Hope Journal 2015: Fairtrade Fortnight

Ellie Wilcock head shot

Ellie Wilcock is CAFOD’s PR officer. Today, her personal Lent journal focuses on Fairtrade Fortnight.

This Lent I’m keeping a hope journal, and over the coming weeks will be sharing a number of my entries on this blog. My journal – which closely follows CAFOD’s Lent Calendar – will be a place to record my joys, hopes, concerns and inspirations. A place to reflect on everything for which I am grateful, and the values by which I try to live my life.

A Fairtrade coffee farmer tends to her crops
A Fairtrade coffee farmer tends to her crops

Today marks the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight – an annual campaign organised by the Fairtrade Foundation to raise awareness of its work. Over the past 20 years, Fairtrade has become the best known ethical label in the UK, and the two week period from now until Monday 08 March is the perfect time to celebrate the successes of the Fairtrade movement. It’s a time to speak out for justice in solidarity with the communities living in extreme poverty, and reflect on changes we can make in our daily lives to help ensure that small-scale farmers and producers enjoy fair terms of trade.

Find out more about Fairtrade

Every Fairtrade product bought helps to transform the lives of more than 1.4 million people in 74 countries around the world – an astonishing figure. However, with over 50% of the UK public still not actively choosing to buy Fairtrade products – and only around 7% of tea sold in the UK Fairtrade-certified – there’s clearly still much to be done to spread the word.

Elliot's Fairtrade-cotton sock
Elliot’s Fairtrade-cotton sock

CAFOD is one of the founding members of the Fairtrade Foundation, and I’m proud to work for an organisation which played such a key role in the movement’s creation. Last Fairtrade Fortnight, we celebrated 20 years of Fairtrade products sold in the UK by teaming up with SockShop to launch a special competition for 7-11 year olds to design a Fairtrade-themed sock.

The winning design – from 11 year old Elliot – went into production using Fairtrade-cotton and is now sold on the SockShop website. This year, to celebrate our ongoing partnership, SockShop is very generously increasing its usual donation of 10% of all online sales to 20% for the duration of Fairtrade Fortnight (ends 08 March), when the code ‘CAFOD’ is entered as the voucher code at checkout. Buy CAFOD’s fruity Fairtrade-cotton socks  

This Fairtrade Fortnight, I resolve to do my bit and support the Fairtrade movement by:

Buying products which carry the Fairtrade mark

I have no excuse not to buy Fairtrade. I live in big city where a wide variety of Fairtrade products are on sale in almost every supermarket, corner shop and grocer within walking distance from my house. Wherever I have the option to buy Fairtrade – be it bananas, chocolate, tea, biscuits or flowers – I will.

Wearing my CAFOD Fairtrade-cotton socks

I love the CAFOD Fairtrade-cotton socks. Elliot’s design – a happy face made out of fruit – demonstrates so perfectly the happiness that fair prices, decent working conditions and local sustainability can bring. They brighten a dull day, they make me smile, and wearing them reminds me to think of the communities who produce many of the items I use on a daily basis, but so often take for granted.

Telling friends and family all about Fairtrade

I will use the Fairtrade Foundation’s action guide, which is full of fantastic tips for supporting Fairtrade Fortnight, to let my friends and family know how they can get involved in the movement to support our brothers and sisters around the world to receive a fairer deal for their work and produce. If I can get just one person to commit to buying Fairtrade that will be an achievement. The more people choosing Fairtrade means more lives changed.

Being hopeful

I hope that by the time 2024 – the next big birthday in the Fairtrade calendar – is here, stocking Fairtrade will be a standard for all supermarkets, and buying Fairtrade will be a standard for all shoppers.

Find out how you can get involved in CAFOD’s campaigning work today

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