New international Fairtrade Towns website goes live
juli 13th 2009
A new International Fairtrade Towns website that will connect nearly 700 Fairtrade towns in 18 countries will be launched today (Tuesday 14 July 2009) by the Fairtrade Foundation with partners across Europe.
The new website at www.fairtradetowns.org combines information about the history of Fairtrade Towns internationally, a Google map, the latest news and events, downloadable resources and tools. It also has an exciting interactive social networking section where campaigners can share ideas through forums and discussion groups. It’s currently available in eight languages and is part of a three-year European Union funded Fairtrade Towns in Europe project launched in 2007. The site has been designed by award-winning digital communication company Reading Room.
Founder of Garstang the world’s first Fairtrade Town, Fairtrade Towns Coordinator Bruce Crowther says: ‘We hope the new website will help inspire, inform and unite Fairtrade Towns across Europe and provide Fairtrade Town activists with a space to share ideas, resources and advice online.’
The Fairtrade Towns movement has been rapidly growing since Garstang became the first Fairtrade Town in the UK in 2001. International Fairtrade cities including Brussels, Copenhagen, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm and San Francisco are now part of a collective peoples’ push, changing the way trade is done. Earlier, this year an International Towns Conference conference took place in Lyon bringing together representatives from more than 17 countries.
Blanca Sanchez, Fair Trade Towns Coordinator, from Spanish non-governmental organisation IDEAS Commercio Justo welcomes the new site. She says: ‘This site will join thousands of people from different countries. Fairtrade Towns is an amazing international movement that is helping to create a fairer world with small gestures and thanks to the international Fairtrade Towns site, campaigners from all around the world will be able to share and learn from others’ experiences.’
In the UK, there are currently 441 Fairtrade Towns. To become a Fairtrade Town (including villages, cities, islands, zones, boroughs and counties) five goals must be met, including getting local businesses, workplaces and community groups to use Fairtrade products, thereby supporting farmers in developing countries. More information about the five goals is available on the website.
In a recent survey by GlobeScan and commissioned by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member, around 14,500 people in 15 countries were asked about their shopping habits. Results revealed that almost three quarters of shoppers believe it is not enough for companies to do no harm, but that they should actively support community development in developing countries.
In 2008, worldwide sales of Fairtrade products grew by an impressive 22% in 2008 as consumers spent an estimated 2.9 billion Euros on Fairtrade products globally. Fairtrade sales grew by at least 50% in seven countries, including Australia and New Zealand (72%), Canada (67%), Finland (57%), Germany (50%), Norway (73%), and Sweden (75%). In the UK, sales of Fairtrade certified products increased by 43%.
In addition to being paid a price which covers the costs of sustainable production, producer organizations receive a Fairtrade Premium, additional income for community development projects. In 2008, the Fairtrade Premium contributed over €12 million to Fairtrade coffee farmers and over €11 million to Fairtrade banana farmers alone.
Bruce Crowther says: ‘The international Fairtrade Towns movement is growing and gathering momentum as the launch of this new website shows. This is an exciting time because Fairtrade started as a grassroots campaign. The growth of Fairtrade is testimony to the power of ordinary people working together who have changed the way trade works, to support farmers, their families and communities in developing countries.’