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Fashion and Fairtrade: open doors for public and policymakers

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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The Fairtrade Foundation will today mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight with a call for Commonwealth leaders to prioritise sustainable development.

Fairtrade, of course, changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.

For the fashion industry, fair trade has a positive affect on farmers and workers who supply cotton to factories and fabric mills. It also helps consumers ask questions where garments comes from, who made it, and was it made fairly.

Fairtrade is a business, not just a political movement

Embracing Fairtrade represents a huge commercial opportunity for the Commonwealth. The Fairtrade retail market in the UK grew 7 percent in 2017, according to independent data. Public support is at an all-time high with new data showing 93 percent of people are aware of Fairtrade while 83 percent of people trust the Fairtrade Mark.

Governments can support Fairtrade with a 5 point plan

The Fairtrade Foundation’s plan sets out five ways in which Commonwealth governments could support fair trade for development: Support women’s economic empowerment, commit to living incomes and living wages, combat modern slavery, develop trade policies and invest in producers, including young people, and provide incentives for businesses who are actively seeking to achieve higher ethical and sustainable standards.

"Last year in the UK more people than ever before got behind Fairtrade and together with many well-known businesses, indicated they want more fair trade and less exploitation in their goods," said Mike Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation. "The sad fact is that exploitation is still rife in global trade, characterised by modern slavery, disempowered women and farmers and workers on poverty wages.

"This is a unique moment for Commonwealth leaders and heads of state to come together and lead the world by ending the exploitation of some of the poorest workers, and make trade truly fair."

The start of Fairtrade Fortnight begins with the unveiling of a giant double doorway opening onto a scene from a banana farm on the Millennium Footbridge between St Paul's Cathedral and the Tate Modern, London.

It highlights the 'Come On In' campaign, which will call on the public, businesses, and policymakers to work together to secure a better deal for producers and bring an end to worker exploitation and environmental degradation.

Photo courtesy of Fairtrade.org; article sources: Fairtrade.org, Businessgreen.com