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Commenting on BBC1’s Fashion’s Dirty Secret: Stacey Dooley Investigates, aired 8th October 2018, a spokesperson for the Fairtrade Foundation said:

“Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, shown on prime time BBC1, provides a wakeup call to all fashion lovers who don’t realise the impact our insatiable appetite for cheap throwaway clothing is having on communities around the world. The programme opens our eyes to how the fashion industry has spun completely out of control, and how it has become one of the most toxic and water intensive industries. Ultimately, someone somewhere is paying the price for our cheap clothing; whether it’s the environment, a child sewing your clothes in Asia or a refugee in another part of the world.

“Globally we’re producing over 100 billion new garments from new fibres every single year, and the planet cannot sustain that. Systemic change is needed to the way the fashion industry sources cotton, as it is also responsible for providing a livelihood for 300 million people who work in the cotton sector. For farmers, the challenges range from the impact of climate change, poor prices for cotton, through to competition from highly subsidised producers in rich countries and poor terms of trade.”


How recycling is improving the environment in Honduras thanks to the Fairtrade Premium

Recycling is now an issue of immense global importance as the world aims to minimise the negative impact of waste on the natural environment.

Shabbir Adamali is working with COMSA (Café Organica Marcala), an association of small-scale organic coffee producers, on a waste management project in Honduras funded in part by the Fairtrade Premium.

The aim is to reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose of waste material. Currently there is no culture of recycling solid waste in Marcala. People burn, bury and throw their waste in the river. As the population grows, water pollution becomes a major issue bringing with it various diseases if not controlled. The burning of waste in open fields also creates contamination of air quality and increases the pollutant level in greenhouse gases.

So far they have built 4 transfer stations and a recycling centre that processes around 1.5 tonnes of waste daily. The proper handling of solid waste will result in a reduction of greenhouse gases every year by up to 20 percent. What’s more, 70 percent of the waste is recycled into different parts; organic compost, metal, plastic, paper and glass and the upcycling from these waste products will create jobs and new businesses.

The project benefiting the community. So far the pilot project has benefited 230 children at CIS (Comsa International School) as well as those directly involved in Comsa; its 300 employees and their family members. As the project evolves, it will benefit more and more people across the city of Marcala which has a population of 25,000. The future of the project? Currently they do not have means to dispose the non recyclable waste, which goes to the open municipality dump site and contaminates air and ground water. The project needs to buy the proper incinerator to control the waste that cannot be recycled.

COMSA (Café Organica Marcala) is an association of small-scale organic coffee producers located in the La Paz region of western Honduras. The project is called the Junto Limpiamos Marcala (JLM). You can find out more about the project and follow progress on their website.


News Products

Fairtrade Organic September

Did you know that over 50% of Fairtrade farmers choose to grow their produce organically? By working with nature they protect the environment and themselves from harmful chemicals, and they can improve their livelihoods, as they often get a better price too.

We’re celebrating Organic September with our friends over at the Soil Association by sharing ten of our favourite Fairtrade and organic products over on our blog. With over 1000 available it was really hard to choose!

Featured News Products Supporters

Easyjet now offering Clipper Fairtrade Teas

  Six organic and Fairtrade teas from Clipper’s portfolio is now available to over 90 million passengers annually. Not only is the tea organic it will also be served in cups made from plants not plastic. The plastic-free cups are fully compostable, made from sustainably-sourced card and lined with plant-based PLA. Clipper never uses bleach to whiten the bag and is working to develop a fully-biodegradable, GM-free tea bag from solely plant-based materials.

Founded in Dorset in 1984 and now the world’s largest Fairtrade tea brand, Clipper is thrilled to be supplying easyJet and looking forward to seeing Clipper’s Fairtrade tea served in the skies for the first time.”

Featured News

Is the Coffee Industry Guilty of Exploitation?

Is the Coffee Industry Guilty of Exploitation?

by Peter d’Angremond of Max Havelaar Foundation

The price for Arabica coffee beans has plummeted in recent weeks to below production costs, jeopardising the livelihoods of 25 million coffee farming families worldwide. Peter d’Angremond of Max Havelaar Foundation discusses the impact of the price crash and what we must do now to protect coffee farmers.

Coffee farmers rang the alarm bell this week due to the price of coffee beans dropping to a dramatic low. This threatens the already fragile existence of 25 million farming families worldwide. We can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening.

This week, Brazil and Colombia, who together produce half of the world’s coffee, published a affirming the fact that farmers are forced to sell their coffee far below cost price.

The disastrous situation in the coffee sector is confirmed by recent figures. At the end of 2016, the price of Arabica coffee on the New York Stock Exchange was $1.55 per pound (454 grams). Since then the price has dropped further to a dramatic low point this week of less than one dollar per pound. Due to the extreme decline of 30% in price, farmers could be facing an annual loss of more than 11 billion dollars of income. No development programme can bridge this gap.

Sustainability is on everyone’s lips these days and often we think we are doing a good job. The coffee-producing countries state that while many large multinational companies do promote and act on sustainability, these activities are completely negated by their commercial practices. The recently released report ‘Coffee Barometer‘ comes to the same conclusion. Of the total value of coffee (around 200 billion dollars in 2015), only 10% stays in the countries of origin. In total, large companies spend approximately 350 million dollars a year on sustainability. Set against the income loss of 11 billion dollars, this is a drop in the ocean.


By paying prices that are too low, the coffee industry is at least partly responsible for human rights issues such as poverty, child labour, poor working conditions as well as environmental damage. In sustainability discussions, talking about a ‘decent price’ is taboo. Industry largely refuses to commit to decent prices for farmers.

In the UK, Fairtrade, which is the only certification mark that requires a minimum price of coffee buyers ($1.40 per pound), has a market share of around 25%. This means that for 3 quarters of all packs of coffee in the UK supermarket, no price security is offered for coffee farmers. They are then dependent on the vagaries of the market.

It is time that coffee brands, supermarkets and the industry take structural responsibility by adjusting their purchasing policy.

And do we, as consumers, want to be involved in the exploitation of coffee farmers by buying their products?


Kerala Floods – A Fairtrade Perspective

The whole Fairtrade family stands in solidarity with those affected by the terrible recent floods in Kerala, Southern India. Devastating monsoon rains have killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more.

As the waters slowly recede, the true scale of the devastation is becoming known. For those caught up in the disaster, focus has now shifted to rebuilding buildings, businesses and lives.

Kerala is a vital source of a number of Fairtrade commodities including tea, spices and nuts. Across the whole region 5 million farmers have had their crops destroyed and their livelihoods ripped away from them.

Not only that, but the floods have destroyed roads and other vital infrastructure meaning getting aid to the worst affected areas is severely hampered. Many are unable to return to their homes because of the danger of landslides and so are unable to assess the damage.

It is impossible to comprehend what it must be like to have your entire life, literally, washed away in front of you. Members of the Fairtrade movement have added their assistance to the rescue and recovery efforts. Fairtrade licensees like Liberation Nuts are seeing how they can support the rebuilding process, Fair Trade Alliance Kerala is looking to provide advance payments from future harvests up front to ensure communities can get through this very challenging time. Fairtrade International has committed €80,000 to assist the rebuilding process.

These gestures alone however will not begin to compensate these farmers and their families for what they have been through and the thousands more who need help. NGOs, such as Oxfam, are coordinating emergency appeals – please do donate if you are able.

Thanks to the support of British shoppers, Fairtrade farmers in Kerala have toiled tirelessly to work their way out of poverty. These floods mean many will have to start again but Fairtrade will not abandon them. By buying Fairtrade products, such as Liberation cashew nuts, you make a real difference to the lives of producers in Kerala and all over the world. The floods have taken a devastating toll on Fairtrade farmers but with our support they can, and will, bounce back.

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