Sales of Fairtrade goods fell last year for the first time in two decades, according to statistics released earlier this week by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Retail analysts have put the dip of 4% down to shoppers heading to cheaper supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl.
Laura Fraser of the Camden Fairtrade Network told City Vibe that paying a little more for food is a small move that could make a huge difference. But with supermarkets offering cheaper alternatives, should we be shelling out extra for products with a Fairtrade logo?
Q&A with Laura Fraser from Camden Fairtrade
City Vibe: Why does Camden need Fairtrade status?
Laura: It shows publically that Camden is taking practical action to make a difference globally through businesses, the council, procurement, schools and education. Having Fairtrade status recognises publically that Camden has achieved that and is making progress to improve the situation. There is a community of people who are working in Camden collaboratively to ensure that trade can be made fair through the things that we buy, and to help alleviate poverty globally.
City Vibe: What does it mean for products to carry the logo?
Laura: For people looking out for ethically sourced products the logo guarantees that the trade has been fair. There is an element of trust: you can trust the product has been traded fairly and that the producers have been treated in good working conditions. Without that mark you might have to do further research. How can you guarantee these things otherwise?
City Vibe: Do our choices in the supermarket make a difference?
Laura: I would encourage people that their little bit does make a really big difference. By the everyday products that you buy you are changing lives on the other side of the world. We are part of a bigger picture: all of the small things we do make a really big difference collaboratively for the farmers and the producers in the different countries.
City Vibe: Does the Fairtrade logo mean we are paying out extra?
Laura: I think sometimes you have to pay a little bit extra to ensure that the farmers receive Fairtrade minimum price. However if you look at bananas, because there is such a huge demand for Fairtrade bananas in places like supermarkets, the price difference between those with the Fairtrade mark and those without is little to none.
City Vibe: What’s planned for Camden during Fairtrade fortnight?
Laura: For Camden we want to kick start our new action plan. We are working on a renewal of our Fairtrade status in the coming months. We want to get more involved with schools and universities so we encourage people to get in contact with us. We want to raise more awareness about some pf the key Fairtrade products such as cocoa, sugar, coffee and tea – and how buying these products can make such a difference to farmer’s lives.
Do you buy Fairtrade? Let us know in the poll below, comment or tweet us at @cityviberadio
Fairtrade fortnights run until the 8th March.