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    National Biscuit Day

    Friday, 29 May 2020  |  Joanna

    Today is National Biscuit Day and with everything going on in the country right now it feels like sitting down with a nice cup of Fairtrade tea or coffee and a biscuit is one of the little ways we can bring joy to our lives.

    Most supermarkets stock Fairtrade bananas, tea and coffee and some stock Fairtrade chocolate and flowers but Fairtrade biscuits are one of the products that's a bit harder to find - and all the more rewarding when we do.

    Our Traidcraft cookies and biscuits are made in the UK using Fairtrade ingredients and - crucially - fair trade palm oil. Palm oil is one of the most controversial products of the 21st century, partly because it's found in everything from washing liquid to birthday cakes. It's incredibly useful and because it requires relatively little land to grow it compared with rapeseed or soya, it means that people are able to make a decent living from a comparatively small patch of land. Normally fair trade organisations are all for crops which give farmers in the global south better yield and more profit so why is it so controversial?

    Well, the problem with palm oil is that the way it's normally grown also causes mass destruction of indigenous rainforests in low income countries like Indonesia - forests which are habitat for lots of animals including orang utans - the gentlest of all the great apes.

    Oil palm trees are not native to Asia but to West Africa. In recent decades they were planted as cash crops and encouraged by governments as a way for incredibly poor people to cultivate a small amount of land and make a decent profit. Unfortunately - inevitably - these profits were seized upon by large corporations who felled huge tracts of forest and in its place planted acres and acres of oil palms. Some palm oil from Asia is sustainable, grown by small holder farmers with an eye to preserving natural forest habitats but most is not, and products are rarely clearly labelled to show where palm oil is from truly sustainable sources.

    Enter Traidcraft - the pioneer of so much in fair trade. They introduced the Fair Palm mark which guarantees that the palm oil in its products is produced under fair trade conditions.

    FairPalm palm oil is grown in Ghana - where oil palm trees are indigenous and grow alongside cocoa plants in the kind of organic, symbiotic relationship that fair trade is famous for. Fairtrade cocoa farmers are expanding into production of palm oil as a second income stream. Companion planting is a great way to encourage biodiversity - it's best for people and planet.

    So if you're sitting down with a biscuit and a cuppa this National Biscuit Day, check the packet to see if your biscuits are as fair as they could be, and think about treating yourself to some of our delicious Fairtrade biscuits. Click the photo to buy yours today.

    Happy national biscuit day!