Photo credit: The FIG tree

 fttAt the time of writing there are 1,535 Fair Trade Towns in 25 countries stretching across all six major continents. They are approaching 600 Fairtrade Towns in the UK, where the movement first started and over 250 in Germany. The Belgian region of Flanders is expected to celebrate 50% of all towns becoming Fair Trade Towns later this year and Switzerland has just launched their own campaign. Fair Trade Towns vary in size from the Scottish island of Fair Isle with a population of just 65 to London with a population of seven million, but the strong emerging campaign in Seoul, Korea will ensure that London’s proud status as the world’s largest Fair Trade City will not remain forever.  It’s hard to believe that all this first took root in the small English market town of Garstang when the residents boldly declared Garstang as the world’s first Fair Trade Town at a Public Meeting in April 2000.ftt

Not only are Fair Trade Towns branching around the world however, but they are also adapting to different cultures, different needs and in doing so becoming more inclusive. The five founding goals developed in the UK were originally aimed at promoting the FAIRTRADE Mark hence the movement in the UK is still named Fairtrade Towns. Although the five goals still remain the central core for all national Fair Trade Town campaigns worldwide they have now been adapted to be inclusive of the wider Fair Trade movement, known as ‘The Big Tent’ approach first introduced at the 6th International Fair Trade Towns conference in Poznan, Poland in 2012.

The International Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee, formed as a result of the Poznan conference developed the International Fair Trade Towns guidelines that state: “National campaigns are free to add to the five goals as they feel is appropriate in their own country, but are strongly recommended not to remove any of the founding goals”. A 6th goal was added in Belgium to support local producers and in Japan they went further by adding criteria aimed at promoting the local economy as well a Fair Trade, emphatically demonstrating that the two can work side by side. In April the WFTO Board nominated Tadeusz Makulski as their representative on the International Steering Committee.

Fair Trade Towns is a grassroots movement that was initially led by campaigners in so called ‘consumer’ countries to promote the sale of Fair Trade products and raise awareness of fair trade. The initiative has also been taken up in ‘producer’ countries such as Ghana, Costa Rica and Brazil however, (although the Steering Committee accept that in reality all countries are both ‘consumer’ and ‘producer’ countries) in order to promote producers and their communities. The Steering Committee encourages Fair Trade Towns to be utilised in this way in order to create the broadest possible base of stakeholders, all of which should feel responsible for the campaign at the national level.

The greatest strength of Fair Trade Towns is that they can and should involve everyone regardless of the work you do, the school your children go to, the church, mosque, synagogue or temple you worship in or what you do in your leisure time. Fair Trade Towns are about YOU so what are YOU waiting for.

For further information contact Bruce Crowther the International Fair Trade Towns Ambassador at brucecrowther300 (at) gmail.com

Bruce Crowther

International Fair Trade Towns Ambassador

The FIG Tree, Garstang, UK

During the 2013 Belgian Fair Trade Week (Semaine du Commerce Équitable), taking place during October (02-12) in Brussels, the CTB (Trade for Development Centre) will be supporting the activities of several actors engage in or promoting Fair Trade.

WFTO-Europe is one of the participants to this annual event, with a project called Un monde équitable, une personne à la fois. The main goal of WFTO-Europe’s activities is education and the promotion of Fair Trade and its principles, seeking to raise public awareness in general, but also giving an opportunity to people interested in Fair Trade to express their individual support.

Hence, WFTO-Europe’s project Un monde équitable, une personne à la fois invites us each to see public support for Fair Trade values as something that can be built step by step, one person at a time. Photos of individuals holding the Fair Trade speech bubble ‘I support Fair Trade’ will be available in different languages. The final goal is to use these photos to build a world map of people supporting Fair Trade.

 

Our main objectives are to:

1)  Inform the public about Fair Trade and the European movement that supports it;

2)  Give visibility to the positive impacts of Fair Trade on Global Development;

3)  Invite the public to get involved in discussions concerning Fair Trade;

4)  Give visibility to the general public support towards Fair Trade principles and values.

VOTE4FT, the EC-funded project to which WFTO-Europe is a partner for three years, started to unfold in the beginning of January 2013.

Falling under the “EuropeAid Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development: Raising public awareness of development issues and promoting development education in the European Union” Call for Proposals, the project targets at engaging EU citizens in an EU-wide Fair Trade movement advocacy campaign, in order to achieve EU policies in support of Fair Trade and Fair Trade principles. This will be achieved by creating a dialogue between EU citizens, EU decision-makers and the Fair Trade movement representatives within the EU.

The campaign does not only encourage EU citizens to convey their views to EU decision-makers regarding EU policies related to Fair Trade, but also gives them the tools to act. It aims therefore at transforming the civil society from a mere passive receiver of information, to an active participant in the Fair Trade movement at large.  Political candidates running for the European Parliament elections of June 2014 are being targeted. Fair Trade actors within the EU will work as the liaison element between the civil and political parties, all with the aim of raising awareness about the situation of marginalised producers and workers in the South and that of generating action.

We will keep you informed on the progress of this project during 2013-2015!

VOTE4FT, or officially “Advocating together for EU Fair Trade policies” is a EC-funded project led by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), with partners and associates from 16 EU Member States.

 

Project Outcomes and News

Watch our video testimonials:

#2 Esther Mwanyama from Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Centre, Kenya, recorded by our partner FTAO.

VOTE4FT – Prodecer Testimonial #2

 

#1 Nabir Bordoloi of Ambootina Tea Grour, Darjeeling, India, recorded by CTM Altromercato

VOTE4FT – Producer Testimonial #1

 

This project is co-funded by the EuropeAid Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development programme.