Chiswick Churches, Fairtrade Wines and Colin Firth

An ethically educational evening at St Michael and All Angels

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Fairtrade never looked more glamorous than it did on Tuesday evening at St Michael and All Angels when a number of local residents, business people and clergy gathered in parish hall to hear an enthralling speech from the Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation Harriet Lamb CBE and taste Fairtrade wines from South Africa and Chile with some back-ground presented by Ian Tilleard-Haines of Fairtrade wine importers Ehrmanns Ltd.

Also present at the event, which was organized by Chiswick Churches for Justice and Peace, was perhaps Chiswick’s highest profile eco campaigner Colin Firth who was joined by his brother in law and business partner Nico. Clearly a strong supporter of the Fairtrade Foundation, Firth spent quite some time chatting with Lamb about the work of the Foundation.

The Fairtrade Foundation is a charitable organization established in 1992 responsible for licensing the Fairtrade Mark and raising consumer awareness of Fairtrade. The first Fairtrade label was launched in Holland in 1988 in response to the collapse of the world coffee price, which fell for some years to far less than the cost of production, and led to much suffering for coffee farmers and their families. There are now Fairtrade labels in 90 countries, co-ordinated by Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO).

The main objective of Fairtrade is to increase producer incomes. This is achieved by a payment of guaranteed fair price and by reducing the number of intermediaries in the supply chain so that growers get a larger share of the export price.

The Fairtrade minimum price is calculated to cover the costs of sustainable production and a sustainable livelihood. All stakeholders, including producers and traders, are consulted in the price-setting process. There is an additional premium for investment in social, commercial or environmental projects.

The main purpose of the evening was to encourage people to start asking for Fairtrade wines to be served in local pubs and restaurants and after sampling six (three white and three red), it was evident that there is no compromise that needs to be made on either taste or price.

Ehrmanns Ltd, who provided all the wine for the evening, became one of the first Fairtrade wine importers from the moment Fairtrade standards were introduced for wine grapes in early 2004. By September 2007 the company had become the leading importer of Fairtrade wines in the UK.

Sam’s Brasserie and Bar, who made delicious canapés to accompany the wines, features Fairtrade wines on their list.

For more information about the work of the Fairtrade Foundation please see

September 18, 2008