UK overseas aid budget to boost Fairtrade

07 July 2009

Fairtrade Foundation welcomes DFID White Paper: Eliminating World Poverty

The Fairtrade Foundation welcomes the significant investment in fair and ethical trade announced in a White Paper unveiled by Secretary of State Douglas Alexander in the House of Commons on 6 July 2009. In the White Paper, the Department for International Development (DFID), as part of a rebranded UKaid programme, says it is quadrupling funding to promote fair and ethical trade.

‘This welcome investment means that the Fairtrade Foundation will be able to expand our work with the hardest to reach producers in the lowest income countries and in conflict zones, and increase further the range of Fairtrade products,’ says Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation. ‘We are delighted that the UK Government is recognising Fairtrade as a route to help communities build more sustainable livelihoods, and acknowledging how the public’s shopping choices can contribute to development. This is a vote of confidence in Fairtrade which will be welcomed by millions of Fairtrade supporters who have campaigned tirelessly for Fairtrade, by farmers and workers, traders and those businesses who have helped put Fairtrade on our shop shelves.’  

‘In the current economic climate, it’s the poorest communities who are hit the hardest, and so positive business models like Fairtrade, which deliver increased development benefits from trade, are more important than ever,’ says Harriet.

The White Paper says: ‘Fair and ethical trade is a powerful way to boost business standards, to ensure working conditions are decent, producers and workers are paid a fair price for their products and to allow millions of individual consumers in the UK and worldwide to make a daily contribution to development.’  The Fairtrade Foundation welcomes this acknowledgement that development is about more than just aid and that the way that we live our lives in the UK must be considered as an integral part of a development strategy.

Through the White Paper, the Government also commits to supporting fair trade through its procurement:  ‘Last year the Office for Government Commerce published guidance on how government departments can support fair trade through public procurement, consistent with EU procurement directives. This includes making clear in advertisements that fair trade options are welcome and, where the winning tender is able to provide fair trade options, stipulating that they should be provided.’

The Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International, of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member, also welcomes the White Paper as an example of best practice, setting the pace for other donor countries.

“We applaud the fact that the Government is showing such leadership in funding Fairtrade and also encouraging Government departments to support Fairtrade through procurement”, says Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member.  “We hope other international governments, the funding consortium for FLO, examine what the UK Government is doing and follow their lead in recognising that there is an urgent need in these difficult global economic times to speed up the pace of change through Fairtrade.”  

The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label – which first appeared in the UK only in 1994 – is now recognised by 70% of UK consumers and appears on over 4,500 retail and catering products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. Today, over 5 million people – farmers, workers and their families – across 59 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system. Almost 18 million UK households bought Fairtrade goods in 2008.

While the Fairtrade Foundation welcomes other positive trends in the White Paper in particular increased support to agriculture, the organisation will continue to push the Government to ensure that all aspects of the global trade system are fair and supportive of development.

– ENDS –

For more information, images or interviews, contact the Fairtrade Foundation press office:

Eileen Maybin
Head of Media Relations
020 7440 7686/07770 957 451
eileen.maybin@fairtrade.org.uk

Martine Julseth
Media and PR Manager
020 7440 7695/07825 827 791
martine.julseth@fairtrade.org.uk
 
Faith Mall
Media and PR Manager
020 7440 8597/07766 504 947
faith.mall@fairtrade.org.uk

 
Notes to Editors

  • In February 2008, DFID announced a grant of £1.2 million over two years to Fairtrade Labelling International. The Fairtrade Foundation has been able to use some of this government investment to kickstart its ambitious new five-year strategy (Tipping the Balance 2008-2012) which aims to double the UK market for Fairtrade products to £1 billion pounds by 2010 and to £2 billion by 2012.  DFID also made a grant of £240,356 in 2006 to help fund the Fairtrade Foundation’s Fairtrade Schools Initiative over a three and a half year period.
  • Between 1999 and March 2009, DFID provided grants totalling £2.6m to Fairtrade Labelling for a variety of activities, including new product development, awareness raising and promotion of Fairtrade to the out of home sector.
 
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