It’s Fairtrade Fortnight, la quinzaine du commerce équitable, in France from 12 to 27 May.
Products with Fairtrade or Max Havelaar certification have been produced by workers who receive a fair price for their products. These are essentially basic food commodities: the top six are bananas, sugar, cocoa, coffee, other fresh fruit, and tea. However Fairtrade certification is diversifying into gold, flower, cotton and clothing.
Interest in Fairtrade products continues to grow, with annual sales reaching over 1 billion euros across the world in 2017. The U.K. saw Fairtrade sales progress by 7% in the same period.
About 8 million people around the world directly benefit from Fairtrade, farmers, workers and their families. The producers regroup in cooperatives and benefit from a guaranteed minimum price, which protects them from international market speculation. They also receive a Fairtrade premium, which each cooperative invests as it sees fit to benefit the community.
However, Fairtrade organisations are keen to develop the involvement of women as producers – currently only 25% of producers are female, often reflecting laws or traditions that prevent women from landowning. The theme of the quinzaine du commerce équitable this year is gender equality.
A number of organisations provide excellent teaching resources which put a human face on the products we take for granted.
Britain’s Fairtrade Fortnight this year put the focus on bananas, the most popular Fairtrade product. These two videos offer two levels of work on the same subject:
The introductory film for Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 introduces the farmers of a Fairtrade banana cooperative in Panama, Coobana. It’s only a minute long and doesn’t have spoken text, only onscreen messages. It introduces the concept of Fairtrade but in a concrete way, with real people.
This longer film on the same cooperative is closer to a documentary, with voiceover in English and interviews with the farmers spoken by interpreters. There is quite a lot of information about the monopoly situation the farmers were in before forming their cooperative, which would be especially rich to discuss with ES students.
> Teaching About Fair Trade
> Teaching about Child Labour