The following transcript is taken from a Facebook post from BAFTS’ member, Fair to Trade, many of whose Christmas decorations come from the Kashmir region of India. We are saddened to read of increased long-term hardships for producers and artisans working with our suppliers.
“Kashmir, and its capital Srinagar where our papier-mâché producer is based, has seen terrible flooding over the past week claiming over 200 lives. While waters are receding, some 400,000 people are still stranded in the state and food and water supplies are running low.
This morning we heard for the first time in over a week from our producer and wanted to share his story. He writes:
“It has been our second birth. I am sure you must be seeing News but you can’t even imagine what it was, It was like Tsunami and we didn’t even get any time to move. We have never ever witnessed such a devastating floods.
I have been trying to get in touch with all the artisans and raw material suppliers. Though I have not been able to get through all the RM suppliers especially places wherein the floods was severe but thankfully most are safe. One of my RM supplier namely Mehrajudin, his entire property and goods is completely submerged in water. The artisans who work on the production are all safe but have been impacted in some or other way with these floods. The situation still remains grim although it is improving. The loss of lives and property has been severe. The connectivity is still not fully restored.
Our shop in the Central Market is completely submerged in water. It carried Paper mache and everything is gone. It is located in one of the main cities of Srinager and the water level there was 15ft.
We have not been able to move everywhere as 80% of the roads are damaged and are still under water. Will send you the pictures once road connectivity is restored. It will probably will take close 7-8 days to restore things and gauge the exact loss and impact on everything. I will keep you updated.”
Please see the PDF attached explaining how one of our BAFTS’ members, Fairtrade at St. Michael’s, has given away profits as a social enterprise. Read about who benefited and what they have done with their donations. This is a very inspiring read!
Fairtrade at St Michaels £10,000 Press release (2)
Please read this very engaging and informative Newsletter about the achievements on one of our members, Kerala Crafts www.keralacrafts.co.uk. Not only have they won a Gold Award in the South West Fairtrade Business Awards, for ‘Best Fairtrade Retailer – Multiple Products’ , but they exceeded their Crowd funding aim to help buy sewing machines to continue allowing women in India, often the sole breadwinners, to produce fairtrade knickers too!
We are delighted to announce a BAFTS REGIONAL SOCIAL for LONDON and SOUTH EAST on Wednesday 13th August 2014 6pm to 9pm (ish!) arranged by Laura Cave of Just Trade (UK) Ltd.
at Westbourne Grove Church, Westbourne Grove (corner of Ledbury Road) Notting Hill, London, W11 2RW
- Nearest Tube Notting Hill Gate (Central Line) or Westbourne Park (Hammersmith and City)
- The meeting is open to all Fair Trade retailers and suppliers / importers
- BAFTS members and non-members are all welcome
- Please pass this invitation on to anyone who might be interested
- Feel free to come when you can, for all or part of the evening
Please RSVP or direct any questions to Laura Cave from Just Trade …..Laura@JustTrade.co.uk
Laura says “Following on from the AGM and Conference we thought a BAFTS / Fair Trade get together over the summer was long overdue! It will be an informal evening with a chance to catch up with and meet other BAFTS members and those involved in Fair Trade wholesale and retail. It’s an opportunity to discuss how we can support each other and explore if it would be worth doing some kind of Pop-Up event / market in the Church Venue Space in the future – it’s a great building in a great location!
The community at Westbourne Grove Church have always been massively supportive of Just Trade and they have kindly agreed to lend us their beautiful building for the evening on Wednesday 13th August. To keep the financial and organisational burden to a minimum, please bring a bottle / bottles (!) of something you would like to drink and some simple buffet style finger food / snacks to share. We will provide Teas, Coffee and Water.
Finally ….. I think it’s safe to say we all have the odd sample / product that we have been sent from our wonderful producers or suppliers that didn’t quite work out the way we expected, or was packed in a strange way ….. Please bring an example / examples / photograph of the most random thing you have been sent for show and tell!”
We do hope that you will support this event where possible! It sounds like the makings of a great evening!!
Please see the attached PDF about the current crisis in Palestine, which is based upon information from one of our suppliers, Hadeel, and on news from agencies and some of their producer groups and contacts in Gaza and the West Bank. It is vital that we continue to support producers in Palestine more than ever.
Palestine Newsletter July 2014
We are delighted to announce that we have already secured a venue for next year’s AGM and Annual Conference and are thrilled at the prospect! Please note the date and venue in your diaries for updates as and when they happen.
We have booked St. Martin’s House, Leicester, http://www.stmartinshouse.com/ on Sunday 17th and Monday 18th May 2015 and are looking forward to planning our event in more detail. Many thanks to Kerry from Just the Fair Trade Shop, Leicester, for her suggestion! St. Martin’s House is next door to, and integrally supports, the life and work of Leicester Cathedral, and the shop in reception has some fairly-traded snacks. In fact, we have secured an agreement to only have Fairtrade drinks served for our event.
We do hope that this will whet your appetite for another exciting and informative meeting.
The exciting news has come through that Bristol is hosting the International Fair Trade Towns’ Conference on 4-5th July 2015 at The Bristol Conference Centre. Jenny Foster, Bristol and South West Fairtrade Coordinator says of the event:
‘Next year is cause for double celebrations across the city. As well as Bristol being crowned the 2015 European Green Capital, it also marks a decade since Bristol became a Fairtrade City. We’re so excited to be hosting this Conference and hope we can demonstrate to the world that Fairtrade makes sense within the context of ethical business, green issues and sustainability’.
To read the full article, click on “Bristol” above. BAFTS hopes to be represented at the Conference.
Please watch this amazing video compiled for Fairtrade Yorkshire to celebrate the Tour de France starting tomorrow, but also to highlight the continued need to “break the cycle” of poverty by supporting Fair Trade. This is a very clever and fun compilation!!
On Wednesday 25 June I joined representatives of retail and trade justice organisations in the Members’ Dining Room of the Houses of Parliament for afternoon tea. We had been invited by the Fairtrade Foundation and the Ethical Trading Initiative to a panel discussion chaired by Baroness Young of Hornsey.
I’d never been inside the Houses of Parliament before and as a self-confessed political geek I found it exhilarating to be inside Pugin’s iconic building. Despite the presence of tourists and invited guests milling around, there is an eerie hush as you move through corridors lined with leather benches and stained glass windows. The Members’ Dining Room has a magnificent view over the river Thames and its plush surroundings provided a rather jarring counterpoint to our discussion about the difficulties faced by workers in the developing world.
Baroness Young opened the debate by talking about the Rana Plaza disaster and the recent reports of slavery in the Thai prawn fishing industry, to indicate that workers’ rights are at the forefront of many consumers’ minds.
The Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, Jenny Willott described the statistics produced by the department showing 83% of consumers think it is important for retailers to have an ethical policy and 40% of consumers would change their buying behaviour in response to a company’s ethics. She said she was shocked that many of the retailers whose clothes were made by factories in the Rana Plaza complex were not even aware that this was part of their supply chain, and forcing companies to examine and be accountable for their supply chain was the best way to ensure such a disaster did not happen again. Ms Willott argued that transparency was the best way to harness the power of both consumers and shareholders to choose to take their business and investment elsewhere.
Giles Bolton, Tesco’s Head of Ethical Trading Policy said that trade was the most sustainable way out of poverty and that millions of Chinese had been raised out of poverty due to multinational companies moving production there. He talked about the recent reports of slavery in the Thai prawn industry and stated that Tesco had learned an important lesson about reducing supply chains in order to ensure traceability. Baroness Young added that it sometimes felt like journalists were the only people willing to trace supply chains and wondered why it was so hard for companies to do the same work as journalists.
Chief Adam Tampuri, Chair of Fairtrade Africa, and a cashew nut farmer from Ghana concentrated on the ways in which Fairtrade benefits farmers and their communities. He explained how empowered his community feels when given the opportunity to decide how the Fairtrade premium is spent, and that they really value feedback from all stages of the supply chain so they can build better businesses. He stressed the importance of investment not just in farmers but in moving all aspects of the production process to the developing world so that more and better jobs are created and so that farmers’ children are no longer reliant on one industry, giving them more choices.
In short, then: transparency; no forced labour; capacity building – three of the Ten Principles of Fair Trade which underpin everything BAFTS hopes to achieve.
Working in fair trade for almost ten years now I have heard these arguments many times before but I came away from this meeting pleased that trade justice issues were being raised in such a high profile place and with so many mainstream retailers present. As well as Tesco I noticed representatives from Waitrose, M&S, New Look and H&M as well as committed Fairtrade brands like Divine chocolate and many more. Maybe it’s time for ethical trade to move out of the margins and into the mainstream
Please see the below poster about an event from Nov 2-11th 2014; an across-India Cycle ride in aid of orphans and street children.
Cross India Challenge Brief Pack