At a council meeting on Thursday, City Council endorsed Fair Trade Vancouver's application to become a Fair Trade Town - the last step required to achieve the status, making Vancouver the first major city in Canada to do so.
“We want to be the greenest city in the world, and an important part of that is ensuring that our goods and services are produced and delivered in a responsible way,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s great that Vancouver will become the first major city in Canada to achieve Fair Trade Town status, and I hope many more cities will join this important effort.”
Fair Trade standards focus on improving the lives of the developing country producers who make our products, but also include product-specific environmental requirements. They help to ensure that farmers and producers have the freedom to choose a life that is in harmony with their local environments.
Jeff Geipel, Executive Director of Fair Trade Vancouver, says the Fair Trade Town requirements were mostly completed before the organization started the application process, largely due to the fact there is such widespread support for Fair Trade in the city. “This award results from the many citizens and community groups who have been asking for Fair Trade products when they shop.” Fair Trade products such as coffee, sugar, tea and tropical fruits are widely available in Vancouver supermarkets and restaurants, and availability is increasing as demand rapidly grows.
The Fair Trade Towns certification is awarded by TransFair Canada, a national Fair Trade certifier based in Ottawa, Ontario. Vancouver’s successful application makes it the first major Canadian city to achieve the Fair Trade Town status. Over the past ten years since Garstang, England became the first Fair Trade Town, more than 800 cities and towns in 19 countries have achieved the status, including other large cities like London, Paris and Rome.
Photo credit: Fair Trade Vancouver