Last Updated: 19 Nov 2018 11:19am
The Fairtrade Foundation has announced that Tonbridge has been awarded Fairtrade status for its commitment to Fairtrade principles.
The announcement follows a two-year campaign which saw Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council pass a resolution to support Tonbridge Town Team’s campaign to seek Fairtrade status for the town.
As part of the campaign, many retailers pledged to sell more than four Fairtrade products and more and more eateries began serving Fairtrade tea and coffee. The campaign also secured support from faith groups, schools and voluntary groups, as well as local businesses, which began promoting the Fairtrade message in their working practices.A steering group, chaired by Borough Councillor Frixos Tombolis, was formed several months ago to plan the campaign and encourage support.
Cllr Tombolis says: "People have been working incredibly hard to make all this happen and we are delighted we have now been granted Fairtrade Town status. I would like to extend our thanks to all those who have supported our efforts.”
Town Team chair, Howard Porter, adds: “This has been a long process but the work really starts now. We will be promoting Fairtrade products more and more over the coming months and aim to make a big splash during Fairtrade Fortnight in February/March next year.”
Nicolas Heslop, Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, comments: “I am delighted to hear that Tonbridge has now been granted Fairtrade Town status. This is timely as we have just launched our Draft Economic Regeneration Strategy consultation which we hope people will participate in and recognise that Fairtrade, along with other initiatives, is a part of making Tonbridge a great place to work, shop and socialise.”
Gareth Razzle, Store Manager of M&S Tonbridge, said: “We’re delighted to hear the fantastic news that Tonbridge has been awarded Fairtrade Town status, it’s recognition that will be welcomed by so many in our local community. M&S is an avid supporter of Fairtrade products and was the first retailer in the UK to convert all of its tea and coffee to Fairtrade. Visitors to our Tonbridge store can also purchase Fairtrade chocolate, bananas, wine and flowers from us.”
Adam Gardner, Communities Campaigns Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “We are delighted to welcome Tonbridge to the Fairtrade movement which now boasts more than 1,900 communities worldwide, taking practical steps to making a fairer world trade system a reality.
“Thanks to the support of the public and campaigners, an increasing number of farmers in developing countries are now selling their products on Fairtrade terms, bringing them a stable income, and the chance to trade their way out of poverty.
“Today, more than 1.6 million farmers and workers across 74 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system, but there is still a long way to go.”
Fairtrade helps small-scale farmers ensure they earn decent incomes and have long-term contracts with companies. In addition, they earn the Fairtrade Premium, which they invest in vital business, social and environmental projects.
Towns, cities, boroughs, villages, islands, counties and zones can apply for the Fairtrade Town status and join the movement towards a fairer world trade system. An area that applies for Fairtrade status must meet five criteria:
- Local council passes a resolution supporting Fairtrade, and agrees to serve Fairtrade tea and coffee Fairtrade at its meetings and canteens.
- At least four Fairtrade products can be purchased in the area's local shops and eateries.
- Fairtrade is effectively promoted to local businesses and community organisations.
- Attracting media coverage and popular support for the campaign.
- A local Steering Group must be established to ensure continued commitment to its Fairtrade Town status.
The FAIRTRADE Mark independently certifies that products meet economic, social and environmental standards. As such, it is the most widely recognised ethical mark worldwide.
Find out more information about the FAIRTRADE Mark and how to apply for Fairtrade status..