West Sussex has been awarded Fairtrade county status for its commitment to Fairtrade principles, following a two year long campaign which involved a contribution by Fairtrade East Grinstead.
West Sussex is now officially a Fairtrade County, after West Sussex County Council made a resolution in June 2015 to actively promote Fairtrade to consumers, businesses and community groups in the area.
As part of the campaign, retailers have pledged to sell more than four Fairtrade products and eateries have served Fairtrade tea and coffee. The campaign also secured support from other Fairtrade towns and villages in West Sussex* in addition to faith groups, schools and voluntary groups, Fairtrade West Sussex also lobbied businesses to promote the Fairtrade message in their working practices.
Sue Joy, Convenor of both Fairtrade West Sussex and Fairtrade East Grinstead said “Both Groups are delighted that the Fairtrade Foundation has agreed to Fairtrade County designation. The Groups look forward to working in close partnership with West Sussex County Council in the future to ensure that Fairtrade is known throughout the County at every level."
Adam Gardner, Communities Campaigns Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “We are delighted to welcome the county of West Sussex 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 apply 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. For more information about the FAIRTRADE Mark and how to apply for Fairtrade status, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk.
*Fairtrade West Sussex comprises these local steering groups:
Fairtrade Adur, Fairtrade Arundel, Fairtrade Burgess Hill, Fairtrade Chichester, Fairtrade East Grinstead, Fairtrade Horsham, Fairtrade Pulborough and Fairtrade Worthing.