Calls for more industry support for Fairtrade

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 16th October 2009

On the eve of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ) today urged big business to continue the fight against poverty through Fairtrade.

FTAANZ Operations Manager, Cameron Neil, called on businesses across the nation to make the change and be part of making poverty history for the almost 2 billion people globally for whom that is a daily reality.

“Simple changes in the workplace, such as switching to Fairtrade Certified tea and coffee in the staffroom, can make a huge difference to the everyday lives of developing country farmers and their families,” Mr Neil said. “Not only does it mean these farmers can grow and develop their business but they can send their kids to school, build roads and ensure access to better health care in their communities.”

As part of Anti-Poverty Week, FTAANZ awarded Fair Trade Workplace status to National Australia Bank (NAB) following the Bank’s switch across all its offices and branches to Fairtrade Certified coffee and tea, and its commitment to promote fair trade to its staff and customers.

Using business procurement company Corporate Express, NAB now offers instant ground coffee from Jasper Coffee as well as Scarborough Fair black and green teas in all workplace staffrooms and canteens.

“Corporate Express is proud to be a Fair Trade Workplace and to be taking an active part in the fight against poverty by helping other businesses and organisations across Australia to do the same when it comes to ordering products for their workplaces,” Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Jennifer Williams, said.
Beyond workplace choices, FTAANZ is also hoping support for Fairtrade ingredients from the food industry will continue to surge. Steadily the food industry is embracing the movement, with Cadbury’s decision to ensure their Dairy Milk chocolate is Fairtrade certified a sign of Fairtrade’s progression from niche to mainstream.

Last year, Fairtrade sales soared 80% in Australia, albeit off a low base, as businesses respond to consumer concerns. Indeed, a recent UK survey showed that the majority (52%) of shoppers feel that the pay and conditions of people producing their groceries in poorer countries is an important consideration, while an additional third (34%) would like these workers to enjoy good conditions even if they don’t normally think about it. Critically, a report* recently released by the US Government highlighted the alarming extent of forced and child labour seen in food production around the world.

* The report can be read here and a story about it will hopefully appear on Australian Food News in the coming week.