People often question what difference being a ‘Co-operative Council’ makes. Glasgow City Council has a very interesting answer to that question especially in relation to promoting a fairtrade sports goods co-operative.
The second case study produced by the Co-operative Party as part of its campaign on Ethical and Fair Trade concerns Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange UK was founded in 1979, and Equal Exchange US in 1986. Both are worker co-ops established to create a new approach to trade, a model that engages consumers and builds honest and fair trade relationships through co-operative principles.
As Fairtrade Fortnight continues, we receive offers of more and more promotional material. A particularly welcome item in the post was a DVD from the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign: Coffee - Take It Fairly: Stories of Nicaraguan women fairtrade producers. Three women of Los Alpes near Jinotega, north Nicaragua, members of the SOPPEXCCA co-op, tell their stories.
A few weeks ago the Co-operative Party premiered a new film about global coffee production in a screening at Parliament. The movie, Black Gold, features Tadesse Meskela, the general manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union in Ethopia. Tadesse himself was able to join us and the film makers for the screening in London, as well as a reception at Number 10 and a debate for members with Hilary Benn MP in Wakefield.
Last night Professor Wangari Maathai, Kenyan founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, delivered a lecture at the RSA. She described the journey that took her from being a biologist and activist for women and trees, through to fighting for education, empowerment and democracy.