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You are here:home > Living > Sustainable lifestyles > Fairtrade


What is Fair Trade?

Most people in the Third World could earn a living for themselves and their families if they were given a fair chance. Too often they are denied that opportunity by unjust trading systems that benefit us and not them. Trade barriers, Third World debt and exploitative middlemen keep the poorest workers trapped in their poverty. Today, over a billion people live on less than a dollar a day, and half the world's population are living on less than two dollars a day.

Many consumers realise that wealth is unequally distributed and that goods from developing countries are often sold at prices that do not afford their producers a decent standard of living. Fair Trade is one way of fighting poverty. Fair Trade makes it possible to shop with a difference and make a direct impact on the lives and well being of Third World producers.

Southampton Fairtrade News

  • Southampton City Council catering services for all civic buildings are now Fairtrade! All tea, coffee and sugar served through internal hospitality arrangements are officially recognised Fairtrade brands. This fulfils an important objective of the Fairtrade strategy that was adopted by the council in June 2003 to contribute to the Southampton Fairtrade City campaign.

Fairtrade FAQs

1. What Can I do to Help?

The Fairtrade City campaign relies on involvement across the community. Whether you are a shop or café owner or a shopper with a conscience, there are a number of ways in which you can support Fairtrade in Southampton.

  • Ask your local shops and cafes to stock and serve Fairtrade food and drinks. They may not be aware of the demand for fairly traded goods.

  • Invite your friends and family to taste food and beverages with the Fairtrade Mark. Make sure you have plenty in stock for your next celebration!

  • Ask for Fairtrade food and drink to be served in your work or study place, and buy Fairtrade tea or coffee for meetings that you organise or attend. At school, get pupils talking about Fairtrade.

  • Choose a fairly traded garment or craft item for the next gift that you buy.

  • Become a Fairtrade university, school or church. More information on how to achieve this can be found on the Fairtrade Foundation website.

2. Is Southampton a Fairtrade City?

In March 2004 Southampton was awarded Fairtrade City status. All those involved in the campaign worked in partnership to put in place the following criteria:
  • Support from the City Council (a resolution and strategy are now in place).

  • A range of Fairtrade goods readily available in local shops, restaurants and cafes.

  • Fairtrade products in use by a number of local workplaces and community groups.

  • Media coverage and popular support.

  • A local Fairtrade working group.

Although Southampton is now officially a Fairtrade City, the campaign continues to work on increasing awareness of fair trade issues and mainstreaming the availability of Fairtrade products.

3. What is the Fairtrade Foundation and the Fairtrade Mark?

The Fairtrade Foundation is a registered charity, which exists to ensure a better deal for marginalized and disadvantaged Third World producers. The Foundation awards a consumer label, the Fairtrade Mark, to products that meet internationally recognised standards of fair trade. The criteria for the award of the Fairtrade Mark include,

  • Decent wages, adequate housing and health and safety standards for workers in plantations and factories;

  • The right to join trade unions or participate in producers' co-operatives;

  • 'Social premiums' on top of a fair minimum price, that can be invested in communities and support local social welfare, such as education and health;

  • A long term trading commitment;

  • Good environmental standards and sustainable production practices;

  • No child or forced labour.

The Fairtrade Foundation, with its partners in other countries, checks that products continue to meet these standards after they are approved.

4. How does the Fairtrade Towns and Cities Initiative work?

The Fairtrade Towns and Cities Initiative is an exciting nation-wide project to develop support for the Fairtrade Mark. A Fairtrade Town, City, Borough, Village or Zone is a community that has made a commitment to supporting Fairtrade, and through it to support disadvantaged farmers and workers in developing countries. In practical terms, this means the community will have significant levels of awareness of the concept of fair-trade, Fairtrade products will be widely available, and a commitment will have been made to increase their use further still, through promotional and educational activities.

Currently, some sixty towns and cities, including Southampton, have been awarded Fairtrade Town or City status.

5. Tell me more about the Southampton Fair Trade Group

To find out more about the Southampton Fair Trade Group please visit the website link on the right hand side of the page. If you would like to participate in events organised by the Southampton Fair Trade Group, or if you sell fair trade goods locally and would like to be included in the fair trade directory, please send an email to the group's secretary

Contact information