Fairtrade Fortnight and the Westminster Fairtrade Diocese Campaign 2017

Westminster Justice and Peace are pleased to announce that there are now 95 parishes in the diocese signed up to Fairtrade, and in partnership with CAFOD we are pressing on to become a Fairtrade diocese.

Holborn Fairtrade

We organised two important talks during Fairtrade Fortnight on Brexit and its implications for trade justice. Mary Milne in Hitchin and Emilie Schultze in Holborn, Campaigns team for the Traidcraft company, explained that leaving the EU will probably mean leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union, so that all trade negotiations will need to be renegotiated. Around £34billions’ worth of goods are imported by the UK from Less Developed Countries (LDCs), including not only fresh fruit and vegetables, but also more importantly, clothing and footwear. One-third of Belize’s exports reach the UK, along with 23% from Mauritius, and 10% from Bangladesh.

There are currently some good deals in place with LDCs and Europe, including one entitled ‘Everything but arms’, involving no tariffs. Less favourable is the Economic Partnership Agreement, which imposes bilateral conditions. If our government does nothing, a colossal £1billion extra taxes will be imposed by the World Trade Organisation on goods coming in. The Traidcraft speakers used the example of a group of grandmothers in Malawi caring for their grandchildren and running the Black Mamba chutney enterprise. Their prices would increase by 7 1/2 % and the niche Traidcraft market would inevitably sell less.

Possible advantages in leaving the EU could include ‘taking back control’ and giving countries a better deal. Kenya exports a large quantity of raw coffee beans but only 5% of roasted with a target of increasing to 10%. The more they process, the more they will have to pay in higher tariffs.

Parish representatives wanted to know why countries had such vulnerable economies, dependent on one commodity only, such as coffee, flowers or bananas, and it was explained that as well as an importer, Traidcraft as a charity was able to help small farmers to develop and diversify. Markets were often complicated, with other European countries having their own trading patterns.

Traidcraft begged the churches to raise this issue vigorously with our MPs and other groups; government is currently focussing on main suppliers and buyers in lead countries such as China, the US and Australia. The LDCs stand a good chance of being forgotten. Traidcraft has a card-signing campaign at the moment, for sending to our MPs, and some were distributed at the talks. Those who want to get involved should contact Traidcraft’s campaign office in South London: Traidcraft London Office (Campaigns), +44 (0) 203 752 5720 , 2.12 The Foundry, 17-19 Oval Way, London, SE11 5RR

Justice and Peace wants parishes to sign up to Fairtrade so as to support small farmers and producers such as the Black Mamba group to develop their own communities.

For further information contact:

Westminster Justice and Peace at justice@rcdow.org.uk

0208 888 4222

Trade Justice, Brexit, and Fairtrade Fortnight 2017

Holborn Fairtrade

We had good cause for celebration during Fairtrade Fortnight this year, when the theme was ‘It’s time to put Fairtrade in your break’. We now have 95 parishes signed up to Fairtrade – out of 214 comprising our diocese. Supporting Fairtrade means giving producers from small farms and cooperatives a fair price for their goods, and a chance to improve their lives.

Justice and Peace held 2 gatherings, at St Cecilia and St Anselms in Holborn and at Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrews in Hitchin, on the theme of ‘Free Trade and Fairtrade – Towards trade justice in the Post-Brexit era’. The speakers, Mary Milne and Emilie Schultze, from the development organisation, Traidcraft, explained how many new trade deals would have to be negotiated after Brexit, and that the poorer countries were a long way down the UK’s list of priorities. It is up to supporters to campaign on their behalf, they argued, so that Brexit does not mean that even more cards are stacked against them in the international trade scene.

Traidcraft is the organisation which many parishes order from when they run a stall, and Marion Hill, a ‘Fairtrade trader’ from St Dominic’s parish kindly ran a stall offering their goods. Traidcraft, explained Emilie Schultze, is not only an importing company, but also a charity which supports growers and producers to develop their goods and communities. It is currently running a card campaign to encourage us to contact our MPs and raise the issue of justice for the small farmers who produce the Fairtrade goods we buy, whether at a church stall or in the supermarket.

St John Vianney’s organised a cake sale early in the Fortnight, and raised £300 for fairtrade producers.

If your parish has not signed up, do get in touch and we can send you a pack telling you what is needed.

Sudbury and Fulham Confirmation Groups celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade workshop (2)

Justice and Peace held a Fairtrade workshop on Saturday to mark the annual Fairtrade Fortnight. Volunteer Anne Lamont and new Justice and Peace youth worker Edmund Dean led an afternoon exploring the reasons Fairtrade is important. Whether it’s tea plantations in Malawi or bananas in the Windward Islands, the young people understood what a difference their choices make in the supermarket. Solving poverty is not just a question of handing money over as charity. It’s paying a fair price for someone else’s hard work. Anne pointed out that supermarkets only stock what we ask for. We need to ask for Fairtrade in our supermarkets.

Go Bananas for Fair Trade!

bananasWe are delighted to announce that Banana producer representative Alexis Palacios from Colombia  will launch the Westminster Diocesan Fairtrade Fortnight celebration on Saturday March 1st 2014 at Holy Apostles Pimlico church.

The Fairtrade Foundation campaign this year seeks to make all  760,000 tonnes of bananas in the UK Fairtrade.  Westminster Justice and Peace meanwhile is trying to persuade all the diocesan parishes to register with Fairtrade, to give the message that they want trade justice for banana growers and all other workers and producers in less developed countries.

This great Fairtrade Fortnight occasion, chaired by Bishop John Arnold, will celebrate the 85 or so Westminster parishes signed up so far, more than any other Catholic diocese in England and Wales. To be a Fairtrade diocese we need another 20 or so parishes to sign up.  There will be a chance to find out how to do this and to obtain our new ‘Fairtrade Spoons’  campaign resource.

As well as meeting  Alexis Palacios, parish promoters will hear from Bishop John, Chair of CAFOD, as to why CAFOD supports Fairtrade, from Sophi Tranchell, managing director of Divine Chocolate and Chair of Fairtrade London, and from Mike Gidney, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, who will explain the importance of Fairtrade to global trade justice.

Holy Apostles Justice and Peace group will offer a ‘blind tasting’ of Fairtrade and other teas and coffees, to check whether we can really tell the difference!

All are welcome at this free event, but please book as places are limited.