Inspiration and Challenge at ‘Best Ever’ International Fair Trade Towns Conference in Bristol
240 delegates from 20 countries across the world gathered in Bristol on the 4th and 5th of July for the 9th International Fair Trade Towns Conference to explore ‘Fair Trade for Sustainability’ as part of the city’s European Green Capital major events programme.
This wide-range of delegates came from across Europe, the Lebanon, Ghana, USA, Colombia and Japan. They heard from Fatima Ismael, environmental expert from Fairtrade Co-operative Soppexcca in Nicaragua, how climate change is reducing coffee yields and threatening the livelihoods of millions of farmers in developing countries. Harriet Lamb, CEO at Fairtrade International, explained how Fairtrade is working with farmers to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, as well as employing increasingly sustainable farming methods as part of the Fairtrade standards, to ensure resilience and sustainability in a changing climate.
The Conference concluded with the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, and two mayors from Fairtrade towns in Lebanon, who had attended the Conference, signing The Bristol Resolution, committing to take one step for Fairtrade that will contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These are due to be released in September and focus on both people and planet, just as Fairtrade does.
Another exciting announcement at the Conference came from CLAC, the Fairtrade Producer Network in the Caribbean and Latin America, who are launching a Fairtrade Towns and Villages campaign in Producer countries in these regions, recognising the importance of this movement to develop Fairtrade.
A new film was produced for the Conference, ‘How Green is Fairtrade?’, and its premiere marked the start of the weekend.. It encapsulates all the issues raised at the event and can be viewed here : https://vimeo.com/123425704
96% of delegates rated the Conference Excellent or Very Good, with many of them calling it ‘the best
ever’. 72% of them will use the information they learnt at the Conference to connect with local sustainability groups and 86% would definitely recommend Bristol as a place to visit.
Across the city, the public connected with the Conference through Fairtrade activities in the Bristol 2015 Lab on Harbourside, and the Make Sunday Special on Sunday 5th being Fairtrade themed with Fairtrade markets and family activities.