Fairtrade gives power back to the producers and consumers. Producers get fair wages, good working conditions, help with the development of products and marketing: consumers can choose to make a difference by buying Fairtrade products whenever they can.
In 2002 Chelmsford TUC wrote to the Essex Weekly News and called for greater support for fair trade. This met sharp opposition from three individuals but we persisted with our campaign. In 2003 we linked up with Oxfam, and on 29 May we called for a meeting of all interested parties to turn Chelmsford in to a Fairtrade town. Twenty-five people representing fourteen local organisations attended the inaugural meeting of Chelmsford Fairtrade Action Group in Essex Record Office.
A Steering Group was established with faith groups, co-operators, trade unionists and community groups participating. Since then we have held several public meetings with hundreds attending. A local Fairtrade Directory was published and the Chelmsford Fairtrade Town Campaign website was established. In 2012, after Chelmsford became a city the title was changed to Chelmsford City Fairtrade Campaign. The website contains a wealth of information and links to other Fairtrade groups in Essex.
Of major importance, and with all-party support, the Borough/City Council and Essex County Council have both passed a motion in support of Fairtrade, and several schools, churches, employers, individuals have given their backing to our campaign.
Then, on 15 December 2004, Malcolm Burgess, Chairman of the Campaign, and Malcolm Wallace representing the Trades Council, and Cllr. David Lee representing the Borough, signed the formal application for Fairtrade status. Chelmsford became a Fairtrade Town on 6 January 2005.
FAIRTRADE IN YOUR SCHOOL
The Fairtrade Foundation provides an excellent educational resource pack for schools. “Fairtrade in your School”. This enables pupils to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to play an effective role in society at national, local and international levels. It also provides suggestions for a School Fairtrade Campaign, provides teaching resources, hints for assemblies and worksheets. “Fairtrade in your School” also assists in providing knowledge about fairness, social justice, respect for democracy and diversity.
WHY BECOME A FAIRTRADE SCHOOL
HOW DOES YOUR SCHOOL BECOME A FAIRTRADE SCHOOL?
The Co-operative Group has a special "Make your School Fairtrade Friendly" Pack and some excellent photographs which can be downloaded.
The Co-operative College has a section on its website which explores Fair trade in depth. It helps students to develop their understanding of Fair Trade values and social justice. To access the course go to www.school.coop.
Make Poverty History
Make Poverty History is a campaigning coalition of over 350 trade unions, charities, non-governmental organisations and faith bodies. Their objective is to commit the world’s leaders to trade justice, debt cancellation and more aid for the millions who suffer daily as a result of poverty, hunger, AIDS and exploitation. As a mark of their solidarity, trade unionists throughout the world are wearing Make Poverty History white bands. These can be ordered from TUC Publications, Congress House, Great Russell Street WC1B 3LS or telephone 020 7467 1294. The minimum order is five for £5.