Fairtrade Fortnight...

The Gateway Academy participated in its second Fairtrade Fortnight recently. The activities were aimed at promoting awareness of the fairtrade mark and what this means for farmers and producers of the food and clothing products that are currently being sold. The Academy gained the Fairaware Award last year and are hoping to progress onto the next level, the Fairactive Award.

Students had the opportunity to learn more about fairtrade and purchase products during break times from Fairtrade Ambassadors. As a result of its success, the canteen now offer fruit and juices as a regular addition to their stock. In addition to the fairtrade stand at breaks and events, there were competitions (10 bananas hidden around the school), quizzes and presentations.

In particular, the students were really interested in the origins and ethics behind fairtrade cotton production, during a presentation delivered by Koolskools.  Andrew Ashcroft, a former British diplomat who set up the UK’s only fairtrade school clothing company, Koolskools, with business partner Mike Trodd in 2011. The company supports the cotton farmers and producers right from the field to the final product. They visit the length and breadth of the country raising awareness and encouraging the public to purchase fairtrade products. Andrew commented, “We are trying to show the wider clothing industry that it’s possible not only to sell fairtrade cotton but to also use fairtrade licensed factories and still run a business that makes a profit. Though 70% of clothes are made from cotton, less than 1% of those clothes are made with fairtrade cotton. We are hoping that more schools with strong fairtrade credentials, like the Gateway Academy, will go that one step further and introduce some school uniform made fairtrade cotton.”

Head of Humanities, Mrs Delia Webster, said “After receiving the Fairaware Award last year, we were keen to take the project to the next level and inviting Andrew in to talk to our students helped them understand more about the fairtrade cotton industry. We are striving for the Fairactive Award. Watch this space to see our progress!”

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