For two weeks each year at the end of February and start of March, thousands of individuals, companies and groups across the UK come together to share the stories of the people who grow our food and drinks. mine our gold and who grow the cotton in our clothes, people who are often exploited and underpaid. Fairtrade Fortnight is organised by the Fairtrade Foundation every year and is used as an opportunity to educate and uplift. For Fairtrade Fortnight 2021, the growing challenges that climate change brings to farmers and workers in the affected communities are being highlighted. Farmers and workers in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Honduras, who have done the least to contribute to climate change, are affected by it the most. In fact, farmers from these regions told the Fairtrade Foundation that climate change is one of their biggest challenges right now, low prices for their crops mean that they are struggling to fight back and only with more money will they feel equipped to meet their everyday needs and deal with the challenges they face from climate change. The climate crisis is an immediate and constantly growing threat and those living in climate vulnerable countries are already seeing its impacts from droughts and crop disease to floods, heatwaves and poor harvests. With the global COVID pandemic, the challenges that farmers face now are bigger than ever before with falling prices and changing customer needs affecting the global supply chains.
Choosing to buy Fairtrade products is a fantastic way to ensure social, economic and environmental justice for the people who make the things we buy. However, it is not the only way. Many smaller producers are not able to be certified as Fairtrade because of the size of their organisations. To be certified as Fairtrade, organisations also have to pay a fee, which many small-scale artisans cannot afford. This is the reason why many of our products are not Fairtrade certified, however it is incredibly important to us to make sure our goods are still fairly traded. To make sure even the smallest-scale artisans don't miss out on working with us, we work to the 10 principles of Fair Trade. This includes making regular workshop visits to check there is no child labour and that working conditions meet our high social and environmental standards. In addition we pay at least 50% up front for all of our orders and never beat down prices ensuring everyone gets a fair deal. This was especially important to us during the COVID outbreak and we are extremely proud to say we did not cancel a single order so that we could ensure all of our artisans were taken care of. Orsola De Castro has always been incredibly inspiring for us, and there is a quote that is at the heart of our business: "Demand quality, in the products that you buy and in the lives of the people who made them."