How caterers get involved in Fairtrade Fortnight

The Women's society
25/02/2019 - 06:00
Today (25 February – 10 March) marks the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual campaign organised by the Fairtrade Foundation to raise awareness of its products and the issues it campaigns for.

Running since 1997, the first Fairtrade Fortnight began with the breaking of a Fairtrade chocolate bar by chairman of Christian Aid, Lady Marion Fraser and encouraged every supermarket throughout Scotland to stock Fairtrade products.

Over the years it has spread to include the high street, schools and caterers, allowing more than 1.5 million farmers and workers in 74 developing countries to benefit from fair wages and better working conditions.

To date, over 4,500 products have been licensed to include the Fairtrade mark, including coffee, dried fruit and smoothies and product sales of Fairtrade products hit €8.5 billion (£7.3 million) in late 2018.

Catering companies including Compass and Sodexo have contributed and hosted events during previous Fairtrade Fortnights, including roundtable discussions and educated its clients on the Fairtrade products it uses along with the impact the use of them has made.

In 2016, Sodexo hosted Peruvian coffee farmer and university student, Franceska, after its retail category manager for hot beverages, Kim Reeves, traced the journey of the beans back to its famers. The student received the chance to visit a number of the company’s university and corporate service sites, giving talks about her life and the importance of Fairtrade to her and her family.

At the time, LJ Loftus, account manager for brands and out of home at Fairtrade Foundation said: “It’s inspiring to see Sodexo’s efforts to bring the origins of coffee alive by organising the first farmer visit led by a catering company this Fairtrade Fortnight. It is fantastic when companies develop close relationships with the producers in their supply chains and I hope other caterers will follow their lead.”

Schools have also become some of the biggest champions of the fortnight, with many hosting workshops to teach the students about the impact of Fairtrade.

In 2014, the School Food Standards included information for school caterers on how to produce and use Fairtrade products for school menus, which the foundation believed would ‘encourage the wider issues surrounding food consumption’.

2019’s Fairtrade Fortnight is expected to the biggest yet and will focus on the people, and particularly the women who grow the cocoa that goes into the chocolate we all eat.

It is launching a three-year campaign that will encourage everyone in the cocoa sector, consumers, companies and government, to ‘play their part’ and help cocoa farmers achieve a living income.

Rosine Bekoin, cocoa farmer and secretary of the cooperative’s women’s society from the Ivory Coast, said: “The Fairtrade Premium has enabled us to do many things, especially women. It has enabled us to advance our children, and also we use the Fairtrade Premium to build for the future.” 

To find out how to get involved, visit: 

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