesn't  allow for such broad brush and sweeping criticisms of Fairtrade as a whole. Partly because the study doesn't a ctually seek to assess the impact of Fairtrade (SOAS themselves state this in their report) – the certification model or how the Fairtrade premium is used by producer organisations – in fact the word ‘Fairtrade' didn't appear in any of the questionnaires used by the research team to compile their results. But also, because the study looks at four producer organisations out of a possible 1000+ worldwide, in two countries out of a possible 70, and compares small family farms with large scale commercial plantations. 

To read more, please see the Fairtrade Foundation's response , and a more detailed Q&A on Fairtrade International's site . A list of links to further research and evidence is at the bottom of the email for your interest and investigation 

We welcome constructive debate about the approach Fairtrade takes in overcoming poverty through trade, and we welcome your input to it.  Fairtrade will continue its work to tackle these highly complex and important structural issues of poverty. It is only with the collective action of each of us, and the wider movement for social justice, that we will make real progress towards a fairer and more just world. 

As ever, don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions or comments.  

Yours sincerely

Adam Gardner

Communities Campaigns Manager

28th May 2014

Some links and further reading

1 'Monitoring the Scope and benefits of Fairtrade preview' Fairtrade International, 2014

'In 2011-12, the period of SOAS research 54% of the Fairtrade Premium earned by Fairtrade plantations globally was directly invested in services for workers and their families (such as housing, education and loans) and a further 25% in services for the wider community (including water supply, healthcare and environmental services)'

2 Fairtrade,  Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda ' by the School for African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), 2014

3 Food standards, certification, and poverty amongst coffee farmers in Uganda , University of Göttingen, 2013

4 Assessing the poverty impact of sustainability standards , Natural Resources Institute, 2013

The Processes and Practices of Fair Trade: trust, ethics and governance , Dine, Granville and Telford, 2013

Studying wine production in South Africa, Granville and Telford (2013) survey 381 Fair Trade and conventional workers. They find that Fair Trade workers are more likely to make more than minimum wage and as a result they are also able to save more of their income. Consistent with this, when surveyed 91% of Fair Trade workers believed that Fair Trade (and their membership in the joint body) was responsible for improving in their living standards. In particular, 95% of workers reported that their joint body provided help with education and/or health (which 51% reported being helped with both).

The impact of Fairtrade, Evidence, shaping factors, and future pathways , Nelson & Martin, 2012

‘Evidence suggests that the non-income impacts of Fairtrade are at least as important as income benefits for smallholder farmers. Some studies find only small or non-existent income differentials (e.g. Jaffee, 2007) although many studies also point to other important types of impact (e.g. capacity building, stability of income, market information and access, self-confidence, access to credit, national representation etc.) as being important for tackling poverty.'

The Economics of Fairtrade , Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2013

Independent, peer reviewed article by Harvard economists points out limitations, but also concludes: ' The existing empirical evidence, based primarily on conditional correlations, suggests that Fair Trade does achieve many of its intended goals. Studies generally find that Fair Trade farmers receive higher prices, have greater access to credit, perceive their economic environment as being more stable, and are more likely to engage in environmentally friendly farming practices. Fair Trade, if it is  implemented successfully, holds the possibility of being a market-based tool that can improve  the welfare of consumers, the lives of producers, and the local environment.'

Harriet Lamb interview for Al Jazeera , 26/5/2014 

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Fairtrade Fortnight - 2014

See "What's On" page

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Paisley Fairtrade Town - 10th Anniversary

Celebrations of Paisley's 10th Birthday as a Fairtrade town took place in August with a tea party hosted by Renfrewshire Council in Paisley Town Hall.

National and local politicians, fairtrade activists and volunteers, school pupils and church representatives enjoyed delicious Fairtrade cupcakes made by Ken Clarke at Redss while viewing a new Photo Exhibition put together to mark 10 years of Fairtrade activity in Paisley.

The guests heard encouraging speeches from Council leader, Mark Macmillan, Scottish Fairtrade Forum's Martin Rhodes, Liz Cotton from Rainbow Turtle and Maureen Brough from Paisley Fairtrade Partnership. Finally the Fairtrade cake in the shape of 10 and decorated with the Paisley pattern (made by Liz Cotton from fairtrade ingredients of course) was cut.

The Exhibition can be borowed until Summer 2014 - contact info@rainbowturtle.org.uk or katy.evans@renfrewshire.gov.uk for more information

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IF Campaign - Belfast Rally

Please see "Events" page.

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Fairtrade Fortnight (25th Feb - 10th March)

is approaching, and we invite you to get
involved in making a difference through trade.


Fair Trade has helped to lift millions of people out of poverty. When you buy fairly
traded products you enable smallholder farmers and producers to improve their
position and have more control over their lives. It is a simple way that we can make a
difference through our everyday choices.
Renfrewshire council, organisations and volunteers worked hard together to achieve a
Fairtrade Zone status for Renfrewshire, awarded in 2009; A much larger campaign is
underway as the Scottish Fair Trade Forum is working towards getting
Fair Trade status for Scotland.
We need your support to work together as a community to keep up the momentum.
By promoting Fairtrade you will be contributing to the campaign and be in solidarity
with people in developing countries.

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Ideas for Steps to take:

*1 Fair trade Sales on a sale or return basis*; book a stall of cereals, jams, teas,
coffees, chocolate, sweeties, and many other goods, all fairly traded; later collect
the goods for the sale and then return the unsold goods and money after the sale.
Just give us a call on 0141 887 1881.

*2 Run Coffee mornings with Fairtrade tea, coffee & biscuits - we supply these from
the Fair Trade hub in Paisley.

 

*3 Run a regular Fair Trade sale.
Many churches find that monthly works well.

 

*4 Run speciality sales (e.g. Chocolate sale)

 

*5 Bake sales with Fair Trade ingredients: we supply various sugars, chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, cocoa, honey, olive oil etc.

 

*6 Use the free resources available from the Fairtrade Foundation and Traidcraft to promote Fair Trade in your church.

* Demand for sale or return stalls is always high at this time. Please contact us soon
to book your stall so that we can try to fulfil all requests.


Please contact us for details and supplies:
0141 887 1881 - info@rainbowturtle.org.uk
www.rainbowturtle.co.uk

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Paisley Fairtrade Partnership takes runner up prize in Fairtrade Fortnight Awards 2011

Paisley Fairtrade Partnership has been named runner up in this year's Fairtrade Fortnight Awards, in recognition of their Best Cotton activity.

The award, sponsored by the Co-operative Group, celebrates the achievements and creativity of Fairtrade campaigners and supporters during the annual two-week Fairtrade Fortnight campaign, this year held from 28 February – 13 March 2011.

During this time, Paisley Fairtrade Partnership highlighted the injustices in the production of cotton by hosting a performance of a newly commissioned drama performed by the talented Paisley based Beechwood Women in Arts group called ‘Bless your cotton socks!'

This hard hitting drama drew attention to the unfair treatment of cotton workers in developing countries who are forced to work in poor conditions for poverty wages while richer countries subsidise their own cotton farmers who can then flood markets with cut price cotton goods. The drama sharply demonstrated there is no level playing field for cotton producers in poorer countries and encouraged people here in Scotland to look at their own buying habits.

Maureen Brough, chair of the Paisley Fairtrade Partnership and Margo Kirkwood from the Beechwood Women in Arts group were presented with the award and a prize by Fairtrade Foundation Executive Director Harriet Lamb, at the national Fairtrade Supporter Conference at Aston University, Birmingham, on 15 October 2011.

Maureen Brough said: “Both Paisley Fairtarde Partnership and Beechwood Women In Arts group are delighted to have received this award in recognition of the efforts to educate the people of Paisley about the unfair treatment of cotton workers. Hopefully more people will consider carefully their purchase of cotton products in future as a result of seeing the play.”

Veronica Pasteur, competition judge and Head of Campaigns at the Fairtrade Foundation said:

‘Yet again, we were overwhelmed with more entries than ever displaying the incredible creativity, hard work and community spirit of Fairtrade campaigners across the UK. It's not easy singling out winners from such a huge and inspiring network of activists, but the winners should feel proud that their activities are reaching more people than ever before with the Fairtrade message, and take action in their daily lives to support marginalised farmers to get a better deal, for themselves and their communities.'

Councillor Brian Lawson, chair of Renfrewshire's Fairtrade Steering Group said: “This is a fantastic achievement and I'd like to congratulate the Paisley Fairtrade Partnership and the Beechwood Women in Arts group for their hard work. Paisley has been a Fairtrade town since 2003 so it's great to see continued commitment being rewarded.”

The Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group have won awards in the past for their commitment to Fairtrade Fortnight with an Outstanding Achievement award in 2008 and a runner up award the Best Outreach and Networking Campaign in 2010.

Fairtrade guarantees fair prices for third world producers and gives power back to both producers and consumers. Renfrewshire achieved Fairtrade Zone status in 2009 and the steering group continues to promote Fairtrade in the area and develop the campaign further. To find out more about Fairtrade in Renfrewshire go to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk and look under Community and Living.

Left to right - Chris Shearlock, Sustainable Development Manager for the Cooperative Group, Maureen Brough, Paisley Fairtrade Partnership, Renwick Rose, Coordinator of the Windward Islands Farmers Association, Margo Kirkwood, Beechwood Women and Arts Group, and Harriet Lamb Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation

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Renewal of Paisley Fairtrade Town Status - April 2011

 

 

Click here to view the full Renewal Report

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Fairtrade Fortnight 28 February - 13 March 2011

 

See" Events " page

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Fairtrade Campaign Day

6th November 2010

 

Cllr Brian Lawson, Martin Metyard, Joshua Varela and Liz Cotton

Scottish Fair Trade Forum Campaigners Day 6 November 2010 in Paisley Town Hall

The Alexander Wilson Suite in Paisley Town Hall was packed on Saturday 6 November for a lively and informative day, hosted by Renfrewshire Council, of presentations, workshops and stalls as well as the opportunity of meeting old friends and making new contacts from all over Scotland – and beyond.

The highlight was undoubtedly, in celebration of the 5 th anniversary of the Scotland – Malawi Co-operation agreement, hearing first hand from producer, Joshua Varela, representing the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM), how Fair Trade, and Paisley's Just Trading Scotland Ltd in particular, has transformed the lives of many people in Malawi by ensuring better prices and markets for their high quality rice in a context where 80% of Malawi's people live on less than $1 a day and would normally have to pay up to 30% interest to borrow money for seed from the bank. Joshua gave a graphic description of the range of challenges they face daily around transport, fit for purpose machinery, pricing and land issues. But he also shared the encouraging news that their exports of Kilombero rice to Scotland are up this year from 125 metric tons to 2000 – an encouragement to keep up those 90 kilo challenges!

Before Joshua's presentation and the excellent lunch provided by Renfrewshire Council, we were welcomed to the day by Martin Metyard, Chair of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum (SFTF) and Councillor Brian Lawson, chair of Renfrewshire's Fairtrade Zone Steering Group.

A sparkling presentation by Holly from Trinity High School's Fair Trade group set an enthusiastic tone for the day as she told the story of the school's successful campaign to involve the whole school and staff in becoming Scotland's first Fairtrade school – they continue to generate new ideas and draw in new people and are actively involved in promoting Renfrew's Fairtrade Town campaign.

The new Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Martin Rhodes, passionately shared his vision for Fair Trade activity in Scotland, how to engage more widely with Scottish people and build in sustainability for Fair Trade activity after Fairtrade Nation status is achieved, including a continuing commitment to campaign for Trade Justice. He launched the ‘Countdown Campaign' for 2011, a pledge campaign challenging activists to aim for an activity somewhere in Scotland to promote Fairtrade every day of 2011!

Veronica Pasteur, Head of Campaigns, Fairtrade Foundation filled in the bigger picture eg highlighting the introduction of new Fairtrade products such as gold, raisins from Afghanistan – and baked beans! Sales of Fairly traded products have continued to increase despite the recession with bananas being the biggest seller, but she informed us that Fair Trade share of the overall market is still low and remains a challenge. The Fairtrade Foundation continues to work in some of the poorest countries of the world to seek and accredit new products with the Fairtrade mark including working in areas of conflict such as Rwanda and Afghanistan. The Fairtrade Foundation's campaign focus for 2011 is on cotton (watch out for their new report out shortly ‘The great cotton stitch up') with ‘Show off your label' being Fairtrade Fortnight's campaign slogan from 28 February – 13 March, materials including ‘bunting for justice' can be ordered now. The Fairtrade Foundation will also be revising the 5 Fairtrade Town Goals in 2011 to bring them up to date and more responsive to local circumstances.

Andrew Parker from IMANI spoke of the Trade perspective between Scotland and Malawi highlighting many of the difficulties for Malawi, for example, in competing in a global market with its cotton and rice where prices are frequently forced down by richer countries.10 products are now being imported from Malawi to Scotland working through Just Trading Scotland.

A lively question and answer session followed to the whole Panel of speakers focusing on issues such as cheap fairtrade cotton tee shirts, the Fairtrade mark process, membership of SFTF, achieving a balance between selling and campaigning and impact of the recession on consumers and local authorities.

After Joshua's talk participants had the chance to continue informing themselves and sharing ideas by choosing to attend a workshop on Fairtrade towns, Fairtrade schools and cotton, Fairtrade and local authorities, Fairtrade and the NHS or Malawi: the 90 kg rice challenge.

Altogether it was a stimulating, energising and encouraging day for the 80 participants with plenty to think about, new contacts made and new ideas for keeping up the campaign for justice through Fairtrade.

Maureen Brough

Chairperson, Paisley Fairtrade Partnership

7.11.10

 

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