Elected Members ratified Council's application to become a Fairtrade Borough in February 2022.
What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is a global movement for change that works to guarantee a better deal for disadvantaged producers in the developing world, securing better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade. Its primary objective is to tackle poverty and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 2,5,8,12,13, 16 & 17 in the developing world.
Working through the concept of trade rather than aid, Fairtrade supports the development of thriving farming and worker communities and the protection of the environment in which they live and work.
Fairtrade tackles any use of child labour and/or human trafficking.
The Fairtrade system achieves a better deal for producers in the developing world, by offering them two major benefits: the “Fairtrade Minimum Price”, which is a guaranteed, minimum price paid by importers and buyers, which covers the cost of sustainable production; and an additional “Fairtrade Premium”, which is designated for social and economic development in the producing communities.
The farmers and workers themselves decide how the Fairtrade Premium will be spent within their community, hence, in real terms, it means investment in schools, transport, health care, sanitation, an improved environment, infrastructure and better business equipment and practices.
Why choose Fairtrade products?
By choosing Fairtrade certified products individuals and organizations can all play their part in alleviating poverty and access to world markets for the most marginalized farmers and producers in the developing world.
Fairtrade has a strong and active presence in both the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, represented by the Fairtrade Foundation and Fairtrade Ireland, respectively. A key area of activity for these national organisations is to raise awareness and understanding of trade issues, and to promote the buying of Fairtrade certified products as a way for everyone, no matter who they are, to use the power of their purchase to make a difference to the lives of farmers and workers in the developing world.
One of the ways in which this is achieved is through the “Fairtrade Community” initiative, whereby, local communities at borough, district, city, town or village level will be awarded Fairtrade status if they satisfy certain criteria set by the national organisations.
The Fairtrade certification mark was launched in 1995 with two products. Today there are over 6,000 products that bear the Fairtrade certification mark found across our retailers, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, catering and independent suppliers.
Why does Mid & East Antrim need this?
In 2017, Northern Ireland achieved Fairtrade devolved region status as have the other devolved regions of Scotland and Wales.
This regional Fairtrade status requires every council across Northern Ireland to play its active role in ensuring the entire council area (City, Borough or District) and all cities and towns above the population of 6,000 within the respective council area achieve Fairtrade status, hence the entire City/Borough/District becomes Fairtrade accredited. All of the other 10 Councils in Northern Ireland have achieved the Fairtrade status with only Mid and East Antrim Council to complete the process.
Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne have a legacy of supporting Fairtrade.
What does Mid & East Antrim need to do?
In order to achieve Fairtrade status Council must pass a resolution as follows:
- Acknowledge the very real contribution that Fairtrade makes to sustainable development, tackling poverty, and to improving the lives of people from some of the most disadvantaged farming communities in the developing world;
- Welcome the efforts of the UK Fairtrade Foundation, Fairtrade Ireland and the regional campaign with Northern Ireland as a Fairtrade devolved region, to raise awareness of the worldwide impact of unfair trade and the opportunities that Fairtrade provides to promote sustainable development;
- Provide civic leadership and active support for a campaign to achieve and maintain Fairtrade Borough status for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area;
- Nominate two Elected Members to the Fairtrade Steering Group, who will act as the rotating Chair or Co-Chairs;
- Appoint officer(s) from Council as administrative support;
- Seek to ensure that Fairtrade certified food and drink options are offered internally, in Council canteens and vending machines and that 100% Fairtrade coffee and tea is available for all internal meetings;
- Fairtrade certified products are included in procurement guidelines with subsequent annual review;
- Work in partnership with the media, businesses and local communities to raise awareness of Fairtrade issues and the opportunities for supporting Fairtrade throughout the Borough;
- Use influence to encourage the increased availability and use of Fairtrade products locally, including during Council organised events, hospitality and festivals;
- Encourage the active involvement of communities from across the Borough in the local Fairtrade Steering Group and campaign for Fairtrade status, including representatives from local schools, places of worship, businesses, charities and those interested in Fairtrade;
- Monitor progress on achieving and maintaining Fairtrade Borough status through production of an annual report;
In order to be awarded Fairtrade status for the Borough, local communities must meet certain criteria. The criteria, or goals, set by both the UK Foundation and Fairtrade Ireland are broadly similar and can be summarized as follows:
- Goal 1 - Council passes a resolution supporting Fairtrade, and agrees to serve Fairtrade products (for example, in meetings, offices and canteens), with the exploration and review of internal public procurement to include Fairtrade;
- Goal 2 - At least four Fairtrade product ranges are readily available in the area’s retail outlets (shops, supermarkets, newsagents, petrol stations, etc.) and two products served in local caterings outlets (cafes, restaurants, pubs, etc.) through a stock taking exercise of these establishments;
- Goal 3 - Local workplaces and community organisations, such as places of worship, and schools, are encouraged to support Fairtrade and to use Fairtrade products whenever possible;
- Goal 4 - Use is made of the media and events to raise awareness and understanding of Fairtrade across the community; and
- Goal 5 - A local Fairtrade steering group, which is representative of the local community and has representation from Council (elected representatives and staff), is convened to ensure the Fairtrade campaign continues to develop and gain new support.