Professor educates York activists
Fair trade activists gathered at the Priory Street Centre, for the York Fair Trade Forum Annual General Meeting.
A full team of enthusiastic candidates was elected, to help run the group and its many activities that take place across the city. Helen Harrison gave an annual report which highlighted the thriving nature of the group.
Guest speaker, Professor Bob Doherty, of the University of York Business school, praised the role of grassroots activists in the Fair Trade movement. Although Fair Trade has become ‘mainstream’ in some senses, he argued that now, more than ever, Fair Trade activism is needed to encourage businesses to drive up their ethical standards. Shoppers who are concerned about the impact of their purchases on producers in developing countries, should support Fair Trade pioneering businesses such as: Divine Chocolate, Traidcraft and the Cooperative.
Bob argued that, it is businesses such as these, who go further to assist the well being of producers, and who are willing to innovate, helping to raise standards and introduce new products, that will take Fair Trade to the next level.
New look Fairer World
Fairer World, the renowned Fair Trade shop at 84 Gillygate, York, has a bright new look. Following a refurb earlier in the year, the emporium is sporting a fresh, modern style worthy of a TV makeover. Fairer World has York’s largest range of Fairtrade and fairly traded products including: food, beverages, crafts, gifts, jewellery, clothing and accessories.
On Friday 27th September (open 12 – 5pm) and Saturday 28th September (open 10am – 5pm) Fairer World will hold a Fair trade double bill event. This will take place at St. Helen’s Church, in St. Helen’s Square (near Betty’s). There will be a wide range of Fair Trade food for sale to tie in with the York Festival of Food & Drink. New crafts will be sold alongside Christmas cards & gifts. Not to be missed!
Trade Justice and the building collapse in Bangladesh
Trade Justice activists have called for retailers to take more responsibility for the safety of the people who are making the clothes that they sell.
The building collapse in Bangladesh, which resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries, is a stark example of what can happen when the safety of workers is ignored.
In addition to the responsibility of the authorities in Bangladesh, western retail companies who benefit from cheap labour, also have an obligation to ensure workers are safe.
William Gomes is a Trade Justice activist based in York but has lived for most of his life in Bangladesh. Together with Trade Justice activists, he has visited large clothing retailers in Leeds and York to talk about working conditions for garment workers and calling for the tightening up of ethical procurement policies.
William said; “I cried when I heard what had happened to the workers in the Rana Plaza. Many people have died making clothes for western retailers. They paid the price for our fashion.”
Read William’s article which was published in the Huffington Post: Bangladesh article.
World Fair Trade Day
World Fair Trade Day on May 11th was celebrated in style with a sold-out event at St. Columba’s in Priory Street.
A delicious 3 course Fairtrade meal was served.
The main course was a scrummy Fairtrade curry produced by Goji, the vegetarian restaurant on Goodramgate.
Fabulous entertainment was provided by the Sounds Fun Choir and the Djembebash drummers.
Our thanks go out to Helen & Sue who organised the event alongside a devoted band of helpers.
Following on from this success, the York Fair Trade Forum hope to repeat the event next year.
“If it’s possible, it will be even bigger and better” stated a Forum spokesperson.
Fairtrade Beyond 2015
The United Nations Millenium development goals were set to be achieved by 2015.
As the deadline approaches, the UN is discussing what sort of framework should be in place beyond 2015.
The Fairtrade Foundation is joining the global Fair Trade movement in calling for a future international development framework that supports concrete means to achieve sustainable and inclusive development. This should include a fairer world trade system enabling the poorest communities to work their way out of poverty.
Thousands of local leaders across the globe have been contacted by Fair Trade supporters to sign the Fairtrade Beyond 2015 Declaration.
Councillor Cunningham-Cross, the Fairtrade Councillor in York, was eager to get behind the campaign. She said: “I have asked the Leader of City of York Council to sign this pledge and make an important statement about global development and the role York as a city can play in that. We want a development framework that enables small producers in poorer countries to trade their way out of poverty, a truly sustainable form of development.”