Labour & Co-operative Councillors are celebrating 25 years of commitment to Fairtrade.

Our commitment to Fairtrade puts people and planet before financial profit. Fair Trade connects producers and consumers through greater transparency of supply chains. By demonstrating that greater justice in world trade is possible, Fairtrade also seeks to involve citizens in rewriting the rules of trade with the needs of small producers, workers and consumers at their heart.

Awareness of the Fairtrade Mark is at an all-time high, 9 out of 10 people know it and astonishingly 84% of consumers trust. From modest beginnings in 1994, the Fairtrade Mark is now visible on around 5,000 Fairtrade-certified products on sale for people in the UK.

The Fairtrade system in the UK includes over 500 local councils, alongside committed supporters, progressive businesses and thousands of other community groups, who have played a significant role in growing over 1.66 million farmers and workers in more than 70 countries, and catalysing a huge shift in attitudes to ethical purchasing here in the UK.

Global Fairtrade sales last year generated £142 million in a Fairtrade Premium going directly to farmers in 73 countries who invest this money in their communities, increasing business productivity and contributing to the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

But whilst there’s much to celebrate we mustn’t overlook the distance still to go and the majority of exploited farmers and workers who aren’t able to access Fairtrade.

Exploitation remains rampant in global supply chains. More than 40 million people are trapped in modern slavery, including forced labour, and 152 million young people in child labour. Hundreds of millions more are earning less than a living income or wage.

The effects of climate change are becoming more damaging. The imbalance of power in supply chains still squeezes the profits of trade away from the hardworking people who grow the things we rely on. ‘Fairwashing’ is on the rise.

As a Labour and Cooperative Party Councillor, I proposed the 25 year anniversary motion to Lewisham Council this month, recommitting our council to the principles of real Fairtrade. Our co-operative values have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Fairtrade movement for the last 25 years, and in the face of injustice, will continue to do so.