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Mars Chocolate to launch its first Fairtrade product

On September 29, 2011, in Products, by OpenEyeMedia
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Mars Chocolate and Fairtrade International recently announced an agreement to introduce the first Mars product to obtain a Fairtrade label, and will hit the stores in the UK and Ireland in 2012. The first phase of the agreement will see MALTESERS®, the third biggest confectionery brand in the UK, as the first Mars product to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark.

The move means the cocoa growers involved in the production and supply of cocoa to Mars will benefit from over US $1 million in annual Fairtrade Premium funds for them to invest in their farms, business organisations and communities. The switch will also represent more than a 10% increase in total UK Fairtrade sales.

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Fairtrade and Fairmined gold

On July 31, 2011, in Products, by OpenEyeMedia
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28 small independent jewellers have signed up to the Fairtrade gold programme, including the world’s oldest jeweller Garrard, and pioneering ethical jeweller CRED.

Nine miners’ organisations, representing 2,500 miners and their families, are being certified under the Fairtrade and Fairmined standards, all of which are currently based in Latin America, but will extend to Africa in the near future.

Initially launched in the UK early in 2011, Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will be expanded to other countries across the EU and America from 2011 onwards.

Find out more about Fairtrade and Fairmined gold »

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Fairtrade Labelling

On November 23, 2010, in Organisations, by OpenEyeMedia
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The international standards which must be met to obtain a Fairtrade label on a product are set by FLO – Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International.

FLO is made up of 24 organisations, with its headquarters in Bonn, Germany, and carries out the following:

Sets international Fairtrade standards – one of the main roles of FLO is to develop and review the Fairtrade standards. The standards set by FLO not only apply to all Fairtrade producers worldwide, but also to the companies who market Fairtrade products, such as importers, exporters and licensees.

Supports Fairtrade producers – FLO has locally based Liaison Officers who work with producers to help them gain Fairtrade certification and develop market opportunities. The Liaison Officers also provide training, guidance on certification and facilitate relationships between the producers and their buyers.

Coordinates global Fairtrade strategy – It is FLO’s role to assess how, together with their members, the organisation can improve the impact of its work and become more effective in the future. In response to the need to address emerging issues, FLO is currently implementing ‘Making a Difference: a new global strategy for Fairtrade’.

Promotes trade justice
– FLO’s also makes the case for trade justice as a whole in global and regional debates on trade and development. They do this in partnership with other international Fair Trade organizations, such as WFTO, NEWS and EFTA. Collectively they run the Fairtrade Advocacy Office in Brussels, which co-ordinates the advocacy activities of the international Fair Trade movement in both Europe and worldwide.

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Becoming a Fairtrade Town

On October 23, 2010, in Projects, by OpenEyeMedia
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To become a Fairtrade Town (an accreditation which is not limited to towns, but can include villages, cities, islands, zones, boroughs and counties), there are five goals which must be met, as set out by the Fairtrade Foundation. They are as follows:

  1. The local council must pass a resolution supporting Fairtrade, and agrees to serve Fairtrade products at all event organised by the council – for example, in meetings, offices, canteens, etc.
  2. A range of Fairtrade products must be readily available to buy in the retail outlets – shops, supermarkets, newsagents and petrol stations for instance, and must also be served in local catering outlets, such as cafés, restaurants and pubs.
  3. Local workplaces and community organisations, including places of worship, schools, universities, colleges and other community organisations, must support Fairtrade and use Fairtrade products whenever possible.
  4. Media coverage and events must be organised to raise awareness and increase the understanding of Fairtrade across the community.
  5. A local Fairtrade steering group must be established to ensure the Fairtrade Town campaign continues to develop and gain new support after accreditation has been received.

For more information and advice on how to become a Fairtrade Town, please visit the Fairtrade Foundation website, which provides a comprehensive action guide and advice from communities that have successfully completed the journey.

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The Co-operative Bank’s 2009 Ethical Consumerism report indicated that whilst most sectors covered in the report performed significantly better than the UK market as a whole, seeing overall consumer spending increase by 58% in the 10-year period being reported on (1999-2008), Fairtrade in particular  has enjoyed an exceptional degree of success, with sales up 30 fold.

Sales of Fairtrade goods and produce were sitting at around  just £22 million back in 1999, but in 2008 that figure had grown to £635 million, and according to the Co-operative Bank’s report, it is expected that purchases of Fairtrade goods and products will break the £1 billion mark in 2010.

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The Pioneers

On October 13, 2010, in History, by OpenEyeMedia
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The Co-operative was the first supermarket chain in the UK to sell bananas carrying the Fairtrade Mark, back in January 2000, with other supermarkets following suit soon after.

Just two months later and the Co-operative went on to launch its own Fair Trade Milk chocolate bars – the first supermarket Own Label Fairtrade Marked product in the UK. The bars were joint-branded with pioneering Fair Trade company, Divine chocolate.

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Fair Trade Towns

On October 7, 2010, in Communities, by OpenEyeMedia
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In April 2000, a town called Garstang in Lancashire, England claimed to be ‘the Worlds first Fairtrade Town’. The campaign in Garstang inspired many other towns, cities, boroughs, villages, and even islands and counties to make a collective commitment to Fairtrade, and to work towards gaining Fairtrade status for their community.

There are now over 400 communities to have earned the status of ‘Fairtrade Town’, with more than 200 other communities campaigning towards gaining the status.  The desire to become a Fairtrade Town has grown beyond England, and there are now Fairtrade Town campaigns in 17 countries around the world – all of which were inspired by the example within the UK.

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How Fair Trade began

On August 22, 2010, in History, by OpenEyeMedia
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According to some sources, Fair Trade has its roots in the USA, where Ten Thousand Villages (formerly known as Self Help Crafts) began buying needlework from Puerto Rico in 1946. Another US-based organisation, SERRV, also began to trade with poor communities in the South in the late 1940s. The first formal ‘Fair Trade’ shop established in the US, and which sold these and other items, opened in 1958.

Fair Trade in Europe meanwhile did not appear until the late 1950s, when Oxfam UK started to sell crafts made by Chinese refugees in their shops. Oxfam then went on to create the first Fair Trade Organization in 1964. Elsewhere in Europe, initiatives were taking place, and in the Netherlands in 1967 the importing organization, Fair Trade Original, was established.

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