Show Your Hand: Make Trade Fair

Show Your Hand: Make Trade Fair

Fairtrade Foundation

Joining up government policy on trade and sustainable development to make trade work for the poorest.

Contact | Website

Target country: United Kingdom
Start date and end date of the Action: 1 April – 31 December 2015

The Fairtrade Foundation’s “Show Your Hand” Campaign shined a light on the need for more joined up thinking in government policy making in the UK, if they are serious about achieving the targets in the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. In other words, the left hand of trade policy must not undermine or restrict the right hand of international development policy, and the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized in trade must be prioritized explicitly for trade to realize its potential of lifting farmers and workers out of poverty.

Sounds technical? It doesn’t need to be – the film “Trading Away Poverty” created by the project breaks it down for all:

The film received 1,500 views from Facebook and YouTube. Additionally, the film was promoted on Facebook which reaches 62,000 people.

The campaign also took part at the International Fair Trade Towns Conference – an annual gathering of Fair Trade Town activists around the world, primarily European – with MEP Linda McAvan as keynote speaker. The attendance was positive with 240 participants at the conference. The team successfully managed to work in themes of the campaign, fair trade, sustainability, the environment, active citizenship, to multiple parts of the conference, to share the EYD themes, the policy findings and “Show Your Hand” campaign messaging around the SDGs with delegates from 14 EU member states. Also over 35 delegates attended the related workshop from 8 member states. All this equipped Fair Trade supporters from multiple countries with the knowledge and ideas to engage their communities, politicians, and local community leaders in the EYD themes which led to 3 instances of public action around the campaign themes in other EU member states to date, as well as 3 outside of the EU, in Brazil, USA and Lebanon.

In the UK, 600 Fairtrade campaign groups received campaign resources and information to support their activities engaging members of parliament and the public with the campaign issues. 4 regional conferences with 2 MPs and 2 MEPs and approximately 150 attendees in Birmingham, York, London and Belfast were held to engage community campaigners with the EYD themes and the SDG campaign.

Several key politicians were engaged, including Secretary of State for International Development who took part in a panel discussion of the campaign’s parliamentary briefing event with other MPs representing different political parties. Altogether 85 MPs attended this event. Many MPs have also been engaged at grassroots level as a result of the project, with 20 meetings of the campaigners and their MPs reported to the campaign team and approximately 75% of these leading to letters from MPs to Prime Minister. Those MPs who did not write gave their reasoning as being supporters of free trade or other ideological differences which was used as an opportunity to engage them and continue debate. In addition, the campaign team believes that many more MPs were contacted by campaigners due to hearing anecdotally and informally of other groups and individuals who had written or spoken with their MPs.

In addition, a Position paper produced for the project has contributed to numerous meetings with commercial partners, engaging major businesses with the SDGs. A business representative also joined the panel discussion for the parliamentary briefing event, and feedback from the meetings suggests stronger relationships and increased traction with key commercial partners as a result of the campaign.

The ultimate output of the majority of actions, the petition, received good support of over the anticipated 10,000 signatures (altogether 10,566). The petition was delivered to Prime Minister David Cameron at number 10 Downing Street, leaving a strong legacy to continue to influence political and commercial decision makers, and communicate about key EYD themes with the committed supporter base as well as the public. Over 1,000 of the signatories were new to the Fairtrade Foundation supporter list meaning that roughly 10% can be considered as new supporters generated by the campaign. The campaign hub housing the petition was viewed by over 26,000 people.

Overall, over the nine months of the project, the activities and results achieved succeeded in placing the organisation, Fairtrade Foundation, firmly in public and private discussions around the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals and the need for government policy coherence on multiple issues to create change for vulnerable farmers and workers that Fairtrade exists for.