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Belfast celebrates its renewal as “Fairtrade City” – Northern Ireland

Belfast celebrates its renewal as “Fairtrade City” – Northern Ireland


Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is celebrating having had its dual status as a “Fairtrade City” renewed for a further two years, to November 2013,{{more}} through the leadership and direction of Dr Christopher Stange – Honorary Consul of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to Northern Ireland and Chair of Fairtrade Belfast.

To mark the event, a reception was held by the Lord Mayor of Belfast in the City Hall to commemorate the achievements of the Fairtrade Belfast Committee – a voluntary organization, comprised of representatives from local and foreign government, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, charities, ethnic minority sector, supermarkets, retailers, business and individuals.

Belfast was the first place to attain dual Fairtrade accreditation – gaining Fairtrade City status in 2005 from the UK Fairtrade Foundation and then in 2006 from Fairtrade Ireland.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile commented on the renewal:

“On behalf of the people of Belfast, I would like to commend the dedicated voluntary work of the committee and maintaining Belfast’s status as a Fairtrade City for all these years. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.”

By getting companies to pay fair prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of modern trade, which can penalize the poorest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have greater control over their own lives. Fairtrade is about local consumerism and procurement, having an effect in an international context. Fairtrade helps over 8 million people in the developing world, particularly the Caribbean and Africa, with annual UK sales now over £1.17 billion. This has only been possible from the commitment to Fairtrade of large businesses, government, independent retailers, hospitality market and individuals.

Dr Christopher Stange, Chair of Fairtrade Belfast and from the Consulate of St Vincent and the Grenadines added:

“We can all play our part by choosing the Fairtrade option, looking for the Fairtrade certification mark, when out shopping. Fairtrade is for developing world farmers, producing commodities we do not produce in Northern Ireland, but readily consume. Therefore, due to the vulnerability of marginalized producers, especially in the Caribbean and Africa, it is vital to ensure they are receiving a fair price for their efforts and can access markets, which is guaranteed through Fairtrade.”

Fairtrade Belfast currently is finalizing plans for events during Fairtrade Fortnight 2012, which runs from February 27 – March 11.

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