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Campaigning works! How you’ve helped us change the world

1992: Fairtrade CAFOD co-founded the Fairtrade Foundation, which seeks to transform trade in favour of the poor and disadvantaged. Because so many dedicated supporters run parish stalls, Fairtrade coffee mornings, and show off their label in Fairtrade Fortnight there are now over 3,000 Fairtrade products available in the UK and over 450 Fairtrade Catholic parishes. More than 7.5 million people – workers and their families - in 58 developing countries now benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

Standing in solidarity with thousands of campaigners around the world, CAFOD campaigners sent 64,000 postcards to the Ministry of Defence, calling for a worldwide ban of landmines. In 1999, 40 governments ratified the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the manufacture, trade and use of anti-personnel landmines. A whopping 144 countries have now signed up to the treaty.

1994:Landmine Action

1997: Workers’ Rights

CAFOD campaigners pushed for a better deal for garment and shoe workers by sending cards to their favourite high-street shops and telling shoppers how their clothes are made. Many High Street stores and companies – from Marks & Spencer to Levi Strauss – signed up to the Ethical Trading Initiative to ensure their workers, wherever they are based, get good working conditions and fair pay.

2000: Jubilee 2000

420,000 420,000 CAFOD CAFOD supporters supporters signed signed the the Jubilee Jubilee 2000 2000 petition, calling for petition, calling for an an end end to to the the crippling crippling debt debt facing many many of of the the world’s world’s poorest poorest countries. countries. They They facing were also also among among 70,000 70,000 people people who who formed formed a were a giant giant human chain around the G8 in Birmingham, human chainwith around G8 in Birmingham, 1998. 1998. Faced thisthe pressure, world leaders Faced this pressure, world acted, to acted, with cancelling $110 billion of leaders debt, equivalent 2000 years$110 of CAFOD’s cancelling billion ofincome! debt, equivalent to 2000 years of CAFOD’s income!

2004 Clean up your computer Following calls from CAFOD supporters to respect workers' rights, several leading electronics companies – including Microsoft, Intel, HP and IBM - introduced industry standards and took action to improve conditions along their supply chain, tackling issues like discrimination, dangerous working conditions and excessive overtime.

2005 Make Poverty History

Over 700 parishes were represented in Edinburgh, as a quarter of a million rallied to make poverty history. Globally, 31 million people united in the Global Call to Action against Poverty. As a result, world leaders pledged to increase aid spending by up to $50 billion and the G8 agreed to cancel some of the remaining debt owed by poor countries to international institutions like the World Bank.

2006: Fighting for trade justice CAFOD campaigners demanded an end to unjust subsidies that meant each dairy cow in the European Union ‘earned’ $2.20 a day - at a time when almost half the world’s people lived on less than $2 a day. Campaigners also delayed the agreement of unfair Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and developing countries. In 2006, following demands from CAFOD supporters (as part of The Trade Justice Movement) to ensure UK companies act more responsibly, the Companies Act came into being - the biggest shake-up of UK company law for 150 years. It offered an unprecedented opportunity to make laws to ensure big British businesses don’t put profit ahead of people and the environment.

2006-2007: Unearth Justice

50,000 CAFOD campaigners used consumer pressure on major UK jewellery retailers, asking them to sign up to a set of golden rules to end the sale of dirty gold. Parishioners in England and Wales created gold petition chains, which were handed into local stores of Argos and Ernest Jones (amongst others), championing the rights of those affected by mining. As a result, 7 major UK jewellery retailers signed up to the rules, along with 69 more internationally, thanks to the No Dirty Gold campaign in the USA. CAFOD campaigners also lobbied UK mining companies. Following a CAFOD investigation into severe water contamination, staff from a mining company in Honduras now face criminal charges over mine pollution.

2008: UK Climate Change Act

We lobbied our MPs for three key changes to this piece of legislation – annual checkpoints, more ambitious emission cuts, and the inclusion of emissions from shipping and aviation - and we got them all. As a result, the UK became the first country in the world to make emissions cuts a legal requirement.

2009: Climate Justice Over 60,000 CAFOD supporters took action in their parishes and pews, taking personal steps to live more simply and sustainably, and also calling for a fair, ambitious and legally binding global deal on climate change from our world leaders. Global pressure from campaigners drew world leaders to the talks for the first time ever. The talks ended in stalemate but the pressure for ambitious action continues to mount.

2010: Dropping Haiti’s Debt In response to a global outcry, US$748 million of Haiti’s international debt was cancelled. Thanks to you, millions of pounds of former debt was instead used to help Haitians recover and rebuild from the earthquake. Pressure on world leaders also led to a fund being established so that other poor countries can now access debt relief following a disaster.

2010: Saving effective aid Thanks to public pressure, all three UK political parties agreed to ring-fence aid. In the last year, UK aid has provided treatment for HIV to 100,000 people, vaccinated 3 million children against measles, provided12,000 classrooms and trained over 100,000 teachers in developing countries (amongst other things).

2011: Open up the books Gas, oil and mining generate huge wealth, but it rarely reaches the poorest people. You lobbied for legislation requiring companies to publish what they pay developing countries, so the world’s poorest people get a fair share of their country’s natural resources. The UK government backed the idea and the EU has put forward strong proposals for new legislation.

2011: UK Bribery Act CAFOD campaigners lobbied MPs to ensure the Bribery Act came into force, despite delays and big business pressure. UK companies now face prosecution if employees or others acting on their behalf are found to have engaged in bribery anywhere in the world: a major step forward in the fight against corruption.

2011: Don’t drop the ball

More than 13,000 CAFOD supporters called on the UK government to champion a Green Climate Fund at climate change talks in Durban. The Fund has now been set up – we need to keep up the pressure to make sure this money gives long-term support to the communities that need it most.

In our photos... Panos

Annie Bungaroth

Sebastian Gordon

Sean Sprague

Sebastian Gordon


Simon Rawles

Laura Storr

Zarina Holmes

Marcus Perkins/ Tearfund

Marcella Haddad

Geoff Crawford

Katy Harris

Mike Noyes

Nana Anto-Awuakye

Cartoons by Claud Mba

Thank you! And don’t stop campaigning!

Campaigning works!  

Over the last two decades, you've helped to achieve tremendous change. Here are some of your finest hours.

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