Fairtrade Foundation to ramp up lobbying efforts

Fairtrade Foundation is ramping up its lobbying efforts to support small-hold farmers as it shifts strategy to bring campaigning to the fore of its marketing activity.

Fairtrade Fortnight
Fairtrade to make lobbying more high profile.

The organisation claims that while awareness of Fairtrade is already high, it needs to do more to make people aware of the cause behind the brand and the plight of small-hold farmers who provide 70 per cent of the UK’s food.

The shift in approach comes as the Fairtrade Foundation combines marketing, campaigning and policy into one newly created role.

Cheryl McGechie, former director of marketing at Fairtrade Foundation has taken on the combined director of public engagement role.

Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 25 February to 10 March, coincides with the UK taking on its presidency of the G8. Fairtrade believes it provides an opportunity to get the public to engage and take action to support small-hold farmers and Fairtrade.

As part of this year’s annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaign, the organisation is launching what it claims is the first virtual march on Parliament. The event, which takes place on 4 March, supports the delivery of a petition to David Cameron calling for the UK to champion a better deal for farmers at this year’s G8 summit.

Supporters are invited to create a personal avatar to be part of the digital march.

McGechie says: “We’re taking the opportunity to revisit the purpose of Fairtrade and shine a light on small-hold farmers. Strategically, we’ve recognised that people know about Fairtrade, awareness and positivity is high but we need to do a better job at getting people involved with the cause.

“We don’t want to sit back and think ‘job done’ because awareness is high. [We’re ramping up lobbying] but making it accessible because that’s our core strength.”

Brands including Kit Kat and Divine chocolate are also preparing activity throughout Fairtrade Fortnight. Divine is launching its first pop-up store in Covent Garden while Kit Kat is launching its first Fairtrade accredited two-finger bars, which represents a doubling of Fairtrade cocoa and sugar volumes Nestle uses. Its four-finger bars have been accredited for two years.

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