Chesham: Helping to make Trade fairer

fairtrade town logoChesham has been a Fairtrade Town for 8 years – in fact we were the first town in Buckinghamshire to achieve this status, making us something of a trailblazer. This means that the town meets set criteria to promote and use Fairtrade products.

But why?
Well, just as we in Chesham wish to be paid fairly for the work we do, farmers and producers in developing countries deserve the same. However, farmers in the world’s poorest countries are at the mercy of unstable, global markets, including speculative trading on futures markets. The Fairtrade system helps to protect farmers and producers from this by guaranteeing a minimum price, as well as providing a premium that is invested in social, environmental and economic developmental projects, as decided democratically by the community’s producers and workers. The Fairtrade system means families can plan their futures, and community’s can, for example, build hospitals and schools.

We need more business support
Chesham4Fairtrade is a voluntary organisation set up to promote Fairtrade in Chesham, and is a member of the Chesham Chamber. Despite having been around for years, we still need more uptake of Fairtrade to enable more producers in developing countries access to this fairer system of trading. For example, despite huge brands like Cadbury and Nestle starting to make Fairtrade chocolate, only 1.2% of the world’s cocoa comes through the Fairtrade system. So, there needs to be more demand for Fairtrade products. And this is where you come in! Did you know that you can become a Fairtrade workplace by making a commitment to using Fairtrade?

Join in
There are so many Fairtrade products available, from tea, coffee, sugar and orange juice right through to cotton for uniforms that it’s easy to incorporate it into your everyday working life. Small businesses can probably get most of what they need from a local supermarket, but larger businesses might be interested in the directory of Fairtrade distributors available on http://www.fairtrade.org.uk. The web site also has free resources and lots of information to help with the decision to switch to Fairtrade. It’s a great way of demonstrating your business’ commitment to social responsibility.

There are already a number of Fairtrade workplaces in Chesham, like Murray’s Accounting Services and Newtown Garage – why not join them? If you use Fairtrade, we’d love to hear from you. And Chesham4Fairtrade would be delighted to help you make the switch if Fairtrade is something new for you.

For more information, contact Kathryn Graves by emailing policy@chesham.gov.uk.