Devon achieves Fairtrade status

PUBLISHED: 15:48 20 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 10 June 2010

DEVON has been awarded Fairtrade status, having met all the targets laid down by the Fairtrade Foundation.

DEVON has been awarded Fairtrade status, having met all the targets laid down by the Fairtrade Foundation.

In order to receive the stamp of approval from the Fairtrade Foundation, the Devon Fairtrade Steering Group had to demonstrate that a certain proportion of shops, cafes and other outlets sell Fairtrade products, and a proportion of employers use Fairtrade products in their canteens, vending machines and other outlets.

Devon County Council carried a resolution last November to support the journey towards Fairtrade County status, and to become one of the employers committed to using Fairtrade products.

The county council already makes Fairtrade products available to employees - all tea and coffee served at County Hall is Fairtrade, and a range of Fairtrade products, including fruit juice and chocolate, is available.

But more than that, the council has adopted far deeper Fairtrade and local purchasing principles in the way it buys products, making sure that products are sourced as locally as possible and that producers, whether locally or in the developing world, receive a fair price for their work, and that their employees have decent working conditions.

Since November, the challenge has been taken up with enthusiasm around the county and at least two Fairtrade products are readily available in at least 140 shops and served in 104 local cafés/catering establishments.

Said a council spokesman: "Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay a fair price and an additional social premium, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional markets which traditionally discriminate against the poorest producers. Fairtrade producers also address inequalities within their communities, for example by combating child labour and by making sure women are represented on decision-making bodies.

Schools and colleges from all over Devon stepped up to support the campaign including Exeter College, East Devon College, Ivybridge Community College, Teignmouth Community College and Axe Valley Community College. Exeter University gained its Fairtrade status in March. Churches and community groups are also actively involved.

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