This weekend (4/5th July) Bristol took centre stage among the most ethical cities in the world when it hosted around 250 delegates representing 20 countries for the 9th International Fair Trade Towns Conference.
The event explored ‘Fair Trade for Sustainability’ linked to Bristol’s European Green Capital events programme, as the city this year celebrates a decade as a Fairtrade City, one of only a handful of cities internationally to have held Fairtrade status for so long.
The city was ‘Fairtrade-ready’ in the run up to the event with banners in various locations and Fairtrade activities in the Bristol 2015 Lab on Harbourside. Sunday saw the ‘Make Sunday Special’ events Fairtrade-themed with family activities and Fairtrade markets.
Outstanding speakers at the conference included Harriet Lamb (CEO Fairtrade International), Linda McAvan MEP, Eliza Anyangwe (The Guardian), and Fatima Ismael, an environmental expert from Fairtrade Co-operative Soppexcca in Nicaragua.
The Conference provided new insights into how Fairtrade endeavors to protect the environment; with a wide range of topics discussed, including sustainable food and Fairtrade Gold and how Fairtrade is working with farmers to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.
In addition to exploring the newly developed UN Sustainable Development Goals to overcome global poverty, the programme highlighted many of the issues key to the 2015 European Year for Development’s theme of ‘Our World, our Dignity, Our Future.’
Commenting on the weekend’s event, George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol said: “I am absolutely delighted that Bristol has been chosen to host the International Fairtrade Towns Conference in 2015. The city has a long history of supporting ethical and sustainable trade; something I am very proud of. Our continued support for social enterprise and ethical business means we lead the way when it comes to working for more than just financial gain.
“Bristol is a particularly fitting host for 2015 as this will complement our year as European Green Capital. This will be one of many events which will demonstrate to the world that Bristol is a true leader on ethical business, green issues and sustainability.”
Long before Bristol became the European Green Capital, Business Environment had implemented a ‘Green’ strategy at each of its Bristol business centres in Temple Meads and Clifton. Our in-house project team, The Green Group, was challenged with make each of our processes greener, more energy efficient and in turn more environmentally friendly. Green and energy KPIs are monitored and our recycling performance and waste and energy consumption reported on monthly.