Firstly I would like to thank committee members and officers for their support through the year. We are a small team but loyal to the vision of Fairtrade.
Following our success in achieving the renewal of our City Fairtrade status in 2016, this year has been one of consolidation and seeking to carry forward our plans for growth. The Executive Committee remains small and significant national events have impinged on available time.
Fairtrade Fortnight(27 February to 12 March) was marked by several events in the city:-
- The Mayor, Councillor Jane Rutter, kindly invited us to hold a Fairtrade tea and raffle at Abbey House; those attending were also offered tours of Abbey House. Some children from Compton All Saints C of E Primary School were there to help serve. Proceeds went to the Mayor’s charities.
- Arrangements were made for Taysir Abasi of Zaytoun to give a talk, Fairtrade for Palestinian Farmers, at St Peter’s Pastoral Centre; sadly he was unable to come due to serious ill-health at the last minute, too late to cancel the event; in fact we had a very pleasant informal discussion about Fairtrade issues, and were promised priority if we wished to book Taysir for another date.
- The University arranged an excellent Fairtrade Fashion Show which attracted wide support (and an amazing selection of raffle prizes).
- The Network also supported events organised by others: Snowdrop Saturday at Twyford, a pancake event at the United Church, a Big Brew at St Mark’s, Oliver’s Battery, attended by our MP, Steve Brine, and Fairtrade stalls at the United Church and (as a first) at Christchurch.
- A Fairtrade Breakfast at Compton school raised £145; they kindly donated this sum to the Network and it will be used to produce a leaflet about Fairtrade in Winchester.
- We continue to be disappointed at our failure to encourage the supermarkets to take a more active part in promoting the Fortnight and by Sainsbury’s recent ‘pilot’ of replacing Fairtrade Red label tea with ‘fairly traded’ tea. We wrote to the CX to put forward the benefits of Fairtrade.
County-wide and national bodies.
Hampshire Fairtrade Network, which had been unable to arrange an AGM in 2016, successfully held one at Havant this year, at which the City Network was represented; a new chair and treasurer were elected. There was a most useful talk by Adam Gardner of the Fairtrade Foundation about current concerns on Fairtrade, shared by the Foundation and the various supporter groups. There was widespread agreement that the greatest of these was moves by certain companies and supermarkets to introduce their own version of ‘fairly traded’ items in place of the internationally recognised and externally validated Fairtrade Mark. There was also concern about the impact of new trading arrangements following Brexit on our partners in the developing world.
The Universitycontinues to be a flagship for Fairtrade principles and practices, and we are extremely grateful for the inspirational support of its vice-chancellor Joy Carter and our own member, Dave Morton, including in providing meeting places. We were, however, disappointed to learn that the ‘real life events’ within the Events Management curriculum, which for several years had enabled students to organise and carry out events in Fairtrade Fortnight, have been discontinued.
- We will produce the leaflet referred to above, in conjunction with King’s school.
- I will be attending the Fairtrade Conference in October and coming back with new ideas and enthusiasm.
- We will continue to support Fairtrade events organised by churches and other bodies, including helping to staff the United Church’s Fairtrade shop on Wednesday mornings. We are also helping to publicise a Fairtrade Day organised by Christchurch; the growing involvement of this large and influential parish in Fairtrade support is very welcome.
- We remain very concerned about the move by Sainsbury’s to introduce its own ‘fairly traded’ system as referred to above and will campaign locally and nationally to encourage the supermarket to reverse this step and build further on its deserved reputation as the premium seller of Fairtrade goods.
- We will continue to work with other like-minded groups on issues such as climate change.
We remain committed to working to extend our Fairtrade City status from the historic city to the whole City Council area and will work with City Councillors and Officers to achieve this.