Explains what Fairtrade is, how the council supports Fairtrade, how to become a Fairtrade town or village, and where to find additional information.

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than a guaranteed minimum price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

Fairtrade means that:

  • small-scale farmers receive a fair and guaranteed price for their product covering the cost of sustainable living and production
  • plantation workers receive a fair and guaranteed wage for their work
  • on plantations and in factories, minimum health and environmental standards must be followed
  • no child or forced labour can be used
  • democratic working processes and structures are in place
  • all workers are free to belong to a union
  • a social premium is paid to the producer co-operatives, which then invest it in the development of local communities through democratic decision-making processes.

What is the council doing to support Fairtrade?

We are a member of the Fairtrade East Riding Network (FERN), an active voluntary group working across the East Riding to develop awareness of, and support for, Fairtrade.

The East Riding county was awarded Fairtrade status by the Fairtrade Foundation in 2014. In preparation for the award, FERN members collected evidence of all local retail outlets, cafes, churches and community groups which support Fairtrade, and recent local media coverage.

How can we become a Fairtrade town or village?

For details of how to run a campaign to become a Fairtrade town or village, please follow the link below to the Fairtrade Foundation website:

Fairtrade Foundation (external website)

A Fairtrade town or village is a campaign run by a local community group aimed at boosting awareness and understanding of trade issues, and promoting the purchase of Fairtrade products as a way that people can make a difference to the lives of producers.

These campaigns have a set of goals and receive a certificate of congratulation from the Fairtrade Foundation when they are reached. Once a local community declares its status as a Fairtrade town or village, it must remain committed to continuing its campaigning and awareness-raising. There are more than 400 Fairtrade villages, towns, cities, islands and boroughs across the UK, including four in the East Riding: Beverley, Cherry Burton, Pocklington and Hornsea. These groups of volunteers promote Fairtrade and, in some cases, local produce.

Fairtrade East Riding Network (FERN) brings together representatives from across the East Riding to coordinate the Fairtrade campaigns and events in the region. The group meets at County Hall in Beverley throughout the year. In 2014, FERN was successful in its application to the Fairtrade Foundation for the East Riding to be granted ‘Fairtrade County’ status.

How can we become a Fairtrade school?

While applying for Fairtrade school status may seem like an enormous undertaking, it is actually a relatively simple and very worthwhile process.

The award is gradated and the entry level - Fairaware - requires little more than a whole school assembly, an audit to see what the children already know, and a commitment to build on that baseline. The requirements become more stringent with each level yet even the highest award - Fairachiever - is well within reach.

The highest award requires a policy in place, a commitment to whole school events, evidence of the school buying and trying Fairtrade products, and evidence of Fairtrade being incorporated into the curriculum.

This is much easier than it sounds. Apart from the obvious links with Geography, Fairtrade ingredients can be incorporated into the food side of Design and Technology, the cost of these ingredients can then be scaled up or down to feed into an interesting and practical maths lessons. Posters and collages can be created in Art and Design lessons while producing writing which persuades its readers of the benefits of Fairtrade and encourages them to try it , can make for excellent and purposeful English lessons.

Fairtrade Schools (external link)

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