Oscar and BAFTA-winning actor Colin Firth has been a passionate and dedicated activist for Oxfam for more than a decade. An advocate and humanitarian, he has lobbied for trade reform in Europe and appealed for donations to aid populations affected by food shortages and fluctuating food prices funds.
For more than 10 years, Oscar and BAFTA-winning actor Colin Firth has been a passionate and dedicated activist for Oxfam. As one of the main supporters of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, Firth has lobbied on behalf of millions of poor people struggling to overcome unfair trade rules. In 2004, he met the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva. In 2005, he traveled to Brussels to meet the European Union Trade Commissioner, and in 2007, Firth met with then United Kingdom's Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the UK's Trade Minister. An educated advocate, Firth has shown an enormous commitment to understanding and contributing to complex trade negotiations.
In 2005, Firth traveled to Ethiopia, where he met coffee farmers struggling to bear the burden of collapsed world coffee prices. Until recently, Firth was a director of Café Progreso, a chain of fair trade coffee shops set up jointly by Oxfam in the UK and a group of coffee-growing cooperatives.
Following the trip, Firth lobbied on behalf of Ethiopian coffee farmers in their dispute with Starbucks over rights to the names of some of the country's most famous coffees. Ownership of such trademarks enables farmers to charge a higher price for their products. Starbucks has since agreed to recognize Ethiopia's ownership of the names, and not to block Ethiopian attempts to win trademarks for them.
Firth also participated in a worldwide photo campaign of celebrities such as Bono, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe, Minnie Driver, and others who were photographed “dumped” in food commodities such as rice, coffee, corn, and milk to raise awareness about unfair trade rules.
As a humanitarian, Firth appealed for funds in 2008 to expand Oxfam’s emergency response in Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, and Kenya, as soaring food prices left millions on the edge of starvation. In the same year, he joined a host of stars including Scarlett Johansson and Sir David Attenborough to call on world leaders to tackle climate change at the UN climate negotiations in Poland.
Most recently, First supported Oxfam's work in Haiti after the earthquake by donating for auction the opportunity to attend the premiere of "A Single Man."
In addition, Firth, who won an Oscar in 2011 for "The King's Speech," has helped highlight issues and rally support by speaking to the media, writing opinion pieces and columns, and even guest editing an issue of Italian Vanity Fair. He has participated in fundraising initiatives that have generated thousands for Oxfam’s global programs.
In 2006, Firth won the European Voice Campaigner of the Year Award for representing the interests of poor countries at World Trade Organization talks. In 2008, he was awarded the inaugural Philanthropist of the Year Award by The Hollywood Reporter. In 2009, he received the BAFTA Britannia Humanitarian Award.