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Winnipeg was officially designated Canada’s 25th Fair Trade Town on September 29, 2017

[Word version of this article]

WHAT IS A FAIR TRADE TOWN?

A Fair Trade Town is a community where people and organizations use their everyday choices and buying power to increase sales of FairTrade Certified products and bring about positive change for farmers and workers in developing countries. The Fair Trade Town program in Canada is part of a global movement that recognizes more than 1,850 communities in 32 countries that have taken steps to advance fair trade. There are 24 other Fair Trade Towns in Canada, including major cities like Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto; and in Manitoba, Gimli, Brandon and Selkirk. Winnipeg is now Canada’s 25th Fair Trade Town and Manitoba’s 4th.

Program qualifications are managed by the Canadian Fair Trade Network (www.cftn.ca) and Fairtrade Canada (www.fairtrade.ca).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A FAIR TRADE TOWN?

In order to be officially designated as a Fair Trade Town, a city must:

  1. Establish a Fair Trade Committee
  2. Make sure FairTrade Certified products (like coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, spices, wine and bananas) are available in retail and restaurant locations, in proportion to the size of the city’s population
  3. Actively engage the public and media through education and awareness events
  4. Demonstrate community support of fair trade
  5. Have political support and commitment to the campaign

WHAT IS THE ROLE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT IN SUPPORTING THE FAIRTRADE MOVEMENT?

As public procurers, we are always looking for goods and services that reduce environmental impact, and generate benefits for society and the economy. The standards behind the FairTrade Certified label embody these concepts. The standards:

  • Ensure producers receive prices that cover their average costs of sustainable production;
  • Provide an additional Fairtrade Premium which can be invested in projects that enhance social, economic and environmental development;
  • Facilitate long-term trading partnerships and enable greater producer control over the trading process; 
  • Set clear criteria to ensure that the conditions of production and trade of all FairTrade certified products are socially, economically fair and environmentally responsible. 

For these reasons, we’ve seen many public entities move towards purchasing FairTrade certified coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, bananas, etc.

IT IS MORE THAN JUST TOWNS IN OUR PROVINCE SOURCING FAIRTRADE CERTIFIED

Just like public procurers, many in our community purchase FairTrade certified labeled products to show their support for ethical standards.  This support has led to the development of Fair Trade designations for campuses, schools and workplaces etc.  The core objective of these programs is to bring about awareness of sustainable procurement and fair trade.

In addition to four Fair Trade Towns, we have three Fair Trade schools namely Stonewall Collegiate, St. James Collegiate and Gimli High School as well as a number of restaurants such as the Inn at the Forks and the Tundra Grill and workplaces such as the Winnipeg Airport Authority designated as Fair Trade in our province.  Further the list of interested entities is growing and growing. 

Collectively our efforts are making a big difference.  We are “thinking global when acting local” in Manitoba.  Now that’s sustainable!

 

 

 

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