The Big Swap to Fairtrade

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Fairtrade Fortnight is taking place this term in Weeks Seven and Eight, with various societies on campus aiming to promote ‘The Big Swap’ to Fairtrade products.

‘The Big Swap’ was launched by Fairtrade Foundation, which inspires different community groups across the country to raise awareness of ethical consumerism. As a Fairtrade University, Lancaster has seen many different Fairtrade Fortnight events taking place in the recent past. This year, SPEAK (the Lancaster Christian Justice and Peace Campaigning group), People and Planet and GreenLancaster will be running different campaigns and events throughout the fortnight, to encourage Lancaster students to choose Fairtrade alternatives to their usual goods. The LUSU store will have various offers on Fairtrade items during the fortnight.

Lancaster University Fairtrade Fortnight begins on Monday 22 February at 7:30pm in the Chaplaincy Centre with a film screening of ‘Black Gold’ combined with a Fairtrade wine and cheese evening. ‘Black Gold’ explores the impact of the traditional coffee trade in Ethiopia, and it conveys the incentive for buying coffee at a fair price.

According to Fairtrade Foundation, two billion people in the world survive on less than $2 a day. Fairtrade Fortnight aims to show that this can change through the choices of the individual consumer. Hannah Henderson, President of SPEAK, said: “Everything that we buy has an effect on someone else somewhere in the world. It’s important that we shop consciously, ensuring that where we can that effect is a positive one not a negative one.”

SPEAK and People and Planet will be promoting swapping from Coca-Cola to Ubuntu Fairtrade Cola, which is available in the LUSU store, throughout the fortnight. There will be a stall in Alexandra Square offering free samples of Ubuntu Cola during Week Eight. It is the first cola in the UK to bear the Fairtrade Mark.

GreenLancaster will be reenacting an interactive ‘big trade game’ in Alexandra Square on Thursday 4 March, in order to engage students in the issue of international trade. These events aim to demonstrate the ease of switching to a wide range of Fairtrade products, from clothing to chocolate, which all ensure a fair deal for producers in the global south.

Mr. Ohemeng, Managing Director of Kuapa Kokoo, the cooperative behind Divine Fairtrade chocolate, echoed the motivating factor of ‘The Big Swap’: “We all have to go shopping and Fairtrade is just going shopping with a bit of respect.”

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