There are over 600 Fairtrade Communities in the UK, which include Fairtrade Towns, Fairtrade Cities, Fairtrade Boroughs, Fairtrade Zones and Fairtrade Islands(!).
This Fairtrade Fortnight (and beyond), Owens Coffee is proud to support the town of Ivybridge in a campaign for the town to regain its Fairtrade Town status. We are doing this in partnership with Fairtrade Devon and Devon Development Education.
This important initiative promotes ethical and sustainable business practices and encourages local businesses to support Fairtrade products and the Fairtrade system.
What is the impact of Fairtrade on the ground?
Owens Coffee's Liz had the opportunity to see the impact first-hand when she travelled to Rwanda in 2022 and met with the female President of the Twongerekawa Coko coffee cooperative in Gakenke, Madam Thérèse Nyrangwabije, and the cooperative's Manager Vincent Nsengiyumva, as well as some of the members of the cooperative. The cooperative grows the Jabulani coffee beans, roasted by Owens.
During the visit, Liz asked Thérèse why they chose to be Fairtrade certified. The immediate (and somewhat surprising) response did not relate to prices or money (although these are significant benefits to all involved). It was the "quality of the advice given."
The advice provided by the Fairtrade organisation has helped the cooperative improve crops, grow more crops, and subsequently grow and diversify revenue across the entire membership of over 250 farmers.
As a result of the guidance provided by Fairtrade, the cooperative has created a training farm to demonstrate to its members the best practices specific to their land and growing conditions. This has enabled the farmers to increase yields and improve the quality of their coffee, resulting in better prices for their products both now and in the future (as well as helping to improve this delicious, specialty-graded coffee available for our customers, of course!).
The Fairtrade Premium has also significantly impacted the lives of the farmers in the cooperative. They have used this to invest in projects that benefit their community. As an example, this includes an initiative to educate members on managing budgets and finances. Every family now pays their healthcare insurance premiums on time, covering them for 90% of their healthcare costs. If they previously missed a payment, they would be responsible for 100% of the costs of healthcare provision.
The educational work of the Fairtrade organisation, its volunteers, and its communities helps to raise awareness and inform consumers of the importance of fair prices and fair conditions across the globe. This educational work also informs the general public of how the future looks for the growers of some of our favourite produce, including coffee, bananas, chocolate and more.
This means more people look for the Fairtrade certification and purchase Fairtrade goods. And this ensures fair prices and the continued growth and distribution of the Fairtrade Premium.
By supporting Fairtrade, we can help to promote ethical and sustainable business practices, improve the quality of life for farmers and their families, and contribute to the development of communities worldwide.
Owens Coffee's support for Ivybridge to regain its Fairtrade Town status is an important local initiative. By promoting Fairtrade products and practices, we encourage other businesses and community groups to do the same. This helps promote ethical and sustainable business practices, promotes social justice, and contributes to the development of communities.
As customers of Owens Coffee, you already support Fairtrade products and practices as our coffee range is 100% Fairtrade certified.
How to find out more about Fairtrade communities, get involved and support Fairtrade
1) If you are local to Ivybridge and interested in becoming involved in the Ivybridge Fairtrade Town group, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
2) If you are elsewhere in the country and interested in becoming involved in your nearest Fairtrade community, find more information here
3) Consider switching to products where you see the Fairtrade certification symbol. If you'd like to start with our coffee range - you can purchase our coffee here
4) Find out more about the story behind the Jabulani coffee beans from its roots in the Motherland to the community it is supporting in its homeland here in the UK - go to Jabulani coffee, and scroll down the page to watch a 25-minute documentary about the journey from crop to cup.