World Fair Trade Day Blog post – May 2016
Author: Lucy Rogers
May 14th is World Fair Trade Day. It is a day, promoted by the World Fair Trade Organisation, to celebrate the contribution fair trade makes to fighting poverty and providing a just and ethical working environment. This year the slogan for the day is ‘Be an Agent for Change’.
Zaytoun is an example of such an agent for change. Zaytoun is a social enterprise and community interest company formed in 2004 to support Palestinian farmers by creating a market for their produce in the UK. The founders of Zaytoun were concerned that Palestinian farmers were facing increasing difficulties in accessing their land and in transporting and selling their produce for a fair price. Starting with olive oil, volunteers found customers in the UK who were willing to pay for their purchase before it was shipped to the UK. The enthusiastic response from UK consumers helped enabled Zaytoun to work with the Palestinian farmers for Fairtrade and Organic certification. In 2009 Zaytoun olive oil became the first olive oil to carry the Fairtrade logo. In 2016 the Ethical Consumer rated Zaytoun’s olive oil as a best buy because of its organic and Fairtrade status. The Zaytoun range now includes other artisan produced goods, which are distributed through a network of wholesalers, shops and other outlets.
Not many of us have the opportunity to be agents for change on such a grand scale. But every time we purchase a fairly traded product we become part of the story of change. We no longer need to pay before our olive oil is shipped from the Palestinian farmers, but there is no doubt that by purchasing Zaytoun’s olive oil we are still directly contributing to the fragile livelihood of Palestinian families.