Emma Watson Discovers the Real Impact of Fair Trade

Watch Harry Potter actress Emma Watson as she is “moved and inspired” by fair trade producer group Swallows in Bangladesh. As part of her ongoing work with People Tree, Emma joined Safia Minney in Bangladesh where they visited both the slum homes of factory workers and the People Tree supported Swallows community. In the video and this interview, Emma documents the difference in living conditions and encourages others to really understand the difference that fair trade makes to the lives of those in the developing world.

As always we would love to hear your thoughts, does seeing the reality of living conditions encourage you to purchase fair trade clothing? What are your opinions on fair trade fashion? Does Emma’s public support of People Tree and fair trade fashion make you think more about where your clothing comes from? Let us know we love to hear from you!!

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Namayiana - Fair Trade Producer Visit Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.

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Let Them Eat Cake (fair trade of course!)

Cake Britian

Here at SI HQ it would appear that we are unable to escape the Mad Hatter’s Tea party theme, literally everyone is getting involved. I thought I was over it, however, thanks to Emmy Lou Cakehead, I have happily been sucked back into Alice’s world of surrealism.

The Mad Artists Tea Party takes place The Future Gallery, 5 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7HY, 27th – 29th August. The exhibition sounds incredible as all of the art is edible, anything not eaten will be auctioned off for charity. Describing the concept Emmy Lou says “It’s a three day exhibition. We’ve paired up artists such as Stuart Semple and George Morton Clark with cakists including Crumbs and Doilies and Bea’s of Bloomsbury: the artist comes up with the concept and the cakist makes it. The theme is ‘fair’, linking in with the Fairtrade sugar by Tate and Lyle, the sponsors. All the cakes are made fresh for the event, and they’re all meant to be eaten”.

Like us, if you aren’t London based or can’t make the event, fear not as the team behind the exhibition have been touring the UK accompanied by their cupcake tree which is based on Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. Emmy Lou explains “It’s an interactive art installation that allows children to literally ‘pick’ their own cupcakes off the tree, like The Magic Faraway Tree the cupcake tree will never ‘grow’ the same cakes twice”. It is hoped that the cupcake tree along with the Mad Artists Tea Party will encourage children and grownups alike to think more about where their food comes from and also how ingredients can be used creatively in an attempt to combat the “ready meal culture” that has taken hold in recent years.

This is great news for the fair trade movement as encouraging people to think about where their food is sourced is a huge part of spreading the fair trade message.

Excellent news all round I say! Now not that you need any encouragement but I would recommend this trip down the rabbit hole for a spot of afternoon tea. Oh and if you do go along, don’t forget to feedback on your experience, let me live vicariously through you please!!

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Namayiana - Fair Trade Producer Visit Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.

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Machine invented that makes plastic into oil

Plastic creates lots of problems, it needs lots of oil to make, disposing of it is problematic because it is non biodegradable and burning it releases CO2.

Akinori Ito the Japanese inventor and CEO of Blest had a simple question. If plastic is just oil, why don’t we turn it back into oil. He answered the question by inventing a machine that does just that and its eco friendly and efficient to boot.

Ito is passionate about his concept, he tours the world demonstrating how the machine works, teaching children about oil and plastics. Ito says “people start to see that this isn’t garbage, it’s oil”. Ito suggests that using his machine will enable us to reduce 80% of carbon emissions, not bad for an idea that originated from a desire to reduce the amount of plastic being sent to landfill!

The beauty of the machine is in its simplicity, it is small and easy to transport, Ito says “To make a machine that anyone can use is my dream”. What do you think? Pipedream or realistic idea? We’d love to hear your thoughts…

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Namayiana - Fair Trade Producer Visit Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.

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Fairtrade inspires a Shared Interest in Belfast

Shared Interest’s Membership Development Co-ordinator Ashleigh Wilson and Supporter Relations Officer Ruth Taylor embarked upon a four-day tour to Northern Ireland from 25th-28th May. This involved a visit to Belfast; Ireland’s only Fairtrade city.

They culminated their tour of faith groups, volunteer bureaux and universities in the region with a visit to a Belfast store that stocks clothing made by some of the businesses it works with across the globe. Fairtrade Inspires sells Fairtrade clothing and handicrafts including T-shirts made by Epona Clothing using certified Fairtrade organic cotton from Agrocel; both of which have benefited from Shared Interest loans in the past.

Ashleigh explains: “With our growing team of ambassadors, we have a strong volunteer base right across the UK. However, in Northern Ireland we have only two volunteers and wanted to give people the opportunity to get involved and build on the city’s Fairtrade status.

Denis Stewart, who has been an investor for over 14 years and a volunteer alongside that for the last five, met up with Ashleigh and Ruth at Fairtrade Inspires to talk about encouraging more support from people living in the area.

He said: “I believe there are about 73 Shared Interest investors in Northern Ireland, and aside from me, there is just one more person volunteering their time. I would definitely find it useful to have a network of like-minded individuals to help out at events or even just to share ideas with.

Fairtrade Inspires store manager Rebecca Bromley said: “Shared Interest holds a crucial role in the fair trade movement and, without their investors and volunteers; perhaps we wouldn’t be able to sell such an array of Fairtrade products on a daily basis.

We were delighted that Shared Interest brought their Belfast tour to a close in our store and also to hear that they have recruited new volunteers during their stay.

Fairtrade Inspires supports handicraft makers in the developing world by providing an outlet to sell their products and it is fascinating to meet with people involved at another part of this vital supply chain.

Both Ashleigh and Ruth intend to travel back to Northern Ireland this year. Ashleigh explains: “Whilst the group of members and ambassadors who congregated together was small, their enthusiasm and determination to work together on a regular basis to promote Shared Interest throughout Northern Ireland was inspiring.

I very much look forward to hearing about their progress and shall be working closely with the group to support them with their efforts and increase the number of people they can share their ideas with.

If you would like to volunteer in your area, then please click here for further details.

Fairtrade inspires

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London to Brighton

Those who have seen the film need not worry about our Ride2Raise cyclists; no-one is involved in anything illicit.

Quite the opposite in fact, Mike has been training hard with the other Ride2Raisers by cycling from London to Brighton and back at the weekends, that’s a 110 mile round trip. More than I could contemplate riding and this is only their training! I’d rather be eating the 150 Soreen snack packs that have been delivered to the team to keep them going once training ends and they embark on the real thing.

Mike – the cyclist who chose to represent Shared Interest Foundation – has also been busy testing all the new equipment needed for the challenge. If anyone has any cycling tips or advice on equipment etc let us know and we’ll pass it on to Mike and the team.

Now obviously we have told you a bit about Mike and why he is supporting the campaign, but what about the other five cyclists? Check out the Ride2rRaise blog here to discover the motivation behind the challenge.

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Namayiana - Fair Trade Producer Visit Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.

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Really….THAT’S Fairtrade??

Over the past 20 years the fair trade movement has developed significantly, with a whopping 74% of the UK now recognising the Fairtrade Mark. It isn’t however only our general awareness that is growing, there are now a phenomenal amount of Fairtrade products readily available for purchase.

We ran a small survey here at Shared Interest HQ to see which Fairtrade products our staff were most surprised to see as certified Fairtrade, or using Fairtrade materials. The top 10 results are as follows:

  • Vodka
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Quinoa
  • Socks
  • Beer (Hadrian’s Wall celebrated its Fairtrade status with a chocolate beer)
  • Flowers
  • Cards
  • Christmas Pudding
  • Bath Salts
  • Pyjamas

Please comment below on what were you most surprised to see as certified Fairtrade, or using Fairtrade materials.

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Namayiana - Fair Trade Producer Visit Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.

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Superheroes Vs Charity Heroes

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps.

Apparently this brotherhood of warriors has been maintaining intergalactic order since 1940. Well, if you’re into comics they have! I did the “which superhero are you?” quiz and it turns out that I am in fact a Green Lantern. So fear not you shall be protected!

Despite what the movies tell us, superheroes don’t actually exist. I am not actually a Green Lantern no matter what the internet tries to make me believe. There are however, many real life heroes in the UK that unlike their fictional counterparts can often go undetected.

Shared Interest Foundation have been given the opportunity to highlight one such hero as part of the Ride2Raise cycling campaign. Last week Ride2Raise announced that in addition to the cycling challenge, each charity involved is eligible to nominate someone involved in their organisation to receive a Charity Hero Award. The award will go to someone who has gone the extra mile in their contribution to the Shared Interest Foundation. The deserving winner has yet to be chosen so watch this space; we’ll update you as soon as the winner has been announced…

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Namayiana - Fair Trade Producer Visit Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.

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Foundation Fundraising Feat

As, hopefully, you will have heard the Shared Interest Foundation team arranged a 7.5 mile walk of Hadrian’s Wall in order to raise funds for the charity. Saturday was the big day and dressed in our finest waterproof clothing Andrea and I headed off to Northumberland to meet the rest of our walking group.

Participants had come from Northallerton, Edinburgh and Cockermouth to visit Hadrian’s Wall country, see the stunning views and raise vital funds for the Foundation’s training projects and capacity building work.

Our guides for the day, volunteers Colin Mills and Tony Miller from Haltwhistle Partnership, brought the area’s rich Roman history to life with impressive anecdotes and explanations. They expertly led us along the circular route highlighting points of interest such as fossilised tree trunks and a Roman mile stone.

Thanks to all who participated for their fundraising efforts as well as their incredible energy and enthusiasm which made for a memorable walk! If any of you are looking for creative sponsorship ideas for your own fundraising events, one participant was sponsored per bird species spotted. I’m pleased to say he reached a grand total of 22!

To date the walk has raised £1,144, and we anticipate that figure will rise as walkers send in their sponsorship money. Many thanks also for the good wishes and sponsorship from those supporters who were not able to come along themselves.

We are grateful to Emma Clark, our photographer for the day, for giving up her Saturday to take some beautiful photographs, which can be viewed by clicking here.

A huge thank you to Colin, Tony, Emma, my colleagues who came along and supported the event and our other volunteers, Ben, Ryan and John.

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Ex Chester City Footballer Supports Shared Interest Foundation

Last week we announced that Shared Interest Foundation has been chosen as a beneficiary by the Ride2Raise cycle challenge team. Each cyclist was given the opportunity to pick two charities that the raised money would be split between.

We found out today that ex Chester City footballer, Mike Pemberton chose the Foundation after reading about our work in a recent copy of Raise magazine.

Mike said: “I’ve always found it frustrating, watching people raise money for development charities who throw it into all the wrong areas so I was delighted to discover that Shared Interest Foundation offers training, specifically in business skills, which can help maintain sustainable growth that can cost very little but last forever. They also support fair trade which I’ve been conscious of adhering to in my lifestyle when purchasing goods. For these reasons alone, I’m proud to be supporting the Shared Interest Foundation whilst on my bike in September in the hope that they can continue their good work”.

We are thrilled to have Mike on board and look forward to bringing you updates on his training progress, don’t forget if you want to support Mike and Shared Interest Foundation all you need to do is follow this link.

Mike at Brighton

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Namayiana - Fair Trade Producer Visit Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.

Click here to donate to the Shared Interest Foundation
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