I’ve been involved with the Fairtrade movement for many years and have been buying Fairtrade for even longer. It really is the most simple thing you can do on a daily basis that will benefit people miles away. I admire people who can avoid tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate etc but I can’t (and I can’t grow most them in London) so I feel I need to make sure that my purchases for what are essentially luxury items don’t adversely affect the farmers and growers.
The products I’m most passionate about are those that have additional benefits to the producers where they own shares in the company. Supermarket own brand Fairtrade products are better than non-Fairtrade (ie. potentially unfair products) but the ones I really support are those small and special companies like:
Divine Chocolate (www.divinechocolate.com ): The cocoa farmers and growers own 45% of the company so they get their Fairtrade price for every kg of cocoa, they get their community Fairtrade premium (usually spent on projects like schools, infrastructure, healthcare) and if the company makes a profit they get a share. My favourite Divine products are their Dark Chocolate with Raspberry, and their Dark Chocolate Coated Mango Pieces. I actually love everything they make. Their website has some amazing recipes.
Zaytoun Olive Oil and other products (www.zaytoun.org ) : I love this company. They have been working with Palestinian farmers for many years and now have a range of Fairtrade and Organic certified prodcuts. Their goal is ‘Enabling marginalised Palestinian olive farmers to access new markets.’ and they now have a range of products. I love all of them but my particular favourites are the olive oil (which I use everyday) and the Medjoul dates.
CafeDirect (www.cafedirect.co.uk ): Another farmer owned company who have produced some of the first Fairtrade products in the UK. I really loved their Gold tea (which has now been discontinued) and their everyday tea. I love their Machu Pichu organic and Fairtrade coffee and their espresso beans.