LINKS & CONTACTS
A Fairtrade Breakfast
Whether we realise it or not, each of
us lives eternally in the red. We are everlasting debtors
to known and unknown men and women. When we arise in the
morning we go into the bathroom where we reach for a sponge which
is provided for us by a Pacific Islander. We reach for soap
that is created for us by a European. Then at the table
we drink coffee which is provided for us by a South American,
or tea by a Chinese, or cocoa by a West African. Before
we leave for our jobs we are already beholden to more than half
Martin Luther King
- Let's imagine the scene........
Busy Monday morning. Family breakfast. Noisy kids
and the smell of fresh coffee.
It's getting late and you're in a hurry as usual .......
- Don't take more cereal than you will eat - it's wasteful !
- Share those bananas with your sister !
- Take one snack bar to go with your lunch - not the whole packet
- Mind you don't spill that coffee over my new shirt !
- Hurry and put your shoes on now, or you'll be late for school
We encourage our children to be careful, fair, kind, not to
be greedy, to look after one another. That's the kind of
people we are - responsible, helpful, hard working, kind, honest,
fair-minded, generous and not wasteful. Our children
start to develop an understanding of right and wrong by the age
of three years.
Seeing injustice hurts us ........
- But the breakfast cereal was made by a firm that aggressively
markets baby milk powder in poor countries, where it is mixed
with dirty water and gives kids cholera
- The bananas were grown by a poor world farmer who can hardly
afford breakfast for her children
- The snack bars were made with sugar from the EU, where perverse
crop subsidies flood the market and make sugar so cheap that it's
impossible for poor world farmers to compete
- The coffee grower has no idea what price he will get in a
distorted unfair market, run by distant corporations and futures
- The new tee-shirt was a great bargain because it was made
by exploited child labourers
- Many poor world parents struggle to pay for their children's
schooling. Some children have to miss school to work and
support their families
- The kids' trainers were made in sweatshop conditions with
low pay and no job security
Something smells wrong here, doesn't it ? I feel
we have left our values and ethics at home when we went shopping.
- Let's dispel some of the myths that
some people believe when they hear us talk about Fairtrade shopping ........
Is Fairtrade too expensive to afford ? Is someone else's
poverty an acceptable price for our cheaper shopping ?
- More and more people like us are saying No ! Life does
not have to be a competition loaded in favour of the greed for corporate profits.
Fairtrade prices reflect the costs of paying for the benefits to producers and the
smaller scale of trade. The premium is the cost of JUSTICE,
and it really is a price worth paying.
- Fairtrade prices are often not as high as we are led to imagine,
when you compare like-for-like quality and shop around for best
Can I find a wide range of Fairtrade goods locally ?
- Yes ! Local Fairtrade outlets stock dozens of varied teas and coffees !
But it's not just about tea and coffee.
- You can also find ethically-traded
Is the quality of Fairtrade goods up to scratch ?
- Yes ! If anything, Fairtrade producers take a tremendous
pride in their work, giving the best quality goods for sale, knowing
that they will be paid a fair rate. They seek to add value
to the product and enjoy the positive results of their efforts.
Exploited workers only feel resentment and anger at the injustice
they suffer - and sometimes it shows.
- Much Fairtrade food is organic, with fewer nasty chemicals
to harm either the environment, workers, their children, or consumers.
Will I have to search for ages to find any Fairtrade products ?
- No. There are several Fairtrade outlets in our area. Many basic products,
especially beverages, can be found at supermarkets, but you will find a better range in
the specialist outlets and they support the same ethics that we value in the Fairtrade
movement, so please make full use of them.
Does the Fairtrade system really make a difference to the lives
of poor people ?
Now I am getting fair wages - 40% more
than before. I saved some money and built a new house.
My one son and daughter are studying in the government school.
Sheraj Gagi, weaver, India
- The extra income enables workers to live healthier, longer
lives. Some Fairtrade organisations also liaise with local
producers on funding projects to improve access to health care,
education, transport, water, sanitation and production training.
Check out the organisations on our Links Page for
We are aware of the issues. We
know the answers. Now it's time for a change of gear, isn't
- Pop into your local Fairtrade shop for a visit
- Check out the range of products available
- Have a chat with the staff - you will find them friendly and
- Try some of the items that take your fancy
- Treat yourself - you will no longer need to feel so guilty !
- Choose cafes and restaurants that use Fairtrade products
- Think of the Fairtrade products that belong on your regular
Keep a note of them in your purse
- Find out more about the origins of the Fairtrade products
- Encourage more local shops to stock Fairtrade products
- Have a bring and share Fairtrade Fun Party
- Choose Fairtrade goods as gifts to friends and family
- Browse the web for Fairtrade goodies
- Check out the Farmers' Market - it's local fair trade for
- Join the Fairtrade Colchester campaign and
help spread the word
- Help your children (or parents) to understand the benefits
- Tell your friends about Fairtrade
Live out your values.
Play fair. Shop fair. Be fair. Live fair
Thinking of which,
Perhaps it's time for a Fairtrade cuppa and a Fairtrade snack !