STUDENTS at the University of Worcester welcomed the founder of one of the world’s most successful Fairtrade companies for a talk about the ethics of global trade.
Cathi Pawson, co-founder and director of Zaytoun, a company which distributes Palestinian foods, such as olive oil, visited the University during Fairtrade Fortnight to talk about the difficulties and obstacles her company had overcome.
With the aim of providing customers with premium quality, fairly traded products whilst supporting the farming communities through trade rather than aid, Zaytoun has been recognised for its contribution to Fairtrade after it won the Fairtrade Global Trader Award and was named UK winner of the Social Enterprise Awards.
After starting the company with her friend Heather, Cathi’s company was Initially funded by hundreds of customers who put up payment in advance of receiving their olive oil. With funding, Zaytoun developed to offer a wide range of Palestinian artisan foods and supported Palestinian farmers to pioneer the world’s first Fairtrade certified olive oil in 2009, sold through the UK market.
One of the olive farmers who worked with Zaytoun also visited the University along with Cathi. Mohammed Hamada was one of the first farmers to join the Palestine Fairtrade Association when it was established in 2004 and spoke about how the premiums of Fairtrade have supported his community in many ways.
From supplying tools and equipment for the farmers in his cooperative and investing in a newly built school in the village to providing for a new paved playground and new desks.
Rev Dr Fiona Haworth, the University’s Chaplain, said: “I am delighted to see students engaging with issues of Fairtrade and the way in which it transforms the lives of some of the most impoverished communities in the world. Buying Fairtrade is a good way to empower people and enable them to support development in ways which benefit farmers and producers directly.
“During Fairtrade Fortnight Fairtrade sales were organised, selling produce from Zaytoun, groceries and crafts from Traidcraft and beads, scarves and bags from TraidNepal. A screening of Black Gold: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee was organised exploring the injustices in global trade in coffee and the impact of Fairtrade for coffee farmers in Ethiopia.”