Fairtrade is a great way to relieve poverty overseas – Fairtrade in Guernsey

July 5th, 2010 by Phil Soulsby

Phil Soulsby of the Mundi Group Ltd. was invited to give a talk on his work to promote Fair Trade in Guernsey as part of the “Meeting Point” series of talks in the Town church.

Phil Soulsby holds two Fairtrade items he brought to the Meeting Point Town Church presentation - a motorbike made in Zimbabwe from recycled telephone wire, and a car made in Madagascar from recycled tin cans

These are his notes from the talk he gave on 2 July 2010.

The aim of Fairtrade is to treat suppliers, staff, customers, and the environment fairly, and with respect to ensure a fair deal for all.

From the beginning we wanted the Mundi Group Ltd to be a Triple Bottom Line company to take into account social, environmental and financial values.

Our social responsibility includes support for the local community by working with local schools and churches.

We wish to be an environmentally aware company, which is why we use biodegradable and compostable alternatives to plastic.  We engage in comprehensive recycling for our businesses and also personally.   We promote sustainable living.  As part of our environmental commitment we launched an island-wide battery recycling initiative.

The Mundi Group Ltd. comprises three stores, one at Guernsey Airport, one on Grande Rue in St. Martin, and a new one in the grounds of Sausmarez Manor.  We also have an internet trading website.  As part of our service we provide regular deliveries to offices, cafés, and restaurants.   We are fortunate to have excellent staff who support our goals.

Brands we like include Traidcraft, Divine Chocolate, Cafédirect, and Equal Exchange.  We are one of the top 15 UK customers of Traidcraft, and we spend £1000 per month purchasing tea and coffee from Cafédirect. 

Fair Trade supports the equitable treatment of suppliers.  Fair Trade products must be produced in safe working conditions, with respectable wages, and without the use of child labour.  Fairtrade has a rigourous set of auditable standards.  Fair trade is a Standards and certification body for the Fairtrade movement.   It is more organisation based and self-governing through the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and member bodies such as The British Association of Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS UK).

Many Fairtrade products produced in developing countries provide a living for people without the need to exploit the environment.  For example, in Madagascar people make products out of recycled material such as tin cans.

The mundi group Ltd. sell Kazuri Jewellery from Kenya. Kazuri employs disenfranchised women.  Employment gives the women status and a route back into society.   Crafts people previously operating on a subsistence basis are making Fair Trade handbags and scarves, which gives them a reliable income.

We sell Mondomundi brand coffee, which is the first local product to carry the Fairtrade mark.

Fairtrade Guernsey is a an active steering group set-up by Steve Mauger and currently chaired by Nicky Terry.  Steve Mauger is currently the secretaty.

The Fairtrade Guernsey Steering Group welcomes new members.  The organisation meets most months to co-ordinate activities, to increase support, and to educate.

The Fairtrade Guernsey Steering Group website lists Fairtrade supporters and where to buy Fairtrade products.  The website is developing a list of hotels and cafés and restaurant that use Fairtrade products.  The site has a blog, which welcomes contributions.

The Fairtrade Guernsey Steering Group was responsible for securing Fair Trade Island status in 2006.  This was accomplished by mobilising support for Fairtrade in schools, offices, churches, and shops,  and documenting that support.  Fairtrade Guernsey is now embarking on a Fairtrade Schools campaign.

The Mundi Group has opened a shop at Sausmarez Manor, St Martin.  It is opposite the Heart’s Tearoom. The shop, “Mon Petit Monde” provides an opportunity to promote fair-trade to new market and show visitors that Guernsey is at the forefront of the campaign for fair-trade.  (Signs at St Peter Port harbour and at Guernsey airport announce Guernsey’s Fair Trade status.)

Fairtrade is helping the lives of many food producers, artisans, and craftsmen around the world but there is still much to do.  The banking crisis has thrown 150 million additional people into extreme poverty.  One billion people do not have access to clean drinking water, and two billion people still live on less than US$1 per day.

Guernsey has obtained Fairtrade Status

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