Fair play for Fairtrade farmers at the London 2012 Olympic Games

by ClickGreen staff. Published Mon 04 Jun 2012 10:08
Fairtrade boost at this year's London Olympics
Fairtrade boost at this year's London Olympics

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the ‘fairest’ games ever, as millions of visitors will be served Fairtrade certified tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, bananas, wine and oranges across all locations, helping to support farmers, workers and their communities in developing countries.

An estimated 10 million Fairtrade bananas from the Windward Islands and South America will be eaten, 7.5 million cups of Fairtrade tea served, 14 million cups of coffee carrying the Fairtrade Mark drunk, and 10 million Fairtrade certified sachets of sugar grown by sugar farmers in Belize enjoyed.

This equates to an estimated Fairtrade premium of £100,000 that will be generated over the six week period of the Games for communities in developing countries to invest in social, environmental and economic developmental projects, such as sports fields, schools, clean water drinking holes and medical clinics.

Banana farmer Moses Renee from the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA) which was established in 1982 to promote the social and economic welfare of small-scale farmers is looking forward to his bananas being eaten at London 2012.

He said: “Not only will communities like mine be benefiting from the extra sales and Fairtrade premium, but by choosing to source from Fairtrade which trades with farmers from developing countries on more equal terms, LOCOG are sending out a positive message about the changing the way we trade to include small holders like myself.”

Team GB athlete, javelin thrower Goldie Sayers, 29, recently visited Thandi, a black worker owned wine co-operative in Cape Town, South Africa, to see first-hand the positive difference Fairtrade makes.

Thandi has 55% black ownership consisting of 250 families over three farms in which they have majority ownership. She said: “I support Fairtrade because it encourages fairer terms and sustainability for farmers and workers in the developing world. The benefit of being an athlete is that you get to travel and get a perspective that others may not have. In South Africa, I saw and heard the difference getting a fair price makes and was lucky enough to visit a Fairtrade premium funded community sports field.” Other Team GB athletes supporting Fairtrade include Hepathlete Louise Hazel, and Swimmers Jemma Lowe and Georgia Davies,

The decision to serve Fairtrade food is part of the London 2012 Food Vision, which sets the sustainability standards for catering at the event, during which around 14 million meals will be served.

The Fairtrade Foundation is a member of Sustain, an alliance of NGOs and not-for-profit organisations which has been advocating that the 2012 Games food promotes health and sustainability, wins new business for sustainable producers, and creates an important food legacy.

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation said: “Fairtrade is all about creating a level playing field for smallholders and workers in global trade – so the London 2012 Olympics is the perfect opportunity to help farmers to build a sustainable future. By asking the catering industry to source Fairtrade certified products, LOCOG have set new standards for the catering industry for not just this iconic event but future major events – quite a legacy.”

London is also the World’s largest Fairtrade City, an accolade gained in 2008. This means that across the capital, 20 boroughs have Fairtrade status and have met the five Fairtrade goals, including council support for Fairtrade and availability of Fairtrade products in retail and catering outlets. Five of these boroughs are London 2012 Host boroughs. Across London, almost 1,000 retailers and 600 catering outlets now sell a range of products which carry the famous FAIRTRADE Mark, including iconic London institutions like the Barbican, the British Library,the Horniman Museum, the London Eye, the National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall, St Martin in the Fields and the Houses of Parliament.

Sophi Tranchell, Chair of the Fairtrade London Steering Committee said: ‘There will be many financial and cultural benefits to London staging the Olympic Games and it is a positive step that the organising committee recognises that helping farmers, producers and growers in developing countries in this way will share some of the rewards with those who need it most. The 2012 Olympics/Paralympics will be a great opportunity to showcase this commitment to the rest of the world. This visibility may persuade our visitors to do more on Fairtrade and what a legacy that would be!”’

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