The Fairtrade Foundation is to run a second event this autumn concentrating solely on ethically-sourced coffee. The campaign is a two-week one and the major incentive to attract public attention is the opportunity to win a trip to an exotic coffee-growing origin.
The event is being largely driven by the enthusiasm of Fairtrade’s product manager Kate Lewis, who has herself just returned from a visit to origin in Central America. The trip and the promotional event, she says, are both more aimed at delivering trade support than Fairtrade has been known for in the past.
“We have been to Costa Rice, Honduras and Nicaragua, partly to see what’s happening with leaf rust, and partly to respond to requests from a lot of our trade customers, who want to know more – they say: ‘we know what Fairtrade is, but what’s the real impact?’“
This, she acknowledges, is a change of emphasis for Fairtrade. The organisation’s promotional work in the past has concentrated too much on consumers recognising the Fairtrade Mark, and perhaps too little on practical support for the beverage trade.
“A lot of our story in the past has been consumer-focussed, and the consumers want the touchy-feely stories – but the trade wants to know about productivity and quality,” acknowledges Kate Lewis. “So, our meetings over there were structured around what the trade here wants to know – crop yields and so on. So this time we are not bringing back pictures of grinning farmers, but of their nurseries and organic farms.”
The awareness campaign in September and October is intended to not just promote the concept of Fairtrade coffee, but to promote the coffee trade in the eyes of the public.