Business services specialist Commercial is supporting Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 with a raft of activities encouraging employees and customers to make more informed, ethical buying choices.

The company sent sample packs containing chocolates, tea, coffee and drinking chocolate to customers wanting to take part in a Fairtrade Challenge. It also reviewed the staff refreshments on offer at its Cheltenham, London and Leeds offices, discovering that coffee was the only product lacking ethical credentials. This led to a trial of five alternative Fairtrade coffees, enabling employees to choose their favourites ahead of a permanent change.

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 26 February to 11 March. During this time, Commercial is inviting customers taking part in the Fairtrade Challenge to share their experiences on social media and consider switching to Fairtrade for good. Commercial’s own employees will receive a Fairtrade chocolate gift and Billy the Fairtrade Banana will make a special guest appearance at the Cheltenham head office.

Fairtrade is a social movement enabling people to make shopping choices that help farmers get a better deal. With a stable income, growers can invest in their communities and break the cycle of poverty.

Commercial’s Senior Sustainability Executive, Andrew McKenzie, believes it’s important for businesses to involve employees before introducing more ethical staff refreshments.

He explains: “Switching to Fairtrade, or other ethical products such as those certified by Rainforest Alliance, is a positive move for any organisation. But it won’t be seen that way by employees if they suddenly find their favourite tea or coffee is no longer available at work. It’s much better to let people have a choice, and help them understand that they can make a difference to the communities producing the food and drink we consume every day. We’ve tried to make Fairtrade Fortnight a fun experience for staff and customers and I hope everyone enjoys the products!”