Cotton on to ethical clothing – that is the message this year during the annual Fairtrade Fortnight.
The biggest fairtrade campaign – which takes place from February 28 to March 13 – will be asking people to ‘show off their labels’ by buying fairtrade certified cotton and giving framers in India and West Africa a better deal.
Campaigners across the Dales will be hosting an array of events to mark the fortnight including ethical fashion shows and helping create a record-breaking cotton buntings – to highlight the injustices that make fairtrade a vital lifeline for cotton farmers.
Ingrid Pasteur, of Matlock and Darley Dale Fairtrade Group, said: “Cotton farmers suffer some of worst abuses and a lot of them are being driven out of business. Fairtrade cotton is pretty new but now companies, like Equatorial in Matlock Bath, are selling it.”
She added: “Fairtrade Fortnight is so important because each time it highlights a different issue. It also a reminder to people why we should be choosing fairly trader products.”
Fairtrade cotton has been around for five years and there are 30 million cotton farmers in 65 countries around the world. But less than 1 percent of cotton on the high street carries the fairtrade mark, which guarantees a minimum price.
Equatorial, in South Parade in Matlock Bath, stocks fairtrade clothes, bags, accessories and embroideries.
Emma Carr, who runs the shop, said: “A lot more people recognise the importance of buying fairtrade and children especially seem very clued up about it. Everything we sell is fairtrade, mainly from India, Nepal and Ecuador.”
To highlight the poverty facing more than ten million West African people who rely on cotton for a living, Matlock, Darley Dale and Wirksworth Fairtrade Groups are supporting the Bunting for Justice campaign,
The national record-breaking attempt to create the world’s longest, and fairest, string of bunting, will see events taking place across the area.
Grayden Daniels, of the Matlock group said: “As well as being record-breaking because of its length we are confident that our bunting will bring attention to the plight of West African cotton farmers.
“We hope that by shining a spotlight on this issue, our MEPs will take acton on this in the European Parliament and also that more people will look for fairtrade cotton when they shop.”