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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Archbishop's Fairtrade AvatarArchbishop Helps Lead March On Parliament In Support Of Small Farmers

Thousands of mini marchers, including an avatar of the Archbishop of York, led a march on Parliament calling for David Cameron to do more to protect smallholder farmers from trade injustice.
Marking the second week of Fairtrade Fortnight (25th February – 10thMarch 2013), the marchers asked the government to put smallholder farmers at the heart of its trade policy ahead of the G8 summit in June. Estimates show that small farmers grow around 70% of the world’s food, yet only receive an average of 3% of the retail price once their produce hits the supermarket shelves. The Fairtrade system helps provide these farmers with a fairer price for their produce, and a chance for a better livelihood for themselves and their families.

The final petition will be delivered to David Cameron at World Fair Trade Day in May 2013 before the G8 meeting in June. For further information visit the Fairtrade Foundation

Yorkshire - the UK's First Fairtrade Region

In January 2013, Yorkshire was declared the UK's first Fairtrade Region.  The declaration marks the culmination of three years' work by campaigners and traders across Yorkshire, and recognises the enormous support for Fairtrade across the region.

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York said: “I want to congratulate Yorkshire on becoming the UK’s first Fairtrade region – when it comes to issues of fairness, Yorkshire is always at the centre leading the way! We should be very proud of our past and hopeful for our future. 

“Having witnessed the results of Fairtrade for myself when I visited the Ivory Coast in 2009, I know that the simple choices we make in the supermarkets have a massive effect on improving the lives of those that live overseas. Workers should get a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, regardless of wherever they live in the world.”

The success of Fairtrade products has been a phenomenon, defying the downturn and growing to sales worth £1.32bn across the UK in 2011. By providing a guaranteed minimum price for products, Fairtrade provides dignity and security to producers and helps communities lift themselves out of poverty all over the developing world. Over 4,500 products are now bear the Fairtrade Mark, which is certified by an international network of foundations.

A Fairtrade Mark for British Produce

In July 2012, the Archbishop called for British farmers to be paid a fair wage for their produce, saying that supermarkets were not valuing the contribution the agricultural sector makes to national life.

Dr John Sentamu said British consumers, aided and abetted by supermarkets, were paying too little for their food and claimed that cheap imports are making it difficult for the country’s farmers to earn a decent living.  The Archbishop, an advocate of British farming, said he regularly visited farms and found he was often being told the same thing – that prices are too low. He also maintained that Britain’s uplands communities, such as the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, would fall into ruin without the presence of farmers. But he said upland farmers were often the most economically disadvantaged.

Fairtrade - A Quiet Revolution

Writing in the Yorkshire Post in March 2012, the Archbishop outlined the quiet revolution of Fairtrade, our change in shopping habits and the need to work harder to raise the standards of living of those in cocoa growing areas.  In the last 20 years there has been a quiet revolution in the UK.   On corner shop shelves and along supermarket aisles a new trademark has appeared.  At first it was printed on a couple of brands of chocolate and coffee, but today there are more than 4,500 products licensed to carry the Fairtrade Mark.  British shoppers are now actively looking for it because they know that by choosing these goods they can improve the lot of people on the other side of the world eager to work their way out of poverty. 

In 2009 the Archbishop visited the Ivory Coast to see the impact Fairtrade chocolate here was having on disadvantaged cocoa farmers there.  It’s a country ground down by poverty and riven by conflict.  Life expectancy and literacy are low.  Until recently prices paid for raw materials were dictated by distant buyers and took no account of the plight of the producers.   In his article, the Archbishop wrote "There’s not a lot of difference between that and slave labour.  I saw with my own eyes the great potential for change evident in the few local farmers’ cooperatives that had opted into Fairtrade.  In places where there had never been schools, the cooperatives were able, with the help of the Fairtrade premium, to create elementary education for their children. Similarly, one of the Co-ops I visited had used the money to build a health centre serving local workers and their families. Meanwhile Nestlé’s Research and Development Facility was providing improved cocoa plants, investing in the productivity of local farms, and thus ensuring substantially increasing yields and surpluses for local people.  The Fairtrade Foundation played a key role in brokering the agreement with Nestlé which resulted in the new four finger KitKat.  Its wrapper bears the image of Mr Kouame Fasseri, from the Kavokiva Co-op on the Ivory Coast.  

"Having witnessed the results of a Fairtrade agreement for myself, I could see that was only the beginning: the challenge of reforming the whole cocoa industry in Ivory Coast, rather than simply creating small pockets of good practice, is immense. Since my visit the Ivorian cocoa trade  has been in the spotlight. The ongoing challenge of combating child labour and child trafficking continues, and investment in alternatives, in local schools and in strategies to address the root causes of these practices, will remain a priority of responsible business for years to come. When you travel to these places you realise there is much more to trading fairly than a label. One day we sat in a room full of workers from another co-op whose problem was getting their cocoa to the depot so they could sell it at decent prices. It was far too tempting for these smallholders, when the middlemen came round with their lorries offering ready cash, to accept the money simply because it was cash in hand.  If UK Fairtrade partners were really serious about wanting to help, it was said, they would step in do more to ensure that transport was in place to enable farmers to sell their crop at a decent price and at the right time. Of course logistical arrangements like this take a while to get established, and in Ivory Coast course civil war and its aftermath has not helped – but this illustrates the breadth of intervention which may be required to enable Fairtrade truly to flourish. The aim has to be that the whole market is reformed, not just pockets of excellence. That would be responsible capitalism.

"I want to see the giants in the cocoa industry working harder and harder to raise the standards of living of their partners in cocoa growing areas. I believe the commitment is there, and I understand that change like this takes time, but the sooner we see more action, the better. When you think we have been importing cocoa from West Africa for more than a hundred years, it is extraordinary how meagre is the growers’ share of the profit, and what little benefit is enjoyed by their communities, despite the crucial role they play."

To read the full article.

Archbishop Welcomes Fairtrade KitKat

In December 2009, the Archbishop attended the launch of the Fairtrade Kit Kat at Nestle's factory in York.  Dr Sentamu met with David Rennie (Managing Director of Nestle Confectionary), and Harriet Lamb (Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation) to oversee the production of the first Fairtrade version of the UK's favourite chocolate biscuit. At the launch, Dr Sentamu said:

"I can remember 2 years ago saying that Nestle should make their chocolate Fairtrade, and many people in York stood up to support the campaign for Fairtrade justice. So when I heard that Nestle was making Kit Kat Fairtrade, I simply said 'Wow!'. It goes to show that people can make a difference.

"The fact that Nestle have listened to local campaigners and invested considerable time, effort and financial support to make this Fairtrade biscuit a reality is fantastic news.

"I have visited the workers at the co-operative in the Ivory Coast who will benefit from Kit Kat four-finger bar becoming Fairtrade, and I know that this is a real step forward in giving them the justice, recognition and pay they deserve"