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Sign announcing the Belgian city of Leuven's Fair Trade Town status

The Fair Trade Towns (not Fairtrade Towns) campaign is the result of a grass-roots citizens movement that started in the UK in 2001 (see below). It allows citizens to get together in order to self-proclaim their town (or other local geographical area) as a region that complies with a few general Fair Trade criteria, that can be adapted from country to country but which retain their main elements.

In some countries, the Fair Trade Town became a status awarded by a recognized Fair Trade certification body (i.e. the Fairtrade Foundation in the United Kingdom, TransFair Canada in Canada etc.) describing an area which is committed to the promotion of Fair Trade certified goods. By extension, the organizations also award the statuses of Fair Trade City, Fair Trade Village, Fair Trade Zone, Fair Trade Borough, Fair Trade Island, Fair Trade Country and Fair Trade University.


The Fair Trade Town campaign was first launched in 2001 in Garstang, Lancashire, under the initiative of Bruce Crowther, a local Oxfam supporter, and the Garstang Oxfam Group. The initiative, which aimed to promote Fair Trade certified goods in the town, was highly successful: within a couple of months, awareness of the Fairtrade Mark jumped to over 70% in the town while sales of Fairtrade certified goods increased significantly. Moreover, over the course of the campaign, Garstang developed links with Fair Trade cocoa farming communities in West Africa, which led to the twin town relationship with New Koforidua, Ghana.[1]

As the activities at Garstang gained wider attention, the Fairtrade Foundation launched a set of Fair Trade Town Goals and an Action Guide to encourage others to follow in the town's success. During the 2001-2006 period, over 209 British towns were awarded the Fair Trade status by the Fairtrade Foundation. In October 2009 448 British towns and 312 towns worldwide awarded the Fair Trade status (in total 760). In November 2012, there were over 1200 worldwide.

In an attempt to replicate the success of the Fairtrade Foundation's Fairtrade Town program, a Europe-wide program called "Fair Trade Towns in Europe", part-funded by the European Commission, was launched jointly by several Fair Trade labelling initiatives.

In November 2006, the first ever European Fair Trade Towns conference was hosted at London Southbank University. The goals of the conference were to

  • identify and develop procedures to strengthen the links within and between local communities and private and public organisations;
  • develop strategies to enable the UK Fair Trade Towns model to meet the requirements of each individual country.

Following the success of the first event, a second Fair Trade towns conference was subsequently held in Brussels in January 2008. The sixth conference was held in Poznan (Poland) in November 2012, and the 2013 and 2014 international conferences are foreseen to take place in Oslo (Norway) and Kumamoto (Japan), respectively.

There are currently Fair Trade Towns in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brasil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. See List of Fairtrade settlements for a list of current Fair Trade settlements.


Sign announcing Wolfville's (Canada) Fair Trade Town status

Formal guidelines have been produced jointly by several FLO member Fairtrade labelling initiatives. In order to be awarded Fair Trade status, an area must meet five criteria (exact numbers and proportions vary from country to country):

  • Local council passes a resolution supporting Fair Trade, and agrees to serve Fair Trade tea and coffee at its meetings and in its offices and canteens.
  • A range of (at least two) Fair Trade products is readily available in the area’s shops and local cafés/catering establishments.
    • Target for number of retail outlets: population of < 10000 - 1 retail outlet per 2500; population < 200000 - 1 retail outlet per 5000; population of < 500000 - 1 retail outlet per 10000.
    • Target for number of catering outlets: population of < 10000 - 1 catering outlet per 5000; population < 200000 - 1 catering outlet per 10000; population of < 500000 - 1 catering outlet per 20000
  • Fair Trade products are used by a number of local work places (estate agents, hairdressers etc.) and community organisations (churches, schools etc.)
  • Attract media coverage and popular support for the campaign.
  • A local Fair Trade steering group is convened to ensure continued commitment to its Fair Trade Town status.

Other initiatives[edit]

In 2002 The Wales Fair Trade Forum, a network of development NGOs and Fair Trade campaigners, began working to make Wales the world's first Fair Trade country. The idea was based upon the Fair Trade Town scheme run by the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK. In 2005 The Welsh Assembly Government agreed to back the idea and in 2006 Fair Trade groups from Scotland and Wales agreed the criteria for becoming a Fair Trade country.

The draft criteria for a "Fair Trade Nation" are:[1]

  • 75% of the population should purchase a Fair Trade product every year.
  • 40% of people regularly buy Fair Trade products.
  • All local authorities have active Fair Trade groups working towards Fair Trade status.
  • 55% local authority areas with Fair Trade status with 10% annual increase in following years

Wales became the world's first Fair Trade nation in June 2008.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Garstang Fair Trade Town (2002). Garstang Fair Trade Town. URL accessed on December 14, 2006.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairtrade_Town — Please support Wikipedia.
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224 news items

Chard & Ilminster News
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 22:03:45 -0700

ILMINSTER could soon become a Fairtrade Town, if councillors back an idea campaigners have put forward. Roger Gurner, of South Petherton, told the council last week it would help bring people into Ilminster He said: “People who want to support this can ...

Garstang Today

Garstang Today
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 07:03:45 -0700

This week the group issued a call for ideas to be shared about how best to use the Fairtrade movement to benefit local groups and residents in what is officially the world's first Fairtrade town. The initiative comes following the decision that the FIG ...


Sun, 13 Jul 2014 10:19:33 -0700

Aber viele Aktionen wie diese haben zusammengenommen Moers den Titel der „Fairtrade Town“ eingebracht. Und Moers ist nur der jüngste Zugang. Es ist eine kleine Welle, die durch die Ruhrgebietsstädte rollt. Oberhausen, Essen, Duisburg, Bochum, ...

Barry and District News

Barry and District News
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 02:16:25 -0700

BARRY Town Council sets up its stall at the Barry Scouts & Guides annual fete on Saturday in its ongoing efforts to promote Barry as a Fairtrade town. Councillors Nic and Shirley Hodges represented the council at the event in Romilly Park, for the ...

Allgemeine Zeitung

Allgemeine Zeitung
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 18:02:01 -0700

Fünf Kriterien müssen erfüllt sein, damit Alzey sich Fairtrade-Town nennen darf. Demnach muss es zunächst einen Beschluss des Stadtrates zur Unterstützung des fairen Handels geben und ein Antrag beim gemeinnützigen Verein Transfair gestellt werden.
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 21:03:02 -0700

Zirndorf ist Fairtrade-Town. Das Zertifikat wird Ende September feierlich übergeben - 04.07.2014 06:00 Uhr. ZIRNDORF - Die Bibertstadt darf sich nach Roßtal und Langenzenn als dritte Kommune im Landkreis Fürth mit dem Titel „Fairtrade-Stadt“ schmücken.

Bexhill Observer

Bexhill Observer
Sat, 05 Jul 2014 07:15:00 -0700

The Fairtrade committee are at present in the process of renewing the application to retain Fairtrade Town Status. They need to hear from any business, company, shop, church, cafe, guest house, hotel, organisation, which is either selling or using ...
Oxford Mail
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 23:09:00 -0700

Cyclists at the event began in the world's 1000th fairtrade town, Witney, and cycled through Woodstock, Kidlington and Oxford. Other participants included Janet Warren, of Kidlington Fair Trade Group, who cycled from Woodstock to Kidlington on July 5.

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