Bridgnorth became a Fairtrade town in 2003. With the Shropshire Fairtrade coalition folding recently, supporting our own local Fairtrade status is clearly even more important, and Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce is looking at ways to do that.
Fairtrade products are available in a number of places in the town, and the Town Hall uses them in the refreshments it serves. The Chamber is encouraging its members to make the effort to use Fairtrade products where possible and plans to promote those that do so. It is hoped that one of the Chamber’s larger members will agree to become a Flagship Employer, and use Fairtrade products in its canteen for employees.
Chairman Steve Robbins spoke about the Fairtrade Foundation, “Associations of farmers work collectively with the Fairtrade Foundation to maximise the income of each member. In this way they have a chance to compete in the World market, something that otherwise would not be possible. The Foundation insists on certain standards of land management, ensuring sustainable production, and in return members get a fair price for their products. The Foundation also then pays a premium to each association, and this benefits their local community.”
Mr Robbins stressed that although Fairtrade is a Worldwide initiative, businesses in the UK also play their part and can benefit from it. “Continental Clothing Company is one of Britain’s largest wholesale t-shirt manufacturers, and is about to launch a new range of Fairtrade organic cotton t-shirts and sweatshirts following numerous requests from the market. This sends a strong signal to the rest of the fashion industry that there is growing customer demand for ethically sourced clothing. I believe this demand exists for all products, and there are opportunities for local companies to prosper by embracing this. The Chamber would like to see this and will be offering assistance and advice from the Bridgnorth Fairtrade Committee.”