Shining a light on Fairtrade: How you can choose the world you want (everyday!)
At Ben & Jerry's, we take fairness seriously. Whether it's how we treat our employees, give back to our community or dream up new flavours for our customers, fairness factors in all that we do! That's why we want to make sure that our farmers get a fair deal too. We support Fairtrade, a worldwide movement working to ensure that small-scale farmers in developing nations can make it in the ultra-competitive global marketplace.
Fairtrade is based on a simple principle: We’re all connected. When you spend money on a Fairtrade product, you are buying your way towards a better world – and voting with your wallet to choose the world you want.
By buying Fairtrade, you can make a difference that’s felt across the globe in your own community.
Take vanilla for example. Vanilla is an essential ingredient in dozens of our favourite flavours. Though most of the world's vanilla is grown in Madagascar, many farmers there are struggling to make a living. As we've seen around the globe, when farms fail, communities often follow. Fairtrade prices help end this cycle. One of the co-ops we work with in Madagascar put their social premiums towards rehabilitating a health centre, repairing a school and building an office. We also work with Fairtrade vanilla farmers in Uganda who have begun to create independent networks that increase their sustainability and maintain their way of life.
Despite the fact that vanilla remains, next to saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, most farmers know nothing but hard work and abject poverty. But with Fairtrade, groups such as the Rwenzori Farmers Cooperative Union in Uganda - has led to stability and prosperity. The community decides democratically how to make use of the Fairtrade premium, which is the “extra” money the co-op receives on top of payment for their crop. Because the government-run schools in their region are sub-par, the farmers use the premium to pay private school fees, believing that an improved education will result in their children having opportunities that they never did.
But the premium has had even farther-reaching benefits like -
- Prosperity and increased collaboration between and within families leading to a noticeable reduction in domestic violence.
- Women in the village have seen their position improve as they take the lead on more and more issues affecting the community.
- Regular training workshops in agricultural techniques and microfinance, for example, further empower women to make their voices heard.
And instead of your money going to the already rich and big companies, it seems to be a no brainer that it goes back to provide a fair wage to the very person that grew it.
Imagine what it would be like if all the things we brought were Fairtrade? Our world would certainly be a whole lot sweeter. By choosing Fairtrade, you are choosing a world where women are respected, where the environment is taken care of and a world where everyone is treated fairly.
This Fairtrade Fortnight (6th of August – 19th of August) know that when you buy products with the Fairtrade Mark (the green and blue symbol you see on each of our pints), you're helping small-scale farmers survive, and even thrive, in the often chaotic and overwhelming global marketplace. Picking up Fairtrade Certified products might seem like a small gesture, but it can make a big difference.
If you want to find out more about the wonderful work of our friends at Fairtrade, learn more about the transformative impact of Fairtrade here. Keep looking for the blue and green symbol and choose to buy for a better world!