About the event
Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual event held to raise awareness about the importance of ethical trade and promote fair trade products. The event is an opportunity for consumers to learn more about the importance of fair trade and the positive impact it can have on the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries.
The fortnight includes a variety of activities and events, such as educational workshops, product tastings, and fair trade markets. Participants are invited to think about the future of our trade networks and how through what we buy we can encourage the development of a kinder fairer world.
How to approach it
Introducing students to the Fair Trade movement is a great opportunity to explore introductory economic concepts like where we get food and products from or what corporations and international trade is. This can be made simpler or more complex depending on age, but students should be introduced to the idea that the food we eat and the things we use are made by people all over the world.
Next, introduce students to some of the problems our modern, globalised markets have. They may have ideas themselves, or you can prompt them by talking about how people are paid less in certain countries or that with less labour protections foreign working conditions may be much worse. You could suggest some explanations as to why this is such as companies searching out the cheapest possible way to make products, consumers not knowing enough about where their products come from or governments failing to regulate international and national trade properly.
Finally, show that Fair Trade is the beginning of a solution to this. Fair Trade makes sure workers are paid properly and it takes into account working conditions and whether these are good enough. Importantly, show that Fair Trade provides a model for how all trade should be handled. Ask students, if you were a farmer or factory worker how would you like to be treated? Help them to imagine and discuss what a fair system could look like.
Have you heard of the Fairtrade mark? You can find it on food, drinks and other products. Fairtrade ensures that the people who grow and make things - from coffee to vegetables to socks - are treated well and paid properly. This week see how many Fairtrade products you can spot in your local shop.