Fairtrade Conference

In a recent e-mailed circular to all of the UK’s Fairtrade licensed businesses, the Fairtrade Foundation said the following:

“On 5 October, we held our annual commercial conference at the Barbican Centre, London.

Kicked off by a lively debate chaired by Sally Uren (Deputy Chief Executive, Forum for the Future) on Fit for a Sustainable Future: How far must business evolve? An afternoon of interactive workshops followed.

Here’s what one of delegates had to say about the day:

We enjoyed it tremendously. Those conferences are like a gold mine of networking contacts for us, not to mention some very stimulating discussion from the panel, the talks and the workshops.Koolskools

We hope to see you all next year.”

Well, we meant what we said! The annual Fairtrade Foundation (FTF) Commercial Conference is just about the most useful event that a new company to the Fairtrade world, like Koolskools, could possibly conceive of.

Every time we attend Fairtrade events we meet new people relevant to what we are trying to achieve as a business, and who can help us better to understand Fairtrade and how it works.

At these fantastic Fairtrade conferences we almost always learn something new too. During our school presentations and in our presentations to UK businesses over the past couple of years we have been informing our audiences that there is no real material difference between Fairtrade cotton and ordinary cotton. The only difference, we have been telling them, is the fact that the people at the very bottom of the textile supply chain who have grown Fairtrade cotton have been paid a fair price for their crop.

Well, we learnt at the Fairtrade cotton workshop (“How Fairtrade is shaping the future of sustainable cotton production”) at the FTF conference that when you buy Fairtrade cotton you will always be guaranteed to receive Grade A cotton, rather than Grade B or C, for example. So we can now qualify that assertion in our presentations by saying that when you buy Fairtrade cotton you can be guaranteed the best cotton on the planet!

We also learnt more at the 5 October FTF conference about the positive environmental aspects of Fairtrade. The Fairtrade system actually includes environmental standards as part of producer certification. The standard requires producers to work to protect the natural environment and make environmental protection a part of farm management. Producers are also encouraged to minimize the use of energy, especially energy from non-renewable sources.

As many of our Koolskools friends know, by purchasing Fairtrade products shoppers in the UK are ensuring that producer organisations receive a Fairtrade premium for investment in economic, social and environmental products of their own choice. These premiums can enable farmers to implement a range of environmental protection programmes which will contribute to the range of solutions needed to address climate change and ultimately benefit all of us.

So by choosing Fairtrade products, you can help producers preserve their own environment as well as have a positive social benefit in their community. Another great reason to make that Fairtrade choice!

Koolskools will certainly be making an early booking for a seat at the 2012 conference!

If you want to read more about Fairtrade then do please visit the Foundation’s website .

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