New Fairtrade Label
Fairtrade International has launched a scheme that will allow manufacturers to display the Fairtrade logo when a single ingredient meets the criteria, whereas current restrictions require them to buy all components on Fairtrade terms.
The commodity-based sourcing scheme is designed to encourage manufacturers to buy more Fairtrade cocoa, sugar and cotton. Fairtrade Sourcing Programs enable manufacturers to bulk-buy a single commodity as Fairtrade, whereas the Fairtrade Mark requires them to buy all the ingredients or components they can on Fairtrade terms.
Under the scheme, products will carry a different Fairtrade label, with a white background and a description of the commodity. The deals will benefit existing and new Fairtrade cocoa farmers in Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic and Peru, increasing Fairtrade cocoa sales sixfold in Germany in 2014 and delivering 14% growth to Fairtrade cocoa farmers worldwide, by close to 6,000 metric tonnes. More info here
& Co-Op Fairtrade Success
From next month all of the cocoa that Co-op buys for its own-brand products will be Fairtrade!That’s because Co-op has promised to source 100 per cent of its cocoa from Fairtrade farmers. That’s right, when you buy any Co-op product with cocoa in it, you’ll know that farmers are getting a fairer, sweeter deal.
In west Africa, where most of the world’s cocoa is grown, many farmers are earning less than £1 a day and are struggling to provide for their families. At the same time climate change is causing rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall, making it even more challenging for them to grow high quality cocoa.
But thanks to Co-op’s new commitment thousands of farmers can now look forward to a brighter, more secure future. They’ll receive an extra £350,000 a year in Fairtrade Premium to invest in their farms and communities, for example in training to help them better care for their cocoa trees and adapt to climate change.
TTIP: what is it & why worry?
The EU soon intends to sign two far-reaching trade agreements: one with Canada (CETA = Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and one with the USA (TTIP = Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The official line is that this will create jobs and increase economic growth. However, the beneficiaries of these agreements are not in fact citizens, but big corporations It has led to such injustices as in Germany where Swedish energy company Vattenfall is suing the German government for billions of dollars over its decision to phase out nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Here we see a public health policy put into place by a democratically elected government being threatened by an energy giant because of a potential loss of profit. Nothing could be more cynically anti-democratic*.
What is the problem?
- Foreign investors (i.e. Canadian and US companies) receive the right to sue for damages if they believe that they have suffered losses because of laws of the EU/ individual EU member states. This can also affect laws which were enacted in the interest of the common good, such as environmental and consumer protection.
- Representatives of big business are invited to participate in expert groups to influence new draft laws, even before these are discussed in the elected parliaments. This undermines democracy!
- Big business had, and still has, excessive influence during the secret negotiations relating to CETA and TTIP. The negotiations are conducted in secret. Even our public representatives know little if anything about their progress.
- Employee rights are coming under pressure, and jobs in numerous industries are endangered.
- Once privatised, it would be more difficult to re-nationalise public utilities, hospitals, or waste collection to the public sector because of TTIP.
- The EU and its member states are falling under pressure to allow risky technologies such as fracking or GM technology.
- Foodstuff standards and consumer protection for cosmetics and medical products threaten to be set at the same levels as US standards. However, we need higher rather than lower standards of protection, whether they apply to the use of pesticides, factory farming, or clean sources of energy. Regulatory cooperation and ISDS would make this more difficult or impossible.
Find out who supports no TTIP here http://www.nottip.org.uk/
Short video about it here
*From The Independent article here.
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E-Campaigns are a quick and easy way to protest about issues and join thousands of others in making your voice heard.
Click on the panels to find out more about each campaign and take action.
Stop Human Trafficking in Chocolate & Fashion
Over a third of the cocoa that produces the world's chocolate comes from the Cote D'Ivoire, Africa. Much of this work is done by children.
Thousands of boys as young as 10 years old, are trafficked from countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso to pick and harvest cocoa beans for no pay.
Mondelez International is the largest chocolate company in the world (owners of the Cadbury, Milka and Toblerone brands to name just a few!)
Take action to end trafficking within the cocoa supply chain
Similarly, in the fashion industry 200,000 young women and girls are trafficked to work in factories spinning, weaving and dying cotton in Tamil Nadu, India. They are forced to work for 12 hours a day for 6 days a week or more. As young as 14 they have limited contact with their families, are rarely allowed outside the factory walls and work in dangerous conditions. Many never receive the money they have been promised.
Most retailers do not know, or do not want to say, where the cotton that makes our clothes comes from. As consumers, we can change this. SIgn the peition here, addressed to the biggest fashion brands.
Make Brexit Fair
Millions of people in the world's poorest countries rely on trade with the UK. In fact, we currently import around £34 billion worth of goods from developing countries every year.
For these farmers and workers, Brexit could be make or break. It could create tougher trading conditions and push producers into poverty. Or it could be when we deliver truly fair trade that helps our economy grow strongly and sustainably while working to end poverty too.
Right now, in the rush to trigger Article 50 and begin Brexit negotiations, vulnerable and voiceless farmers and workers from the poorest countries could easily be forgotten.
EU measures currently mean many farmers from the poorest countries do not have to pay tax to import their produce into the UK. If equivalent ones aren’t put in place by our government, the moment we leave these farmers could face a £1 billion import tax bill.
Trade decisions our government make now could have catastrophic or catalytic consequences. That’s why it’s crucial we educate our MPs as they have the power to scrutinise proposals, protect producers and ensure we secure the best deal for everyone through negotiations that are transparent and accountable.
Email your MP now and educate them on what’s at stake.
Refund Scheme for Plastic Bottle Waste
16 million plastic bottles are thrown away every day in the UK. Many of them end up in our oceans - killing marine life and threatening fragile ecosystems.
Deposit return schemes work by placing a small deposit on a plastic bottle, which you get back when you return it. The more bottles that are returned, the more can be re-used or recycled - reducing the amount that end up as litter, in our oceans and in landfill.
We need to take action to stem the flow of plastic into our oceans. Sign now to show your support for a nationwide deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.
Click here to email your support
CAFOD: bring power to the poorest
Take action today - One in five people don't have access to the energy they need. You can help to change this. Write to your MP to call on the UK government to bring power to the poorest people overseas.
Divest the Vatican
Join us in asking the Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust to commit now to divesting from the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years and to immediately freeze any new investments in those companies.
Add your voice here, in partnership with 350.org & The Guardian
Divest the Vatican
With the encyclical Pope Francis has chosen to stand with the people who fight for justice and a sustainable planet.
Ask Pope Francis to make divestment part of his moral argument. Sign the petition here
Drop the Debt on Mozambique
In 2013 Credit Suisse and VTB lent $1.1 billion to two publicly-owned companies in Mozambique from their offices in London.
Details of the loans were not made public, and they were never approved by Mozambique’s parliament – in direct contravention of the country’s constitution.
Civil society groups in Mozambique have condemned the loans as ‘illegal’, called for prosecutions of officials and say the people of Mozambique should refuse to pay. But because the loans were made in London, the banks could try and use London courts to demand repayment plus interest.
Please tell Credit Suisse and VTB to drop these secret debts. Click here
Save the Bees
Join the generation that saves our bees
Our bees are in crisis.
Without them, our environment and economy - including our food - are in trouble too. We need them to pollinate our fruit and vegetables - it would cost farmers £1.8 billion a year to hand pollinate crops.
And right now, they need us to help save them.
Here in the UK, bees are facing many dangers such as:
Toxic neonicotinoid pesticides,
You can help protect our bees, and stop bee decline.
Help ban bee-harming
Sign the petition here.