17 June 2005


City granted Fair Trade status

Campaigners raised a cup of Fairtrade coffee on Thursday morning to toast the announcement that Belfast has been named a ‘Fairtrade City’.
The Fairtrade Foundation confirmed this week that Belfast was the latest city to be granted Fairtrade City status.

For the past nine months, Fairtrade Belfast has been working to raise awareness of the plight of producers in developing countries – particularly coffee, cocoa and tea growers – and guarantee them a fair deal for their product.

At the moment, almost 100 shops and cafés in Belfast sell or serve Fairtrade products, and the number continues to rise. Fairtrade Belfast currently is working with many more hotels and restaurants, and their suppliers, to offer Fairtrade products to their customers.

Tony Weekes, Chairman of Fairtrade Belfast, pointed out that the city and its people had a long history of commitment to ethical trading.

"In the late 18th century, Thomas Russell – the first Linenhall librarian – organised and led a successful campaign to boycott sweetmeats in protest against the slavery used in sugar plantations in the West Indies.

"Also in the 18th century, Belfast was the first city in these islands to ban ships involved in the slave trade from its harbour," said Tony at a special Fairtrade coffee morning held in The Spires shopping centre.

He added: "The granting of Fairtrade City status is just one step on a long journey to providing a better life for those perceived to be less fortunate than ourselves."

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Wallace Browne, called on the people of Belfast to make a conscious decision to help producers in developing countries build better lives for themselves.

"It is such a simple thing for consumers to choose Fairtrade products, and yet it is a small change that makes a big difference.

"The Fairtrade system not only means paying a fairer price but also guarantees a long-term trading commitment, allowing communities a real chance to plan and build for a brighter future," said the Lord Mayor.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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