Do you hope that the farmers and producers behind the cup of tea and chocolate biscuit you have at your next meeting are getting a fair deal for the work they’ve done to get it to you?
If so, you’re not alone. According to Kantar Media TGI data, 32% of UK adults say they will buy Fairtrade products when available and around 17% of people say they buy Fairtrade food and drink regularly.
The Fairtrade market is currently worth £831.7m and is continuing to grow, as more people become aware of ethical consumption and seek out assurances that those who have produced the food they are buying are getting a fairer deal.
Using Fairtrade products is also important to many of Westminster Venue Collection’s 34-member venues, so ahead of World Fair Trade Day on 12 May we highlight some of the work the marketing consortium is doing to support the initiative.
116 Pall Mall
As well as seeking out accredited Fairtrade products, management at this prestigious address carefully check all supplier provenance and sourcing before products can be used in their meetings and events. For example, in-house caterer Benugo ensures farmers are receiving a fair price for the coffee beans they buy with the majority purchased from Jose Bernardo and his two brothers who run Pedra Redonda, a coffee farm in the foothills of Pico de Desengano, Brazil. As 116 Pall Mall serves up to 5,000 cups of coffee to guests a week, this sensible sourcing makes a significant difference.
Five floors of entertaining space, from a subterranean brick vaulted wine bar to conference and meetings suites – can be found in this Grade I-listed building. The venue can accommodate between 10 and 1,000 guests for many different types of events, from conferences and exhibitions to weddings, dinners and awards ceremonies.
If you sip a cup of tea or coffee between sessions at this multi-purpose conference venue within the peaceful Dean’s Yard you can rest assured that those who have grown the tea leaves or harvested the coffee beans have been paid a fair wage. All tea and coffee at Church House is Fairtrade and the fair deal is also seen a little closer to home with the venue ensuring all staff are paid, not just the National Living Wage, but the higher rate London Living Wage set by the Living Wage Commission.
Church House offers 19 rooms for events or conferences, which can accommodate up to 664 guests. Almost all 19 rooms have natural daylight and air conditioning with break out rooms complementing the main Assembly Hall and other large spaces.
House of Commons
It’s fair to say that Fairtrade is well-supported at the House of Commons. Fairtrade coffee has been served at the venue since 1997 and its food outlets also stock Fairtrade confectionery, including Geobars, KitKats and Maltesers. Ensuring tea, coffee and confectionery is Fairtrade at the House of Commons will make a big difference to those who supply it: Last year its Catering Services department purchased 14,000 kilos of Fairtrade coffee, 119,000 Fairtrade teabags and 603,000 Fairtrade sugar sticks. Peckish delegates and visitors also munched their way through 20,774 KitKats. There are seven venues at the Commons available for hire, including the Members’ Dining Room, Strangers’ Dining Room, The Churchill Room which is ideal for seminar, receptions or dinners and the Terrace Pavillion, perfect for larger receptions and giving access to the Commons’ Terrace on the banks of the River Thames.
King’s Venues – Bush House
Fairtrade is of utmost importance to King’s College London, which has established its own Fairtrade Steering Group to support the work of the Fairtrade Foundation and promote Fairtrade products across the university and at its conference and meetings facilities. The group meets on a quarterly basis to review and maintain the Fairtrade status of the university and works with suppliers like Peros and 3663 to ensure much of the food and drink products it serves both on campus and at meetings and events organised by the King’s Venues team, are Fairtrade.
At Bush House, King’s Venues’ newest addition, you’ll find a number of modern conference spaces accommodating between 10 and 400 people, including a Harvard-style lecture theatre for 120 people and the auditorium for up to 395. The former home of the BBC has also been refurbished to include state-of-the-art AV facilities.