I was thrilled to be invited to speak at the Fairtrade Lancashire Schools Conference at County Hall.
Around twenty schools were invited to send four pupils each to attend a plenary session in the Council Chamber, followed by a series of workshops looking at developments and current issues around Fairtrade.
The current focus of the Fairtrade movement is the effect of climate change on crops and the impact this will have on farmers and the communities who rely on these crops. Combined with deeply unfair trade practices and unfair prices, the communities growing crops like cocoa, bananas and coffee are being pushed to the brink. They are often left unable to sustain themselves, feed their families or afford basic healthcare.
There are currently 1.3 billion people living in poverty in developing countries, who do not have access to sufficient funds for basic essentials. Fair trade promotes long-term contracts, worker health and safety and better education and training. Fairtrade also ensures that there is no child labour, and that the environment is better cared for and protected.
There are over 6,000 Fairtrade products available in UK shops, from coffee and tea to flowers and gold. I encouraged the children to use their influence at home and school to switch to fairly traded products where possible.