Not too late to celebrate Fairtrade

Fairtrade Fortnight started on February 26th and closes on March 11th.  So it is not too late to celebrate!  Although we were very disappointed that Sainsburys have abandoned the Fairtrade label for their own brands, you can still find some Fairtrade tea in the higher end category, Taste the Difference, as well as the various filter coffees.  Sainsburys have, in the face of the tea protests, perhaps, committed to keeping their Fairtrade bananas, which is excellent news for the small Windward Islands such as St Lucia and Dominica.   Aldi’s and Lidl have some great Fairtrade chocolate, and Waitrose continue their Fairtrade commitment.

Barbara Kentish, Cropped 3-1

Here in the Westminster Diocese, we can count an amazing 103 parishes which have signed up to Fairtrade justice for producers.  They serve Fairtrade tea and coffee at parish functions, promote Fairtrade in other ways, and hold an event once a year to celebrate it.  This CAN be during the fortnight, but also can feature at other times.  No time is a bad time to publicise Fairtrade.   With only a handful, FIVE, more parishes, we can qualify to be a Fairtrade diocese. Maybe your parish is on the brink of signing up.  TELL US ABOUT IT!

And if you still haven’t organised a celebration, just have a Sunday  coffee morning or a Saturday tea party.  Other ideas through the year are liturgies, films, talks, games, or cake sales, as in my own parish.

Lobbying: less developed countries are at huge risk as all our trade deals are being renegotiated.  Find out what is happening to tropical products in course of our Brexit negotiations.  Producers of sugar, cotton, metals, cocoa, may all be at even more risk in the months and years to come.  Ask MPs about trade with poorer countries post – Brexit.  Traidcraft have a campaigning department which can help with the facts.  Fairtrade-logo

Fairtrade Fortnight – February 26th to March 11th

We are SO close to being a Fairtrade Diocese!  Out of the 108 parishes needed, we have reached 103.  Could yours be the vital clinching number 108?!  If you are already Fairtrade, don’t forget to organise an event during the fortnight – see below.

Our Big ‘Ask’

Could everyone hold a ‘Big Brew’ during the Fortnight, and send a picture in?  Teaparties or coffee mornings across the diocese using Fairtrade goods, would be a great way to celebrate the diocese’s Fairtrade commitment.   We could collate your pictures on our Facebook page for all to enjoy.   And don’t forget to tweet your pictures with #westminsterbigbrew

Fairtrade Fortnight 2018: Monday 26 February – Sunday 11 March

Along with other good news in the Justice and Peace world, we are delighted to tell you that the diocese is only 7 or 8 parishes short of being eligible to be a Fairtrade Diocese.  For this status, we have to have over half of our parishes signed up to Fairtrade, which they have been doing little by little, over the last few years, by sending their registration forms to CAFOD and receiving a certificate.

We were so pleased to sign up Newman House, the University parish, as number 100, but now need a further few to tip over the halfway mark (there are 214 parishes in the Westminster Diocese).

If your parish IS signed up, thanks so much for being a beacon for trade justice!  Do keep it going.  If NOT, please think of signing up to this international effort to ensure that producers in developing countries get a fair deal.

The Fairtrade Foundation tells us …

‘For hundreds of years, we were taught to serve, to be workers. Now with Fairtrade, we are entrepreneurs’ Marcial Quintero, member of Coobana, a Fairtrade banana co-operative in Panama.

Fairtrade-logoIt’s a scandalous reality that millions of farmers and workers are still being ripped off despite working hard to provide the products we love. Unfairness in global trade is rooted in centuries of exploitation.  Yet across the globe, Marcial and hard-working producers like him are unravelling this legacy.  They’re fighting for a fair deal, supported by Fairtrade, earning their way out of poverty and transforming their communities.

Our Big ‘Ask’

Could everyone hold a ‘Big Brew’ during the Fortnight, and send a picture in?  Teaparties or coffee mornings across the diocese using Fairtrade goods, would be a great way to celebrate the diocese’s  Fairtrade commitment.   We could collate your pictures on our Facebook page for all to enjoy. And don’t forget to tweet your pictures with #westminsterbigbrew.

A big thank you to all who have stuck with this campaign for so long.  Slow and steady ……

Protests at Sainsbury’s AGM in Support of Fairtrade

By Anne Lamont

OXFAM, CAFOD and members of the Justice and Peace Commission took part in an eye-catching stunt to protest at Sainsbury’s very recent abandoning of the ethical Fairtrade label in favour of its own ‘Fairly Traded’ products. The action took place in central London at Sainsbury’s AGM at the Queen Elizabeth Centre and delegates and shareholders were treated to the vision of protesters dressed as teabags requesting that they raise objections at this hastily orchestrated move on the part of Sainsbury’s senior executive body.   The new ‘Fairly Traded’ products which have astonishingly appeared on Sainsbury’s shelves just one month after they announced this move, suggesting the decision is one that has been planned for some time. Sainsbury’s have ignored appeals from African farmers to reconsider this move which they consider will diminish their power and control over their products and place them at a disadvantage.

A online petition has been launched and has won considerable support within a very short period of time from many supporters of Fairtrade outraged at the ‘colonial’ style move on the part of the supermarket (  The stunt received good coverage in the media including an excellent article in The Guardian ( ).


Congratulations to St John Fisher Parish Shepperton, for being Fairtrade Parish number 99 and to Newman House University Chaplaincy for being Fairtrade Parish number 100!! We now need only 8 more parishes to apply for certification as a Fairtrade Diocese. Thanks to Anne Lamont (J&P) and Frances Halliday (CAFOD) for beavering away on this. Keep up the Trade Justice efforts in spite of setbacks from SOME supermarkets!

Fairtrade Fortnight and the Westminster Fairtrade Diocese Campaign 2017

Westminster Justice and Peace are pleased to announce that there are now 95 parishes in the diocese signed up to Fairtrade, and in partnership with CAFOD we are pressing on to become a Fairtrade diocese.

Holborn Fairtrade

We organised two important talks during Fairtrade Fortnight on Brexit and its implications for trade justice. Mary Milne in Hitchin and Emilie Schultze in Holborn, Campaigns team for the Traidcraft company, explained that leaving the EU will probably mean leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union, so that all trade negotiations will need to be renegotiated. Around £34billions’ worth of goods are imported by the UK from Less Developed Countries (LDCs), including not only fresh fruit and vegetables, but also more importantly, clothing and footwear. One-third of Belize’s exports reach the UK, along with 23% from Mauritius, and 10% from Bangladesh.

There are currently some good deals in place with LDCs and Europe, including one entitled ‘Everything but arms’, involving no tariffs. Less favourable is the Economic Partnership Agreement, which imposes bilateral conditions. If our government does nothing, a colossal £1billion extra taxes will be imposed by the World Trade Organisation on goods coming in. The Traidcraft speakers used the example of a group of grandmothers in Malawi caring for their grandchildren and running the Black Mamba chutney enterprise. Their prices would increase by 7 1/2 % and the niche Traidcraft market would inevitably sell less.

Possible advantages in leaving the EU could include ‘taking back control’ and giving countries a better deal. Kenya exports a large quantity of raw coffee beans but only 5% of roasted with a target of increasing to 10%. The more they process, the more they will have to pay in higher tariffs.

Parish representatives wanted to know why countries had such vulnerable economies, dependent on one commodity only, such as coffee, flowers or bananas, and it was explained that as well as an importer, Traidcraft as a charity was able to help small farmers to develop and diversify. Markets were often complicated, with other European countries having their own trading patterns.

Traidcraft begged the churches to raise this issue vigorously with our MPs and other groups; government is currently focussing on main suppliers and buyers in lead countries such as China, the US and Australia. The LDCs stand a good chance of being forgotten. Traidcraft has a card-signing campaign at the moment, for sending to our MPs, and some were distributed at the talks. Those who want to get involved should contact Traidcraft’s campaign office in South London: Traidcraft London Office (Campaigns), +44 (0) 203 752 5720 , 2.12 The Foundry, 17-19 Oval Way, London, SE11 5RR

Justice and Peace wants parishes to sign up to Fairtrade so as to support small farmers and producers such as the Black Mamba group to develop their own communities.

For further information contact:

Westminster Justice and Peace at

0208 888 4222

Trade Justice, Brexit, and Fairtrade Fortnight 2017

Holborn Fairtrade

We had good cause for celebration during Fairtrade Fortnight this year, when the theme was ‘It’s time to put Fairtrade in your break’. We now have 95 parishes signed up to Fairtrade – out of 214 comprising our diocese. Supporting Fairtrade means giving producers from small farms and cooperatives a fair price for their goods, and a chance to improve their lives.

Justice and Peace held 2 gatherings, at St Cecilia and St Anselms in Holborn and at Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrews in Hitchin, on the theme of ‘Free Trade and Fairtrade – Towards trade justice in the Post-Brexit era’. The speakers, Mary Milne and Emilie Schultze, from the development organisation, Traidcraft, explained how many new trade deals would have to be negotiated after Brexit, and that the poorer countries were a long way down the UK’s list of priorities. It is up to supporters to campaign on their behalf, they argued, so that Brexit does not mean that even more cards are stacked against them in the international trade scene.

Traidcraft is the organisation which many parishes order from when they run a stall, and Marion Hill, a ‘Fairtrade trader’ from St Dominic’s parish kindly ran a stall offering their goods. Traidcraft, explained Emilie Schultze, is not only an importing company, but also a charity which supports growers and producers to develop their goods and communities. It is currently running a card campaign to encourage us to contact our MPs and raise the issue of justice for the small farmers who produce the Fairtrade goods we buy, whether at a church stall or in the supermarket.

St John Vianney’s organised a cake sale early in the Fortnight, and raised £300 for fairtrade producers.

If your parish has not signed up, do get in touch and we can send you a pack telling you what is needed.

Sudbury and Fulham Confirmation Groups celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade workshop (2)

Justice and Peace held a Fairtrade workshop on Saturday to mark the annual Fairtrade Fortnight. Volunteer Anne Lamont and new Justice and Peace youth worker Edmund Dean led an afternoon exploring the reasons Fairtrade is important. Whether it’s tea plantations in Malawi or bananas in the Windward Islands, the young people understood what a difference their choices make in the supermarket. Solving poverty is not just a question of handing money over as charity. It’s paying a fair price for someone else’s hard work. Anne pointed out that supermarkets only stock what we ask for. We need to ask for Fairtrade in our supermarkets.

Go Bananas for Fair Trade!

bananasWe are delighted to announce that Banana producer representative Alexis Palacios from Colombia  will launch the Westminster Diocesan Fairtrade Fortnight celebration on Saturday March 1st 2014 at Holy Apostles Pimlico church.

The Fairtrade Foundation campaign this year seeks to make all  760,000 tonnes of bananas in the UK Fairtrade.  Westminster Justice and Peace meanwhile is trying to persuade all the diocesan parishes to register with Fairtrade, to give the message that they want trade justice for banana growers and all other workers and producers in less developed countries.

This great Fairtrade Fortnight occasion, chaired by Bishop John Arnold, will celebrate the 85 or so Westminster parishes signed up so far, more than any other Catholic diocese in England and Wales. To be a Fairtrade diocese we need another 20 or so parishes to sign up.  There will be a chance to find out how to do this and to obtain our new ‘Fairtrade Spoons’  campaign resource.

As well as meeting  Alexis Palacios, parish promoters will hear from Bishop John, Chair of CAFOD, as to why CAFOD supports Fairtrade, from Sophi Tranchell, managing director of Divine Chocolate and Chair of Fairtrade London, and from Mike Gidney, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, who will explain the importance of Fairtrade to global trade justice.

Holy Apostles Justice and Peace group will offer a ‘blind tasting’ of Fairtrade and other teas and coffees, to check whether we can really tell the difference!

All are welcome at this free event, but please book as places are limited.