How Croydon’s Fairtraders take action for a fairer world

By - Tuesday 24th February, 2015

As Croydon Fairtrade Fortnight begins, Andrew Dickinson celebrates the power of everyday choices

Croydon Fairtrade Network has a busy fortnight planned – and a plethora of events for you to get involved with!  The focus of this year’s Croydon Fairtrade Fortnight is to tell a story: the story of the other half of a product’s life. That’s the part you don’t know when you buy it and take it home: where did it come from? Who made it? How did that person live? By doing this we set out to show the difference Fairtrade makes to people’s quality of life, to sustainability and to making sure trade works in a fairer and more equal way.

We’re focusing on a few core commodities – cocoa, sugar, and tea – and whether you’re an individual or part of a Fairtrade group, there will be opportunities to take action. There will be a Fairtrade display at the Croydon Visitor Centre, alongside East Croydon station, from Monday 23rd February to Saturday 7th March, where you can find lots of information about Fairtrade, how it works, and why it’s so important to the lives of farmers all over the world.

There will be chocolate freebies

A Fairtrade information stall will also be running in the foyer of Croydon College on Tuesday 24th and Thursday 26th February, from 12:15 to 13:30with a Stock It Challenge activity, including asking businesses directly to switch to Fairtrade products. Divine chocolate freebies will also be available, along with information leaflets. There will also be a continuous showing on the monitors of the short film Fairtrade Matters.  It’s open to the public, so do pop in.

On Tuesday 3rd March, the David Lean cinema in Katharine Street will be screening Black Gold, a documentary that tells the story of an Ethiopian coffee union manager, fighting for better prices for his coffee bean farmers.  The film is as relevant today as it was in 2006. Fairtrade Matters will once again be shown with a short introduction from an FT member, and there will be a Fairtrade stall at the screening.

Choosing Fairtrade makes a dramatic difference

And finally, on Saturday 28th February, from 10:00 to 16:00, there will be a Fairtrade stall in the Whitgift Centre.

If you would like any more information about any of these events, email  or take a look here.

So throughout Fairtrade Fortnight 2015, we’re going to celebrate the impact of Fairtrade and ask you to turn a spotlight on the producers who grow the products we love. By sharing their stories in a fresh and compelling way, we can remind the UK of the dramatic difference choosing Fairtrade makes and how much it is still needed. Companies, whether large or small, and their customers, can help improve the lives of the farmers and workers and create a sustainable supply chain.

We hope to see you at one of the above events.

Andrew Dickinson

Andrew Dickinson

I'm a long term resident of Croydon and I'm lucky to live and work in the borough. As a schoolboy my proudest moments were playing representative football for Croydon where I would fight tooth and nail to win for the borough and contribute towards its sporting reputation. For 18 years I worked up in London and became distanced from the town. Now I've re-engaged with the place over the last 20 years and feel frustrated in finding a way to vent my passion for Croydon (as I'm too old to play football) so I'm always on the lookout for any new initiatives to bring positivity to the place. I live on Bramley Hill with my lovely family and I have an allotment locally. I'm a keen amateur in gardening, environmentalism, permaculture, photography and website design. I'm an oyster mushroom farmer, run a social enterprise called Green Croydon, I'm part of the Croydon Fairtrade steering group, part of the Croydon ReUse Organisation, current chair of Croydon Transition Town and a community gardener; I'm on the borough Food Programme, Parks and Social Enterprise steering groups and a community apple presser. I currently work for the council as an officer creating and promoting community events in the beautiful Wandle Park. I put on the Croydon Environmental Fair each year and the Summer of Love theme and festival was something I dreamed up. I inspired the 'I would make Croydon better by' theme. There's also the Give and Take events in Surrey Street. I started the monthly Arts, Crafts and Vintage market in Exchange Square. Formerly I was a Turf Projects trustee, a Croydon Radio presenter and part of the Old Town business association.Between all this, I write the occasional article for the Citizen. I support local artists and local musicians by enabling the space for them to create I also support local independent journalism.

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    Hi Andy

    Great to have lots going on locally for FairTrade Fortnight. Also great that as well as the core products you mention, there is such a wide variety of FairTrade items now on the market, from shampoo and handbags, clothes and cleaning products to fruit and jewellery.

    Regarding jewellery, I have recently enquired from several Croydon jewellers about FairTrade gold. One has a “no dirty gold” policy, one claimed that all their products were Faritrade (I’m not sure that they understood the question) and at least 3 others confirmed that they did not stock it. Luxury items like gold can have devastating effects on the areas in which it is mined and offering a fair price to local miners could well stop some of the more destructive processes. However, as one jeweller commented, a lot of the gold currently in circulation is/has been recycled so it’s difficult to give an accreditation.

    Happy FairTrade Fortnight!