Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Is Your Town Fairtrade?‏

International Fairtrade Certification MarkImage via WikipediaMaking your town Fairtrade aims to bring communities together by making businesses and local authorities work towards a common goal. That common goal is the creation of a system that puts people first, not profits, the essence of Fair trade.

Where the idea of a Fairtrade town originates

The first town to gain the status of a Fairtrade town was Garstang in Lancashire when it became the World's first Fairtrade town in April 2000, which went on to inspire others to achieve Fairtrade status in their own cities, boroughs, villages, islands and counties across the country. There are currently over 300 Fairtrade towns and 200 currently working towards the status. The inspiration has moved outside the UK to other countries wanting to do their part for Fairtrade.

Five things you need to do to gain status:

Step1: Local councils must pass a resolution supporting Fairtrade and serve Fairtrade products in meetings and their canteen.

Step 2: A range of Fairtrade products must be available at local shops, cafes and catering establishments.

Step 3: Fairtrade products must be used by a number of local workplaces and educational establishments, faith communities and other community organisations.

Step 4: Attract media coverage and organise events to gain popular support for the campaign.

Step 5: A local Fairtrade steering group must meet on a regular basis to ensure continued support for Fairtrade Town status. The composition of your steering group should be composite of your community overall.

London, an inspiration

London gained status this year and has helped make the UK the capital of Fairtrade. Their new status means you won't be far away from Fairtrade products when you are in the cities cafes and stores. The fact that such a large city has managed to gain support for Fairtrade and meet the criteria should inspire smaller towns and cities to follow suit.

What you will be helping to prevent

By campaigning to get your town or city Fairtrade status, you will be helping the world's poorest people gain a fair wage for the work they do and liberate them from the common factors that stop this happening such as trade barriers, third world debt and exploitative middlemen keeping their workers in poverty while they cash in. Although consumers realise that there are workers being exploited in order to supply them with affordable products, many people don't know how they can help prevent this but Fairtrade creates that avenue to make a difference.

If you want to see more Fairtrade product on offer in your area, then why not help your town or city to gain status, there are lots of ways to do this listed on various Fairtrade websites.

John McE writes articles on a number of subjects including Fairtrade products and campaigns. For more about Fairtrade products see http://www.cafedirect.co.uk
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