Wake up. Get out of bed. Wander downstairs and embrace the family.  Put the kettle on. Brew the coffee…

Within the first moments of my day, I’m already interacting with a supply chain that reaches far across the globe. Which means I’m already making decisions that affect other people, their families, their livelihoods, their environment.

Those small acts we make, almost unconsciously, can have a significant impact on the lives of others. Why do I choose one coffee over another? Is it because of the packaging? Is it the dream sold through the adverts? Is it the price? Is it brand loyalty? Is it the way it tastes? Is it reluctance to change? Or is it because of the environmental and social credentials of that product? These decisions are invariably based on a complex combination of our world views, belief systems and circumstances.

…Drink the coffee. Get ready for the day. Go to work. Engage with my community. 

When I go to work, I have an expectation that I will be safe, with healthy working conditions. I expect to be paid as agreed for the work done and that my community will have access to schools, healthcare and housing. If this is how it is for me, surely it should be the same for others across the world too?

Yet too often, it doesn’t work this way. Payment to farmers growing cash crops is squeezed while those higher up the supply chain profit. Workers’ rights are often abused and working conditions unsafe. Unsustainable practices cause environmental degradation putting strain on future production. These factors (and more) add a bitter taste to that morning coffee.

Making a conscious decision to think about where products come from, the people involved with production and the impact on their local and global environment is at the heart of fair trade. Choosing the fair trade option need not be hard, nor expensive. It’s a small personal change that can have a significant impact on another person’s life and our global ecosystem.

That’s why Commercial is supporting Fairtrade Fortnight.