Yes, I know this is 'my thing', but I figure me commenting about fairtrade during fairtrade fortnight is kinda like a Christian writing something reflective at Christmas or a Jew writing something religious during Hanukah, so get over it!
So my exciting trip to london included attending the glitzy launch of Fairtrade Fortnight. The event was full of licensees (ie Green and Blacks, Tesco, Ben & Jerry's) and so I felt a bit out of my depth as more of a campaigner, but the speeches were really interesting. Gail Porter, left, was beautifully simple in her description of how fair trade makes a difference, but the evening was largely dominated by Sainsbury's.
As a bit of a fair trade puritan snob this made me more than a little angry. 'We [Traidcraft] bust our ass to make fair trade what it is then Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer's waltz in a steal the limelight... grumble, grumble!'
I reflected on this a little on the way home and once I got off my high-horse I realised what a good thing this mainstreaming is. Sainsbury's are in the process of switching all their bananas to Fairtrade, their currently at 85% and will reach 100% by May. Sainsbury's sell 1,000 bananas a minute. That is a lot of farmers getting a much better deal than before a few consumers started to kick ass requesting fair trade.
There was a feature about all this in Monday's Guardian,
"Yesterday, Caribbean prime ministers who lobbied British government officials for better trade terms, lined up instead to thank Sainsbury's. Sir John Compton, the 82-year-old premier of St Lucia, told Justin King, the head of Sainsbury's: "You have saved the banana farmers of St Lucia."
Roosevelt Skerrit, 35, the youngest prime minister in the world when Dominica voted him in last year, said: "The commitment of the relationship [with Sainsbury's] is unparalleled."
He added: "As a result of fair trade, our farmers are now able to invest in their community in the form of school equipment, farm roads and community facilities."
So inconclusion. Hurrah! The mainstreaming of Fairtrade seems a chuffing good way to MakePovertyHistory.