Posted by Sophi:
What a delightful way to start the week! Tea in Downing Street to celebrate 15 years of the Fairtrade Mark. A wonderful collection of everyday heroes who have made Fairtrade what it is today. From Justino Peck from the Toledo Cocoa Growers in Belize, whose story has inspired consumers like Bruce Crowther who made Garstang the first Fairtrade town in the world, spawning a social movement across the western world. There were three 15-year-old campaigners and people from Fairtrade Towns and Cities across UK, and of course Harriet Lamb, the head of the Foundation and lots of her lovely team.
Sarah Brown hosted the event and announced that 10 Downing Street was now officially Fairtrade, a commitment that meant that when they host international dignitaries for events like G20 they will be introduced to the best of Fairtrade. In her speech she acknowledged role of Fairtrade companies like Divine and Cafédirect and described the impact on millions of smallscale farmers across the world.
There was tea, coffee, sandwiches, fruit skewers and a magnificent chocolate cake, but it was the selection of people that really made the event, a roll call for Fairtrade. Representatives from founders’ organisations like Paul from Christian Aid which has a network of committed and active supporters, Deborah from the WDM which has continued to expose the causes of global poverty, Paul from Traidcraft whose network of Fairtraders continue to sell Fairtrade goods tirelessly through rain and snow, Kevin from CAFOD, Tammy for the Women Institute. Louise from Comic Relief which has brought pzazz, celebrity endorsement and money to the party, Brad Hill who helped us get that first Co-op Divine bar on the shelf in 2000 and was part of Co-op brave move to be the first retailer in Britain to convert a whole category to Fairtrade; Chocolate in 2002, followed by coffee in 2003. DFID who supported the establishment of Divine with a loan guarantee and have continued in their unstinting support Fairtrade though out the last ten years. Harry Hill was strutting his stuff, he visited Ghana early on to promote Fairtrade banana, and has now leant his name to Liberation the Fairtrade Nut Company you can try Harry Nuts in Sainsburys
An finally the Innovators who were creative enough to think of a different way of doing business and were brave enough to take the leap; Martin Metyard from the Co-op, Andy Good from Equal Exchange, a fair trade workers co-op whose latest products include Palestinian olive oil available through Sainsbury, and Robin Murray from Twin which founded Cafédirect, Divine and more recently Liberation.
With a capacity of 50 you are never going to include everyone but congratulations to Sarah Brown and the Foundation for a impressive turnout and Happy 15th Birthday!