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Five Steps To Change The World – Fairtrade Fortnight Blog

We asked “How do you Go Further for Fairtrade and Change the World?” Here, Elizabeth Norman from the Oxfam Youth Board answer’s:

 

This fair trade fortnight I want to share the five simple things I do to try and further fair trade in my own life, to help remind and inspire us all that although it might often feel like we lack the power to change the world, there are simple things we can do to help make it a fairer place for everyone.

 

 1.       Research

It sounds simply but I am a firm believer in the idea that knowledge is power. By spending a couple of minutes researching how my decision to buy a certain product can either negatively or positively impact on those who supply it, I always feel in a better position to make a choice I feel comfortable with.

 

 2.       Evangelise

I am constantly spreading the fair trade message according to my friends and family. I believe that although one person’s decision to shop in a certain way might not change the world, our voices and our knowledge can, because they help others to make more informed choices. As collective consumers we can have a real impact, as the growth in the fair trade movement over the last ten years has really shown.

 

 3.       Shop aware

By knowing which companies own which products and being aware of how their business practices run I know where my money is going and the business models I am supporting. There are certain brands I no longer buy, and others that I try to avoid whenever possible. On the flip side there are companies I love and try and support. I am a big believe in shopping locally when I can, I am lucky enough to have a brilliant market in the town I live in which has the freshest locally grown products. Along with this I live right up the road from a Sainsbury’s who stock most of my favourite fair trade products – including peanut butter and basmati rice, both of which I struggle to find fairly traded elsewhere.

 

 4.       Support Fair Trade Fortnight

I love fair trade fortnight and I love supporting it, through social media, partaking in challenges and organising really great event which help to spread the fair trade message. Whilst studying for my undergraduate degree at the University of Hertfordshire I worked for the Environment and Fair Trade Team and helped to plan a number of different events for fair trade fortnight – including a fully booked fair trade wine tasting and a fair trade fashion show. Both events dealt with the important issue of poverty and economic entitlement, but at the same time they showed how easy it can be to make a difference – and that small, easy lifestyle changes can truly help to change the lives of others.

 

5.       Support the IF campaign

 This is the big one for me at the moment, because the IF campaign is all about the fair trade message – especially when it comes to organisations paying tax in the countries they are operating in and companies being transparent about how they operate. If these issues were addressed, then hopefully one day we won’t need the fair trade branding. I know it is optimistic and people may call me crazy, but I believe in a world where everyone is paid a fair wage, where consumers have the power to change how companies operate when they disagree with their practices, where transparency can stamp out some of the issues that lead to hard working people being impoverished.

 

I know sometimes it might not feel like any of us who try and shop fairly aren’t doing much to change the world – but we are. Even if our power to change things is only limited to a few actions, it is still power and we still have the choice and opportunity to do something to make a better world, which I truly believe is an achievable aim. So maybe next time you have a crisis of confidence and you don’t feel like you’re doing enough for fair trade, why not go through these five steps and see how many you can tick off – because I can guarantee if you’re reading this you’ll already be doing something to go further for fair trade.

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