This year campaigners are calling for a living income growers and producers in the developing world. The Fairtrade Foundation points out that £1.86 is the amount a cocoa farmer in West Africa needs to earn each day in order to achieve a living income. Currently, a typical cocoa farmer in Cote d’Ivoire lives on around 74p a day. Almost all cocoa farmers in West Africa live in poverty.
For the women the situation is even worse. They may plant and harvest on the farm, look after children, carry water, collect wood, cook and clean for the family, and transport the cocoa beans to market but often with fewer rights than men.
Co-op Party members will be taking part in events across Kent to highlight the issues, raise funds and enjoy fantastic Fairtrade products.
The Party’s campaign against modern slavery is getting traction in Kent.
Co-op Party member Cllr Alan Baldock tweeted this: Very Very pleased – tonight CCC P&R Committee took on changes to a new anti-slavery policy matching it to the @CoopParty Charter Against Modern Day Slavery – Hope CCC will now proudly sign the Charter joining dozens of UK Councils @Labour4C
Fairtrade Fortnight runs until 11 March. Our Co-op Party members have been busy supporting the campaign and events across Kent, with the Dartford branch collecting signatures for a petition and the Dover & Deal branch donating Fairtrade footballs to schools.
Stella Creasey MP dropped in to help Kent members with the campaign to end legal loan sharking. Stella chatted to shoppers in Dover’s Market Square about high interest rates being charged by loan companies.
Co-op Party members have been out campaigning against legal loan sharks across Kent, including at the Kent Miners Festival at Aylesham near Canterbury. The festival is in its fourth year and saw a mix of brass bands, miners heritage, stalls and more.
The Kent Co-op Party has been encouranging shoppers to cut down on the use of plastic bags. The idea was to hand out free Fairtrade cotton bags to shoppers as an alternative to plastic. Dartford and Gravesend members were on hand at the New Ash Green Co-op store with the cotton bags and Fairtrade literature. The Dover & Deal branch were out on two mornings, one at the Co-op store in Dover’s Stembrook and the other at the Co-op in Beauchamp Avenue, Deal. Pictured are members of the branch who managed to give away 100 cotton bags in Deal in a little over an hour, plus Amber Bytheway, a teenager promoting the campaign against plastic bags.
It was announced last week that the Royal Bank of Scotland, which also owns NatWest and is 83% owned by the taxpayer, announced bonuses of £800 million despite losses amounting to £2 billion. Meanwhile their score of minus 13 on Yougov’s consumer confidence index means RBS remains the least popular bank in the country.
It is expected that Lloyds and HSBC will also be announcing their business-as-usual bonuses. Whether it’s on ethical or consumer grounds, they score poorly.
These are the banks whose reckless actions brought us to the economic situation we now face, but still the big five high street banks have a 90% market share in the UK.
Whatever the anger from the British public or the warm words from the Tory-led government there has been no significant banking reform as yet. Northern Rock was not re-mutualised. Bonuses continue to be paid.
The Move Your Money campaign, backed by the co-operative movement, is asking consumers to leave the high street banks and move their money to ethical banks like the Co-op Bank or to mutual providers like credit unions and building societies.