Saturday, 10 October 2009

celebrating Fairtrade

The Fairtrade Foundation celebrates its 15th birthday and to mark the occasion the UK Government has announced it will be investing £12 million in the enterprise. Fairtrade has come a long way since those early days when drinking their endorsed range of tea and coffee was a triumph of hope over experience for the taste buds. The UK is the biggest market for Fairtrade and this is something we should be proud of in the midst of all the talk about ‘broken Britain’; their range of products, while still limited, are nevertheless fairtrade_logovery good quality. There is still a very long way to go and Fairtrade is not without its critics, but we should celebrate the great strides Fairtrade has already made and remember the people whose lives have been transformed by their endeavours.

At the Chelmsford Diocesan Office we try and use only Fairtrade products where possible, though at times it has been something of a struggle. I remember sitting in a Diocesan Pastoral Committee meeting when someone complained that we were using Nestle coffee rather than Fairtrade. On further enquiry it turned out that because the Fairtrade coffee came in large tins someone was transferring the coffee to smaller empty jars for convenience; the smaller jars were labelled Nescafe!

By the way, were you aware that Nestle have been sourcing their milk from farms owned by Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace; farms that have been confiscated from their owners under his odious regime.

Update: In an earlier earlier version of this post I wrongly implied that Spring Harvest don't supply Fairtrade coffee; they do and I apologise for any misunderstanding.


BanksyBoy said...

Great post about Fairtrade... have to admit the close proximity of the phrases 'odious regime' and 'Spring Harvest' made me smile somewhat ;-)

Philip Ritchie said...

Thanks Pete, please note my update re Spring Harvest. I implied that they didn't serve Fairtrade and my better half has pointed out that they do, it's just we never get there in time to get it! Mea Culpa.

The Church Mouse said...

Great post Phil. Thanks for drawing it to the Mouse's attention.

Wendy Beech-Ward said...

Thanks for the clarification on SH. I'm the Director of the event.

We try to do what we can to make sure that Fairtrade coffee etc is available. I'll find out why the coffee points have run out and try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

We make sure that the coffee, tea etc in the Team Lounge is all fairtrade.

Wendy (Beech-Ward)

Philip Ritchie said...

Wendy, thanks for getting in touch. I think the problem is the rush for coffee between morning sessions and perhaps some more distribution points would help, though I realise you may be constrained by Butlins.

Looking forward to SH10 Minehead.

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