Fair Trade Towns: What are They?

Fairtrade Town is defined in Wikipedia as “a status awarded by a recognised Fairtrade certification body describing an area which is committed to the promotion of Fairtrade certified goods. By extension, the organisations also award the statuses of Fairtrade City, Fairtrade Village, Fairtrade Zone, Fairtrade Borough, Fairtrade Island, Fairtrade County and Fairtrade University.”

The Fairtrade Town campaign was first launched in 2001 in Garstang, Lancashire in the UK by a local Oxfam supporter and the Garstang Oxfam Group. The initiative, which aimed to promote Fairtrade certified goods in the town, was highly successful with the awareness and sales of Fairtrade products significantly increasing. As these activities in Garstang gained wider recognition, the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK introduced a set of Fairtrade Town Goals and an Action Guide. In the UK, there are now around 320 Fairtrade Towns as well as more than 4,000 Fairtrade Churches, 35 Fairtrade Synagogues, 60 Fairtrade Universities and a newly launched network of Fairtrade Schools.

Following the success in the UK, a European program called “Fairtrade Towns in Europe”was launched. Fairtrade Towns have continued to grow worldwide and are currently in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. To see the full list of towns visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Fairtrade_settlements

In Australia, Fair Trade Communities is an initiative developed by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ) in order to provide a generic set of goals and guidelines which institutions and communities can adopt to assist in promoting fair trade within their area of influence. The program can be applied to a wide range of institutions including councils, government offices, universities, schools, faith groups and workplaces. To view the specific guidelines developed for these various institutions visithttp://www.fairtrade.com.au/FTAANZ/fairtradecommunities

Participation in Fair Trade Communities helps institutions meet corporate and social responsibility goals, build awareness among consumers of inequalities in international trade, empower people to make socially responsible choices and provide a higher standard of living for disadvantaged producers in developing countries. With Fair Trade Fortnight 2008 approaching, why not consider becoming a Fair Trade Community.

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