Why Fairtrade is important to Healthy Investment

Peter Green, Chief Executive of Healthy Investment reflects on why Fairtrade is important to him and the organisation he leads.

It feels like I’ve always had an interest in Fairtrade. Growing up my parents were early adopters of Fairtrade coffee, which frankly might explain my preference for tea. I remember going with the local youth group to lobby outside Tesco for them to stock this new Green and Black Fairtrade chocolate. In my late teens I bought one Nestle share, intent on attending their AGM to question them on the ethics of formula milk. I didn’t realise where they were actually holding their AGM. 

Despite Fairtrade becoming much more mainstream and much better understood and thankfully the coffee getting much better, if not some of the best you can buy, I was surprised at some of push backs I got when we first talked about making the office a Fairtrade zone.

We finally settled on one brand of coffee from Ethical Superstore with Co-op’s Fairtrade instant a back up when we unexpectedly run out. There were concerns it would cost more and that we would start impeding on personal choice.

Thankfully we’ve successfully implemented a policy whereby any refreshments we provide for staff and visitors bears the Fairtrade kite mark. When we provide food, we’ll try whenever possible to buy fairly traded fruit and snacks. When we send flowers to a team member following an illness or to a stakeholder who’s gone above and beyond we make sure they are Fairtrade. We’re exploring the options for other fairly traded products like paper.

We believe being an ethical provider is so much more than caring for our planet.

We want to ensure that the farmers throughout the world who’ve produced the food and drink we take for granted are paid a fair price for their produce. We need to empower some of the poorest people in the world, especially women farmers, so that they know how to stand up for themselves. We need to tackle the imbalance of power in supply chains and build communities that are resilient to the effects of climate change.

Changing the tea and coffee we use at the office and buying Fairtrade bananas for the Board’s lunch isn’t going to change the world, but it will through the purchases we make and the awareness we raise make a small difference. A lot of small differences can make a big difference.

There’s lots of really interesting material on the Fairtrade website which explains much better than I can why Fairtrade is important and the difference it can make to some of the world’s most vulnerable. And if you’ve never tried Divine Fairtrade chocolate then you really are missing out.

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