Ask for Fairtrade

Make sure your choice of coffee makes a difference

Developing @askforfairtrade

When I originally set up @askforfairtrade I was thinking of it as a way of people reporting their experience of asking for and getting, or not getting, Fairtrade options in coffee shops etc.

Whilst @askfairtrade has gathered many followers over on Twitter – that aspect of reports hasn’t really taken off.

I’ve not pushed it much – feeling that for now that the very presence of the @askforfairtrade Twitter account is doing good in terms of just reminding people about the importance of choosing a Fairtrade Option… but I would welcome your thoughts on where this micro-campaign project might go next?

>Should @askforfairtrade send out more reminders about reporting where does and doesn’t stock Fairtrade – and push to get reports of places failing to stock Fairtrade?


>Should @askforfairtrade take a softer approach – just sending out occaisional reminders about the importance of Fairtrade, and sharing Fairtrade related news?

or should it head in a different direction entirely?


Big Brands Going Fairtrade

Cadbury Dairy Milk Goes FairtradeFairtrade Fortnight has just finished in the UK – and it’s been an eventful few weeks.

One of the biggest bits of news to come out was that Cadbury, one of the main UK chocolate companies, is switching it’s Dairy Milk range of Fairtrade Certified chocolate by the end of the year – tripling the sales of Fairtrade Certified cocoa from Ghana.

The switch – fantastic news for the Farmers who benefit – was bound to re-ignite discussions over whether big-brands using the Fairtrade mark strengthens or weakens the Fairtrade system. Ready for that debate – The Fairtrade Foundation and Cadbury have been running a blog to host discussions and share updates as Cadbury move towards fully certified Fairtrade Dairy Milk chocolate by Autumn 2009.

Check out the debate on the blog over here…

Fairtrade Decaff

There has been some interesting discussion over on the Ask For Fairtrade twitter stream about getting hold of Fairtrade Decaff coffee when you’re out and about.

If you ask for a Decaff option at many Fairtrade chains then you can be told “it’s one or the other” as easyrew found.


A few @askforfairtrade twitter followers have suggested suppliers of Fairtrade Decaff – but what’s your experience? How easy is to get hold of a cup of decaff Fairtrade when you are out and about? And where are the Fairtrade coffee shops with the best selection of Fairtrade options?

Ethics of Coffee (Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics Lecture)

By chance I just came across a fantastic 30 minute lecture recording from a seminar at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

If you want to get more insights into how Fairtrade certification affects the value chain of coffee production, and to hear both positive and critical perspectives on how Fairtrade is working on the ground, then it’s well worth a listen.

If you’ve only got five minutes (rather than the full thirty) to share, then the first section of the lecture provides a great history of Fairtrade and explains in detail the Fairtrade difference.

Listen Here (Ethics of Coffee lecture – MP3)

Should we Twollo/auto-follow people talking about coffee on Twitter?

To help get @askforfairtrade started I’ve done a few manual searches on Twitter and have started following people talking about Fairtrade.

But part of the goal of @askforfairtrade (alongside checking who is and who isn’t sticking to their promises to offer Fairtrade coffee) is to encourage people who may not have instinctively thought about choosing a Fairtrade option to ask for it.

So seeing Zarah’s mention of Twollo, a Twitter service which will auto-follow people with particular interests on Twitter, I’m wondering whether @askforfairtrade should be set up to auto-follow people talking about tea or coffee? Or is auto-following by the @askforfairtrade campaigning twitter account too invasive?

If we were to use auto-following, then what key phrases or interests should we auto-follow? A search for Coffee on twitter turns up far to many results… so we might want to narrow down to phrases that might indicate someone is heading out to buy coffee.


  • Do you think auto-following has a place in the @askforfairtrade campaigning experiment?
  • If so, what phrases could we / should we use to determine who gets auto-followed?

I’ll look at any responses here in the next week or so and will look at whether or not to try an auto-follow…

Fairtrade Flock Up

Zarah Patriana, who has already blogged about the @askforfairtrade experiment, has just set up a Fairtrade ‘Flock Up’ for Twitter.

Flock Up provides a way to find other twitter users with shared interests, in this case, Fairtrade. Take a look and perhaps if you’ve been tweeting about Fairtrade you might add yourself…

Ask for Fairtrade

I set up the @askforfairtrade Twitter account a couple of weeks ago, and after some positive feedback about the idea – I thought it was time to develop it a little further and explore more how Twitter can be used in creative campaigning.

So, I’ve set up the @askforfairtrade blog here, and over the coming weeks I’ll be exploring different ways that the campaign might develop.

I also realized that whilst I could see all the messages that might get tweeted @askforfairtrade, these weren’t visible outside Twitter search, so – over on the right-hand side of this site you can keep track of a regularly updated feed of the latest reports of coffee shops serving, or not serving, their Fairtrade options. If you tweet a report starting with ‘@askforfairtrade’ it should turn up here within a few minutes.

(Check out the about page for more background to this project…)