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Punitha & Ankita, two of our wonderful colleagues at our Fairtrade factory in India
– March 8th, 2017. Nick: LGR Founder –
I’m on my fifth cup of Fairtrade coffee today. I help a lot of coffee growers this way! We’re in the middle of Fairtrade fortnight and it reminds me of why we do this.
Farmers are the poorest of the poor. They do not know what they will earn that year, whether it will cover their costs and give them enough left over to feed their family, even maybe enough to support their children in education.
Back in 2005 Little Green Radicals was one of a select group of companies in the UK who got Fairtrade cotton certification when it launched. I’m pretty sure we are the only children’s fashion company from that time that still proudly carriers the Fairtrade mark.
So what does it mean? For the farmers it provides a guaranteed price plus a premium, whatever the market price, that goes to the community. So if the market price takes a dive, farmers have a much higher level of security than in the conventional market. And the premium is used to support the community. It might be building a school, or a well, but little by little Fairtrade farmers see an improvement in their livelihood.
The Fairtrade mark on cotton also guarantees Labour standards throughout the supply chain, including the factory.
I haven’t been out to visit Faitrade cotton farmers for a while but it’s a humbling experience. You can feel slightly embarrassed when they start making speeches in your honour and, of course, you have to make one too, which is always well received even if it is not understood. It seems a bit over the top and you try to explain that its no big deal. But it is a big deal to them, a very big deal.
Nick – LGR Founder