Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 – The important links between Fairtrade and the Co-op

Posted by James Brindle | 25/02/2019 | Category: Fairtrade


Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 runs from 25 February to 10 March and Central England Co-operative is out and about in the communities it serves hosting educational activities to raise awareness of the Fairtrade movement and its importance.

We will also be talking about how shopping more ethically can make a difference and promoting the fantastic and varied Fairtrade products available in our Food Stores. But what are the origins of the Fairtrade movement and how did the Co-operative become involved?

Fairtrade was established to improve social and environmental standards, to give farmers in developing countries better trading conditions with a fair price for their goods and help them enhance conditions in their communities.

The Fairtrade Foundation was set up in the UK in 1992, however the origins of the movement go back further to 1940s and 50s America where the first Fairtrade shop was opened in 1958 focusing on handicrafts made by communities in developing countries. The first Fairtrade products were coffee and tea, before dried fruits, cocoa, sugar, fruit juices, rice, spices and nuts were added to the range.

The Fairtrade logo has now become a familiar sight, particularly in Co-operative Food Stores, to symbolise that the product provides a better deal for the people producing our food.

The logo was first used on products in 1988 and, as well as on Fairtrade products, it can now even be seen on signs for cities, towns and villages in the UK, declaring that they are a Fairtrade town. The involvement of whole communities in the Fairtrade story is testament to its success, demonstrating that they are committed to promoting Fairtrade and combatting poverty.

While there is a growing number of certification schemes that have producer wellbeing as part of their agenda, the Co-op uses Fairtrade as it is truly reflective of our founding values and principles and has witnessed the positive impact of Fairtrade over many years. Producers have consistently told us that Fairtrade is the best of the certification schemes for them and for this reason has always championed Fairtrade.

The Co-op is the UK’s largest convenience seller of Fairtrade products and has delivered many ‘firsts’ over the years, from being the first retailer to stock Fairtrade products in all stores in 1998, to sourcing major Fairtrade commodities as ingredients across our entire own brand range 20 years later.

From coffee and tea to wine and chocolate, and even honey, cotton wool and muesli, the wide variety of products now available at your local Central England Co-op store is testament to how the movement has developed and how society has changed to become more global and ethical.

More details about Fairtrade Fortnight can be found by visiting https://www.centralengland.coop/food/fairtrade-fortnight