Q&As on Fairtrade in Roscommon

Roscommon Town is currently on its way to becoming a Fairtrade Town. When Roscommon receives its Fairtrade Town certification, it will be joining an ever-expanding group of Fairtrade towns in Ireland including Athlone. The following are some frequently asked questions regarding Fairtrade. What is Fairtrade? Fairtrade is about fair and stable market prices, decent working and production conditions, local sustainable development and the establishment of fairer terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade looks to change the terms of trading which is currently crippling the producers of the third world. Commercial companies who are embracing the Fairtrade ethos are helping to tackle the exploitation of the poor in developing countries, enabling them to improve the lives of their families and community. Consumers are playing an important role in this change – by choosing to buy Fairtrade products they are helping the world’s poorest people each time they shop. What is the Fairtrade Mark? The Fairtrade Mark is an independent consumer label guaranteeing a better deal for disadvantaged producers in the developing world. The Fairtrade Mark is the only independent consumer guarantee of fair trade and is supported by all the main charity groups including Oxfam, Irish Aid and Christian Aid. The Fairtrade Mark appears on many varieties of coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, sugar, honey, snacks, biscuits, fresh fruit, cotton clothing, jewellery and sporting equipment. Who guarantees the Fairtrade Mark? The Fairtrade Labelling Organisations (FLO) is the international organisation that is responsible for establishing the Fairtrade Standards. FLO also maintains these standards amongst its certified Fairtrade buyers and certified Fairtrade producers through regularly inspections. The Fairtrade Standards cover issues in relation to fairer export prices on raw produce, decent wages and acceptable working conditions for employees and environmental protection and sustainability policies.  What exactly does the Fairtrade Mark guarantee? The Fairtrade Mark guarantees a price that covers the cost of production, a social premium for producer groups to invest in business or community development, allows for longer-term trading relationships, advance payments and a greater respect for the environment. The Fairtrade minimum price is set and under Fairtrade terms the market price cannot drop below this calculated price. The Fairtrade price covers the costs of sustainable production and a sustainable livelihood for the producer. The Fairtrade price also includes a social premium which is directly put back into the producer’s community. The premium funds healthcare programs and educational programs in the local area, benefiting the farmers and employees.  Are there any Irish companies using Fairtrade products? Many Irish owned companies are embracing Fairtrade and using Fairtrade certified products in the manufacture their own products. For example Blake’s Organic Chocolate Company is buying their cocoa from a Fairtrade certified co-op in the Dominican Republic and their sugar from Costa Rica. Bewley’s are another Irish company which has embraced Fairtrade and offer two Fairtrade coffees in their range.  What is a Fairtrade Town? A Fairtrade town is a town which is committed to Fairtrade – the town’s restaurants and cafés sell 100 percent Fairtrade tea and coffee, the Town Council supports Fairtrade and there is a wide range of Fairtrade products available in the town’s shops and awareness campaigns within the town’s primary and secondary schools. Fairtrade Mark Ireland, the Irish representative of FLO, certifies the successful towns.  Where can we find Fairtrade products in Roscommon Town? Look out the Fairtrade Mark logo on a wide selection of coffees, teas, sugar, jams, chocolate and bananas in Tattie Hoaker’s, Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Molloy’s Pharmacy, Fleming’s Super Valu, Four Seasons Health Shop, Molloy’s and other shops around the town.    One hundred percent Fairtrade coffee is currently being served in the following Roscommon restaurants/cafes: Gleeson’s (Roscommon’s Fairtrade Flagship business), Melting Pot, Abbey Hotel and Dunne Store’s Café. With the continued support of the public, Roscommon hopes to be certified in early 2008. By supporting and buying Fairtrade products you are directly helping to make poverty history.