'A footprint means pressing down and global means world, so 'global footprint' means pressing down on the world and we don't want to press too hard' (child's definition of a Global Footprint)
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Putting your foot down

Taking action to reduce your trade footprint

Buy fair trade (or Fairtrade) products

Despite the rapid growth in sales of fair trade products (by about 40% a year) there is still plenty of room for expansion. Too many people who could buy fair trade products are not doing so and too many shops are not providing a full range of fair trade products.

Buying fair trade products yourself and persuading your family, relatives and friends to do the same can make a real difference to the lives of people in developing countries. With over 1300 fair trade products now on sale, there are plenty of choices! And no excuses!

You can easily spot a fair trade product in the UK as most carry the Fairtrade Mark. This is a special consumer label which shows that the producers have received a better deal. The Fairtrade Mark is awarded by the Fairtrade Foundation. 

The first products with the Fairtrade Mark were launched in 1994. These were coffee, tea, and chocolate.
With such a huge growth in Fairtrade demanded by consumers, the number of products has exploded: there are now masses of fair trade products including chocolate, bananas, mangos, fruit juices, honey, biscuits, nuts, oils, herbs, spices, rice, wine, roses, cotton products and sports balls.

For more information on the Fairtrade Mark see the Fairtrade Foundation website

Why not check out your local shops and supermarkets to see how many products carry the Fairtrade Mark. If there are very few, then you obviously need to persuade them to sell more! After all, there is no shortage of fair trade products to stock!

Help your school or college become a Fairtrade School

Schools can now officially become a Fairtrade School and earn a special Fairtrade award. A Fairtrade School is a school or college that helps young people understand about how trade works and is committed to making global trade fairer. It sells and uses Fairtrade products as much as possible and raises awareness of Fairtrade in the local community.

The Fairtrade School Award is coordinated by the Fairtrade Foundation. There are five important steps to take before your school can earn the award and you can find details on the Fairtrade schools website If your school is not yet a Fairtrade school, talk to teachers or the headteacher about becoming one; this would also be an excellent project for your school council to work on.

Campaign for trade justice

As aware and active global citizens we can work to persuade governments of the importance and urgency of changing trade rules to benefit the world’s poorest people and the environment. Here are some groups campaigning on the issue of trade and trade justice; they provide information on how to campaign effectively and suggest actions you can take:

Learn more

For more information about food download our Global Footprints leaflet on trade click here


  • BBC website – a section entitled ‘the battle over trade’ which includes a trade quiz
  • Milking It! – an Oxfam site exploring the lives of dairy farmers in very different countries but also includes useful sections on international trade and taking action.