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Co-operative Launches New Online Scheme That Connects Shoppers With Fairtrade Communities

| International retailers

The Co-operative Food has launched a new online platform that will enable shoppers to interact directly with Fairtrade producers across the world.

A first of its kind interactive website, www.growingstories.coop, will bring UK consumers in contact with Fairtrade farmers and workers to hear first-hand of Fairtrade’s impact on them and their communities. Seventeen producer organisations from nine different countries will be taking part in the initiative. 

The Co-op is encouraging social media users to share messages and photos through their own Facebook and Twitter networks and to help build the online community with their friends and families. Visitors to the website can create their own messages to share with friends and post to the Co-op sharewall with photos. For every ‘share’ posted to the website, Co-op will add £1 to a fund to invest in future community projects with producers. 

Brad Hill, the Co-op’s Fairtrade Strategic Development Manager said: “This new community campaign is the latest innovation in our on-going support for Fairtrade. Having got to know so many producers over our 20 year partnership with Fairtrade, and as a business firmly rooted in communities across the UK, we are bringing the two together. 

“Our members and customers have returned over £30m in Fairtrade premiums and now they can hear directly just what that means at an individual and community level. What better way to find out about Fairtrade impact than from the producers themselves?” 

Ultimately, the Co-op said the aim of the campaign is to build a community that allows for meaningful engagement between consumers and producers. Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of Fairtrade Foundation commented: “Trade started as a simple exchange between people, but increasingly complex global supply chains often mean that people feel a long way from the reality of life for those who grow what they buy, and farmers never meet those who buy what they produce. 

“Globally, we’re seeing a growing interest among consumers in the ethics of supply chains, and desire to reconnect. This initiative makes trade personal again, and we hope it will generate many fruitful exchanges between people across the world.”

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