Followers of our marketing calendar for coffee businesses will, no doubt, already have marked down in their diaries, in block capitals, FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT. Yes? No? It should be… For those who haven’t looked into it, Fairtrade Fortnight is a two-week celebration of the source of ethical products from developing nations. We hope you’re serving only Fairtrade coffee in your coffee shops, restaurants, bars and businesses, as it’s the only existing way of being sure that the producers are getting enough money to survive and sustain their businesses and families. Quite simply, if you’re not serving Fairtrade, it’s possible you’re buying products which exploit the producers. A sobering thought.
Of course, it’s not just coffee that can be certified by Fairtrade; your chocolate, sugar, tea, fresh fruit and veg, rice, nuts, seeds and spices, and even wine, depending on the country of origin. More and more – thankfully – the British public waking up to the need to make ethical, sustainable choices in their food and drink.
But that only happens through public awareness. Which is where Fairtrade Fortnight comes in. It takes place from Monday 25th February to Sunday 10th March. You can play your part by helping with the publicity, which the Fairtrade organisation makes really easy. Just head to the digital resources page, where you’ll find stacks of digital and print assets, including images formulated especially for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, posters, a recipe book for baking and an action guide to help you do more.
Helping to drive up awareness makes a huge difference for farmers. And, less altruistically, it makes a difference for your business too. It’s an opportunity to stand out from local competitors, many of whom may either not source from Fairtrade sellers, or who may not be on top of their marketing.
It could even be that this year matters more than most. A no-deal Brexit scenario could lead to import duty on roasted coffee. As it is, a series of EU agreements in South and Central America and Africa means zero tariffs on green coffee and roasted coffee. Only roasted coffee from Indonesia, at 2.6%, and Brazil, at 7.5%, face any tariffs when arriving in the EU and being onward-shipped to the UK. Not only would no-deal disrupt supply for UK coffee buyers, but there would, at least initially, be tariffs on coffee entering the UK. While there’s little we can do to influence what happens next, what we can do is continue to promote Fairtrade among the British public, which in turn places pressure on the government to live up to promises on transparency in trade negotiations and on rolling over duty-free and quota-free access for coffee-producing countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.
So, make this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight a big deal with your local community. Head to Fairtrade’s resources area to find out more.