Eco Tips

Fairly Traded

24th February 2022

This week is the first half of Fairtrade fortnight when the Fairtrade Foundation draws our attention to the their work in protecting and supporting farmers, farm workers and small businesses in developing countries. For products to gain the Fairtrade mark a thorough investigation of trading practices is made, standards attained and goals established. Products with the Fairtrade mark often command a higher price which consumers are willing to pay knowing that the extra supports the wellbeing of those involved in its production and of the environment.  

These principles are clearly ones one would wish to apply in every circumstance. As consumers we can make the effort to find out about workers pay and conditions, the effects of production on the environment, of safe guards and sustainable practices, company practices, shareholder remuneration and the payment of taxes. It is not just in developing companies that one should desire fair trade practices, but here in the UK too. Being better informed we can chose to support those companies which trade fairly. The following groups/ foundations etc offer standards and identifying logos that help inform us as consumers. 

  • Fairtrade is a system of certification that aims to ensure a set of standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient. For farmers and workers, Fairtrade means workers’ rights, safer working conditions and fairer pay. For shoppers it means high quality, ethically produced products. Choosing Fairtrade means standing with farmers for fairness and equality, against some of the biggest challenges the world faces. It means farmers creating change, from investing in climate friendly farming techniques to developing women in leadership. With Fairtrade you change the world a little bit every day. Through simple shopping choices you are showing businesses and governments that you believe in fair and just trade. https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/what-is-fairtrade/ 
  • The Rainforest Alliance is a global leader in sustainability certification. Farms, forest communities, and businesses that participate in our certification program are audited against rigorous sustainability standards based on the triple bottom line: environmental, economic, and social well-being. More than two million farmers follow our agriculture standards in 70 countries around the globe. Our programs focus on coffee, cocoa, tea, bananas, and many other important commodity sectors facing urgent environmental and social challenges.  https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/approach/
  • The Living Wage Foundation is at the heart of the independent movement of businesses and people that campaign for the idea that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. They celebrate and recognise the leadership of responsible employers who choose to go further and pay a real Living Wage based on the cost of living, not just the government minimum. They coordinate the announcement of the real Living Wage rates each November, based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK. We also provide advice and support to employers and service providers implementing the independently-calculated Living Wage rates. This includes best practice guides, case studies from leading employers, model procurement frameworks and access to specialist legal and HR advice. They offer accreditation to employers that pay the independently-calculated Living Wage rates to all staff in London and the UK, or those committed to an agreed timetable of implementation, by awarding the Living Wage Employer Mark. https://www.livingwage.org.uk/living-wage-foundation  
  • The Fair Tax Foundation was launched in 2014 and operates as a not-for-profit social enterprise. Our Fair Tax Mark accreditation scheme seeks to encourage and recognise businesses that pay the right amount of corporation tax at the right time and in the right place. We believe companies paying tax responsibly and transparently should be celebrated, and any race to the bottom resisted. Tax contributions are a key part of the positive social and economic impact made by business. The growth of tax havens and unethical corporate tax conduct have become prominent concerns across the world. Aggressive tax avoidance negatively distorts national economies and undermines the ability of responsible business to compete fairly, both domestically and internationally. https://fairtaxmark.net/  
  • Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, are companies verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.B Lab is the non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet.  It was created in 2006 with the mission to inspire and enable people to use business as a force for good. There are B Labs across the globe (forming the B Global Network) including Australia, East Africa, mainland Europe and North and South America. B Lab UK is a charity that launched in 2015.  As part of this international network, B Lab UK leads economic systems change to support our collective vision of an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy. Our purpose is to redefine success in business through building a community of engaged businesses, raising awareness of the B Corp Movement and influencing change in the UK economy. Together, we are shifting our global economy from a system that profits few to one that benefits all: advancing a new model that moves from concentrating wealth and power to ensuring equity, from extraction to generation, and from prioritising individualism to embracing interdependence. https://bcorporation.uk/about-b-lab-uk/  
  • The Soil Association is the charity that digs deeper to transform the way we eat, farm and care for our natural world.Why do we do this? Because we want to live in a world which is in balance with nature. In a future with good health and a safe climate. For the last 75 years, we’ve worked with citizens, farmers, policy makers and businesses, supporting them to explore the vital relationship between the health of soil, plants, animals and people. Because the only way to solve the issues we face is to understand that they are all connected – and that food, farming and forestry are a vital part of the solution. Any product sold as ‘organic’ in the UK has to comply with organic regulation requirements written into a set of Standards. The Soil Association acts as a certification body and its symbol is a recognised and trusted international mark of organic certification internationally.  https://www.soilassociation.org/who-we-are/  
  • The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation on a mission to  stop overfishing. For over 20 years, they have been working with fisheries, seafood companies and scientists to help protect the oceans around us, and safeguard seafood supplies. The blue MSC ecolabel is the world’s most recognised label for sustainable seafood. It is found on retail products and in restaurants identifying fish and seafood that has been wild-caught in a sustainable way and is fully traceable. The blue MSC ecolabel is only awarded to well-managed fisheries that meet the MSC’s independently verified standards for sustainable seafood production. https://www.msc.org/ 
  • The Forestry Stewardship Council, the original pioneers of forest certification, has 25 years of experience in sustainable forest management. They use their expertise to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests, bringing together experts from the environmental, economic and social spheres. 12 Irreplaceable Forest Products in Our Daily Lives: paper, toilet paper, books, cardboard, paper packaging, wood, furniture, musical instruments, charcoal, rubber products such as condoms, balls, tires, fruits and berries, and  medicines – A lot of medicines have important ingredients that come from the rainforest. While there are not any FSC-certified medicines (yet!), the standards set by FSC for responsible forest management protect the forests where these ingredients come from, thus ensuring that we will have access to them for future generations. Next time you add them to your shopping bag, make sure they are sourced sustainably by looking for the FSC logo.  https://fsc.org/en  
  • In 2008 The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil developed a set of environmental and social criteria which companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) in response to the ever-urgent need and growing global concern that commodities are produced without causing harm to the environment or society. Sustainable palm oil is responsive to increasing global food demand, supports affordable food prices, supports poverty reduction, safeguards social interests, communities and workers, and protects the environment. All organisations in the supply chain that use RSPO certified sustainable oil products are audited to prevent overselling and mixing palm oil with conventional (or non-sustainable) oil palm products. https://www.rspo.org/certification

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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