Fashion Revolution Week

March 31st, 2017 Comments off

Fashion Revolution Week runs from 24th-30th April 2017, and commemorates the anniversary of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse.

“Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for greater transparency in the fashion industry. We want to see a radical change in the way that clothing is produced, sourced and consumed so that fashion is much cleaner, safer and fairer for everybody and the environment too.”
– Nikki Mattei, Fashion Revolution

The clothing industry touches everybody’s lives and is a truly global industry with massive social and environmental impact. Fashion Revolution calls on all of us to be curious about our clothes, the people who made them and the brands and retailers who can make things better.

A summary of education resources for young people around Fashion Revolution Week

Take a Break for Fairtrade

February 13th, 2017 Comments off

Fairtrade Fortnight: Monday 27 February – Sunday 12 March

Our morning cup of coffee or tea, our afternoon snack: important parts of our daily routine. Yet millions of farmers who produce the treats we enjoy during our breaks are struggling to make a living.

Whether in the UK or elsewhere around the world, no one deserves to be short-changed for a hard day’s work. When we reach for the cheapest products, we may be unconsciously feeding exploitation.

Join thousands of others across the UK this Fairtrade Fortnight to take exploitation out of your shopping basket.

Find out more about Fairtrade Fortnight 2017

Fairtrade is an international movement to change the way trade is done. The Fairtrade standards ensure that farmers and workers are guaranteed a fair, stable price and decent working conditions. The Fairtrade Mark guarantees these standards.

Today, more than 1.65 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 76 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the Fairtrade Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.

See upcoming events around London

Make UK Trade Fair

October 25th, 2016 Comments off

Theresa May has committed to fight unfairness and injustice and to lead ‘a country that works for everyone’.

As UK trade deals are rewritten in the wake of Brexit, we are calling for a fairer deal for millions of vulnerable farmers and workers in developing countries.

When it comes to Brexit, everything is currently up for grabs. Sign the Fairtrade Foundation’s letter to Teresa May to push for justice when it comes to our trade negotiations.

Add your name to the letter to Teresa May now

Argos Offers Fairtrade Gold

July 27th, 2016 Comments off

Argos is now the first UK high street retailer online to launch Fairtrade gold rings in stores nationwide.

The new lines of wedding bands are available in four different styles and went on sale on 16th July 2016, retailing from £99.99.

Each Fairtrade Wedding Ring will be imprinted with the unique Fairtrade Gold Stamp so that couples know that the miners were paid a fair price for the gold plus an extra amount of money in the form of the Fairtrade Premium, to invest in building their future.

The Fairtrade gold in the rings comes from the SOTRAMI gold mine, located in the Atacama desert in Peru, 70 miles from the nearest town. The artisan small scale mining community consists of 500 families and had little access to amenities such as shops and health care before selling on Fairtrade terms.

Since becoming certified, the miners have helped to improve the lives of the town’s inhabitants by investing the Fairtrade Premium in a primary school and dentistry and a not-for-profit grocery store in the community so that people can buy food at affordable prices. In the future they plan to help improve health care, waste management, electricity and water supplies for the town’s inhabitants.

Artisanal small scale mining is driven by poverty and draws people who have no other option. When unregulated, the conditions faced by miners can be dangerous and polluting. Miners are often exploited by middle men and don’t receive a fair price for their gold. It is estimated that tens of thousands of children are empowered in the sector.

Mercury and cyanide are used to extract gold from hard rock, so unskilled handling of these toxic chemicals poses severe risks to miners’ health, their communities and the natural environment.

Fairtrade Coffee Caper

June 7th, 2016 Comments off

 

Stop 1_Phoenecia

Our group outside our first coffee stop.

On a Sunday morning, 15 May 2016, an unruly group of coffee drinkers gathered at Phoenecia Mediterranean Food Hall café in Kentish Town, over a Fairtrade cup of coffee, for the start of Camden’s Great Fairtrade Coffee Caper, a Fairtrade coffee crawl through Camden borough.

The event was organised by Camden Fairtrade Network (CFN) to take part in the World Fairtrade Challenge, a Fairtrade International initiative aiming to get as many Fairtrade cups of coffee drank over 3 days (13-15 May) as possible, to help small-holder coffee farmers protect their livelihoods and fight climate change.

The idea was to use this event to find out which cafes in the borough sold Fairtrade coffee, support those that did, and ask those that didn’t serve it to do so, highlighting consumer demand for Fairtrade and the difference it made to coffee farmers and communities.

CFN put together a route, using Google My Map, with input from Camden Tour Guides Association member, Valeria Bellazzi – who volunteered her time and expertise.

The route was limited to certain parts of the borough** to make it manageable within four hours, and allow for optional de-tours.

A meeting place was chosen that was easy to get to and offered Fairtrade coffee*.

Cafes on route serving Fairtrade coffee were rewarded with patronage and window stickers, and those that didn’t were given leaflets about Fairtrade and spoken to about switching.

10 people participated in the Fairtrade coffee crawl, either in part or for all of it.

Over 4 hours, 16 cafes were visited, and 19 cups of Fairtrade coffee drank, in the 4 cafes serving it.

The 4 cafes serving Fairtrade coffee were Phoenicia which offers a Fairtrade option, Campbell’s Canal Cafe serving Fairtrade wherever possible, Mildreds serving triple certified (organic, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance) coffee and the ATM kiosk at Euston Station.

The number of cafes serving Fairtrade coffee and level of understanding of Fairtrade was surprising low.

Some managers and serving staff were more open than others to discussing Fairtrade, and showed interest in following up. Others cited existing sponsorship packages in place, or showed a lack of interest in Fairtrade.

Other places in the borough that serve Fairtrade coffee but which were not included in the route are Camden Council’s cafe at 5 Pancras Square (Kings Cross), Quaker Centre Cafe, Fairly Square, Pret a Manger, Soho Coffee Company, Eat, Greggs, and Leon.

Buna Oromia will soon be opening a café and distribution point at 154 Royal College Street, Kentish Town, selling Fairtrade Organic Ethiopian coffee.

Through this event, CFN have engaged new people, started mapping Fairtrade coffee spots in Camden borough, and got some discussions going with local cafes about switching to Fairtrade.

The group are to discuss what next. There is potential for follow ups with cafes visited, organising similar events in other areas of the borough, and putting together a more comprehensive map of Fairtrade coffee spots.

Hopefully others across the capital, the country, and the globe can be inspired to do their own Fairtrade coffee crawls.

Our next meeting is on 6.30pm, 12 July, at Voluntary Action Camden.

If you would like to tell us about a café in Camden serving Fairtrade coffee, or get in touch about something else, drop us a line camdenfairtrade@google.com. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Anna Lerner
Camden Fairtrade Network

Footnotes:

*This presented an opportunity to get a café to offer Fairtrade to its customers; the envisaged meeting place, Phoenecia, sold Fairtrade coffee in its shop but not its café. When approached in advance, the manager agreed to offer Fairtrade coffee in its café and advertise the option to customers.

** Parts of Kentish Town, Chalk Farm, Camden Town and Euston.

Stop 11_Canal Cafe4

Second Stop: The group stop for lunch and a Fairtrade coffee at Campbell’s Canal Cafe, Camden Lock. (Above and below).

Stop 11_Canal Cafe5

Stop 13_Mildreds1

Mildred’s serve triple certified coffee. Check the label!

Stop 14_Mildreds4

The group outside Mildred’s, Jamestown Road

Stop 16_AMT Euston2

Last Stop: AMT, Euston Station. Fairtrade stalwart Marion Hill grabs a coffee.

Fairtrade uniforms come to Goldsmiths, University of London

January 25th, 2016 Comments off

Goldsmiths, University of London have switched the uniforms for their maintenance team to Fairtrade cotton.

The maintenance team noticed a difference in the quality of their polo shirts. They’ve commented on how the polo shirts are more comfortable to wear, are cooler during the summer and are more durable – not wearing as quickly as our previous ones.

– Nicola Hogan, Goldsmiths, University of London

The uniforms were sourced from Fairtrade clothing supplier Koolskools, a new and dynamic ethical school clothing company.

The Goldsmiths Greening Officer was determined to have their maintenance team’s uniforms made from 100% Fairtrade cotton and  Koolskools  were the obvious supplier. Goldsmiths placed a small order to start with and after their logo size and colour was agreed, Koolskools got started on making their polo shirts. A little perseverance and determination by the greening officer was all that was required to get the deal done

– Nicola Hogan, Goldsmiths, University of London

 

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The Fairtrade committee at Goldsmiths have also requested that colleagues who are in charge of ordering cotton tote bags for graduation, open days, etc, consider using 100% Fairtrade cotton tote bags instead of non-Fairtrade bags. The committee have added Allwag Promotions, a producer of 100% Cotton Fairtrade tote bags, to their approved supplier list.

We were delighted to supply polo shirts made with Fairtrade cotton to Goldsmiths. We congratulate them on taking this initiative to support vulnerable developing country cotton farmers and factory workers. Koolskools is hoping to build on this, its first sale of Fairtrade cotton garments to a  London university, in the coming months and years.

-Andy Ashcroft, Koolskools

 

Ikea generation gardening

November 23rd, 2015 Comments off

You don’t have to have a garden to be a gardener. SmallFolders
is a new project sponsored by the Cafédirect Producers Foundation.
Cafédirect’s Producer Foundation is a charity which works with 280,000 small holder farmers across twelve countries in the developing world. Their work enables these small folders to develop their own projects, share information and improve their livelihoods.

Smallholders make flatpack urban gardening products inspired by African and Latin American farmers. Small Folders will help you grow herbs & plants from your balcony or windowsill. A crowd funding project has been launched to help get this project off the ground.

Vertical garden:

Smallfolders flatpack gardening products

The money raised will help the development of farming techniques that allow small holders to adapt to climate change. This will help them to diversify their incomes and increase their crop yields. These innovations will also enable the development of gardening products that can be used in the constrained outdoor spaces that those of us who live in London are familiar with.

Where is Fairtrade Going? Debate on Nov 26th in Ealing

November 19th, 2015 Comments off

Five West London Fairtrade Boroughs (Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hounslow and Kingston) have teamed up with Ealing Unite Community Branch to organise this debate.  Jonathan Smith, Head of Campaigns at the Fairtrade Foundation, and Nicolas Mounard, Managing Director of Twin and Twin Trading, will lead the discussion on Fairtrade and fair trade, comparisons with other ethical labels, and the challenges of expanding Fairtrade to more products and manufactured goods.

The debate will take place on Thursday November 26th, 6.30 – 9.00 pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 17 Woodville Road, London W5 2SE.

The evening promises to be interesting, stimulating and give you food for thought.  The event is free of charge, but places are limited, so please register to attend here

How Green is Fairtrade?

July 20th, 2015 Comments off

Fair trade is seen primarily as a movement for social justice, but the Fairtrade Mark has strong environmental credentials as well.

This useful short film from Bristol Fairtrade Network explains clearly and succinctly the links between Fairtrade and sustainability.

How green is Fairtrade

As Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International, puts it: “Fairtrade is a global version of Buy Local.”

Watch How Green Is Fairtrade? on Vimeo

Film: True Cost

July 20th, 2015 Comments off

Still from True Cost film

It’s great to see a mainstream film focus on ethical trade. True Cost shines a spotlight on our own fashion footprints.

It explores the impact of ‘fast fashion’ on the lives of the workers who make our clothes.

Watch the film on Netflix
Watch the film on Amazon Prime
Read a Guardian review here