Fairtrade recognises and acts upon the fact that all people, no matter where they are born deserve to be valued and treated as equal. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states:

“Everyone has the human right to work, to just conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, to sufficient pay to ensure a dignified existence for one’s self and one’s family, and the human right to join a trade union.”

When reading the UDHR it’s apparent that some people in the world have more access than others to the rights and as a result are living better, safer, healthier lives.

 Business as usual in the current world order means the gap between those living with wealth and those living in poverty, is increasing. Multi-national corporations benefit financially while farmers and labourers suffer. This was one of the reasons that motivated me to set up Fair Grounds, a Fair Trade social enterprise, 11 years ago. I wanted to prove that business could be conducted in a way where no one was exploited, it’s not easy but it is possible. Having the opportunity to travel and meet the people I am working with has been both heart breaking and encouraging.

Project manager Nina meeting the fair trade producers in near Taxco, Mexico.

Hearing life stories of how surviving can be a daily struggle, concerns if there will be food to eat, money to pay for children’s education or for medicine when family members are unwell. Then as I’m told that with income from fairtrade sales they have a bigger house, with electricity this time, their children are loving going to school, funeral costs have been paid and food grown and bought. Fairtrade does make a difference.

Supporters and campaigners of Fair Trade will know it is a long-term lifestyle and consumer choice made by individuals wanting to play their part in moving towards a world of justice and peace alongside others. I am pleased to be living in a country where there is an annual fortnight that focuses on Fairtrade, highlighting the issues to people who may not know just how important it is, and can then make informed choices.

Children very quickly grasp the concept of unfairness in relation to global trade and poverty and it is great to once again be working with fairandfunky in Halifax at their ‘Take a Break’ conference for schools, to promote in fun and creative ways the importance of looking after the world through caring for all people and the environment.

Fairtrade is vitally important, not only because it changes lives, but the values and principles it is built on – mutual co-operation and conversation, trust, openness, equality and justice are more needed than ever in the current global political climate, and the more places these values can be shared and embodied, the better for everyone!

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This was blog post was taken from fairandfunky.com where Nina was a guest blogger during fair trade fortnight 2017.