2016-12-20 17:40:30

Fairtrade, a tasty solution to poverty issues

Magdalena Streijffert, Secretary General of Fairtrade Sweden, attends the official ceremony for the finalization of Bucheon’s Fairtrade Town campaign

Dec 7, 2016

“Consuming Fairtrade products offers an opportunity to experience the pleasure of reducing poverty in the world. It treats you with not only a good taste but also a better feeling.”

Magdalena Streijffert(photo), Global Project Manager of Fairtrade International and Secretary General of Fairtrade Sweden, attended the official ceremony at Bucheon City Hall which was held to celebrate the finalization of the city’s Fairtrade Town Campaign. Fairtrade International, headquartered in Germany, is the world’s largest Fairtrade organization that 1.65 million farmers and workers across 75 countries are involved. Fairtrade marked products mean the products were made with Fairtrade certified ingredients such as coffee, tea, banana and cocoa.

Magdalena Streijffert


Streiffert, who used to be a member and vice president of Swedish parliament of Social democrats, says “’Fair’ is still a hot topic even in Sweden although Sweden is known for its advanced welfare system.” She was the eldest in her family and lived with her mother after her parents got divorced when she was 9 years old. She was going to work at a supermarket as a cashier after her graduation from high school but finally went to a university, thanks to her high school teacher’s support. At university, she studied politics and had a dream of a politician.

In 2006, she became a member of the National Assembly. “I realized the power of Fairtrade while travelling to developing countries as a member of the committee of migration issues.” said Streiffert. There was a huge gap between workers’ conditions in the countries that were benefited from the Fairtrade system and those that were not.

She went to Cambodia in 2008 and it was over 40 degrees Celsius. She saw about 50 children and adults extracting rubber, squeezed in a factory that was only 50 square meters big. They received only 1 US dollar per day for their 14 hour-long labour a day. “I was so ashamed of myself wearing a fancy dress in front of them as a politician.”

A Fairtrade banana farm in Ghana that she visited, however, was different. “The workers on the farm worked 8 hours a day and received fair wage for their labour. Their children were able to inherit a better life. I saw a mother with such a bright face, who raised her first as a doctor and the second as an engineer.” Streiffert is now a mother of 2 children and has been working at Fairtrade International to promote Fairtrade since 2013.

At the ceremony, Bucheon was certified by Fairtrade International as a Fairtrade Town and stated its vision: “Starting from the current 80 local outlets selling Fairtrade products, we will expand the ethical consumption movement.” Korea is now one of the countries with a significantly growing Fairtrade market. Its annual sales of Fairtrade products from last year reached 15,077,943 euros. “I am glad to see Korean consumers getting to know the pleasure of responsible consumption.” said Streiffert.