Fairtrade Fortnight is in full swing! And it offers an excellent time to learn more about the benefits of Fairtrade for farmers, the environment and your own health. Taking place from 25 February – 10 March this year, the annual awareness event is an excellent reason to assess your buying habits and see if you could make some changes, both for your health and your pocket.
What is Fairtrade?
The Fairtrade Foundation was founded in 1992, and while you might have heard a lot about it back then, now is a good time for a refresher. Fairtrade aims to provide farmers with better working conditions, fair prices and trade deals that champion local sustainability. Fairtrade products include coffee, tea and chocolate, and you’ll find many of them in your local supermarket. They’re easily distinguished by the now widely recognised Fairtrade logo, signifying high-quality items that ensure a fair deal for those who produce them.
About Fairtrade Fortnight
Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual campaign which provides the chance to celebrate those who grow food across the world, who often face low wages and poor working conditions. This year’s campaign, in particular, will focus on the women who grow the cocoa we use in our chocolate.
Fairtrade Fortnight is a fantastic initiative that can help us remember to choose more responsibly when we shop. But can it help to improve health and wellbeing too?
The benefits of buying Fairtrade
Buying Fairtrade has a number of benefits that you might not be familiar with, including:
It ensures a fair price for farmers
Farmers across the world grow items like cocoa, coffee and bananas – products we consume every day. However, they are often exploited by large companies and aren’t given a fair price for their hard work. Fairtrade works to ensure that farmers are given fair prices for the items they produce.
It helps to set standards
By working with companies and the communities that produce our food, Fairtrade ensures that economic, social and environmental standards are in place – this includes making sure that workers have rights and that the environment is protected. Companies who work with Fairtrade have to pay the Fairtrade Minimum Price, as well as a premium which is used to fund community projects to help make a difference.
Checks ensure high-quality products
Fairtrade carries out checks on its products to ensure that they meet certain standards, and it is only then that they are given the Fairtrade mark. Unlike some businesses that mass produce their products without providing fair prices and working conditions, you can be assured that the Fairtrade stamp signifies quality.
Sustainability has become an increasing concern across the world. Fairtrade is working with companies to think harder about sustainability. Companies will have their sustainability schemes checked by Fairtrade to ensure they meet their required standards, and follow their values.
They help the environment
Fairtrade puts many standards in place to ensure that production by farmers is done in a way that helps protect the environment. Fairtrade products are not genetically modified and they use minimal amounts of agrochemicals to grow and maintain products. Farmers are encouraged to monitor their environmental impact, as well as look at ways to reduce it.
Why is Fairtrade more expensive?
Many people shy away from buying Fairtrade products because they feel that they are more expensive than the other items you’d find on the supermarket shelf. However, ask yourself whether the items are more expensive, or are you paying a fair price? You’d pay more in a restaurant for food that is high-quality and meets a certain standard because you think it’s a fair price to pay, so why shouldn’t the food you buy in the shops be the same?
There are a lot of Fairtrade products you can buy that don’t include well-known products like coffee, bananas and chocolate. There is Fairtrade cotton, gold, flowers, herbs, cereals, sugar, wine and beauty products that can all help make a difference to farmers across the world.
You can save money on buying Fairtrade products by keeping an eye out for special deals at the supermarket as it’s the store that will make less money from the sale, and not the farmers. It’s also worth comparing the weights of the products you’re buying to see which ones offer the most value for money. You might find that there are several Fairtrade products that offer better value than others during your weekly shop.
Could supporting Fairtrade Fortnight be better for your health?
Buying Fairtrade products not only help ensure that workers across the world are given a fair price and better working conditions, but they could also benefit your health. With the reduction in chemicals, as well as the lack of GM ingredients, you could be making a healthier choice when choosing Fairtrade. If you’re looking for more natural items, produced without any added artificial ingredients, then many Fairtrade items offer this. Combine Fairtrade ingredients with cooking from scratch, and buying organic and you could make a number of healthier food swaps that will benefit your health and keep your weight down in the long term.
A lot of people buy organic food products as a way of looking after their health. Many of the benefits of choosing organic produce include knowing that your food is free from pesticides and that antibiotics haven’t been used in their production. Many Fairtrade products are organic, which can provide added benefits compared to your more typical supermarket products.
While Fairtrade can seem like an added expense, making savings in other areas can help make up for it and level your shopping bill out. The extra cost is marginal when you think of the various benefits it offers, particularly in relation to your health.
It’s your health that is most important to us here at ESMI. We want to help you invest in your short-term and long-term health. By thinking more carefully about the foods you buy and consume can be a great place to start. After all, a healthy lifestyle, supported by a balanced diet and plenty of exercise is important not just for now but your future health as well. So why not make a special effort this Fairtrade Fortnight and find out more about the Fairtrade products that are available to you?
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