Tonbridge strives for continued Fairtrade

Last Updated:

Last Updated: 17 Sep 2019 3:35pm

Tonbridge is aiming to continue its commitment to Fairtrade principles for a second year by submitting a renewal application to the Fairtrade Foundation by 22 October 2019.

Tonbridge first became a Fairtrade town in October last year, following a two year campaign by Tonbridge Town Team in partnership with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council.  As part of the campaign, many retailers pledged to sell more than four Fairtrade products and eateries began serving Fairtrade tea and coffee. Since then many more retailers and eateries have joined the pledge to support Fairtrade, and faith groups, schools, voluntary groups and local businesses have also embraced the Fairtrade message by promoting it in their working practices.

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.

A Fairtrade Steering Group meets monthly in Tonbridge to review Fairtrade practices in shops and cafes and to promote Fairtrade products to new and existing businesses and local schools and community/faith groups and to encourage participation in Fairtrade activities, particularly Fairtrade Fortnight.

Chair of the Fairtrade Steering Group, Borough Councillor Frixos Tombolis, says: "People have been working incredibly hard to keep momentum going and continue the Fairtrade plight. I would like to extend our thanks to all those who have supported the scheme, especially our local M&S, who have been a fantastic support to the group by providing a meeting venue for the steering group and have sponsored local events. I am also delighted that the new conference facilities at Tonbridge Castle will be providing Fairtrade refreshments, thus underlining the Council’s commitment to this very worthwhile initiative”

The FAIRTRADE Mark independently certifies that products meet economic, social and environmental standards. As such, it is the most widely recognised ethical mark worldwide.

For more information about the FAIRTRADE Mark and how to apply for Fairtrade status, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk.

For more information and to find out how to get involved in Fairtrade Tonbridge, please contact economic.regeneration@tmbc.gov.uk