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Making Connections: A Co-operative Guide for Fairtrade Towns

Making Connections: A Co-operative Guide for Fairtrade Towns cover

Young Co-operatives are featured in a new resource pack, compiled by the Co-operative College, which aims to help Fairtrade Towns strengthen and expand their connections with co-operatives. Since Garstang in Lancashire became the world’s first Fairtrade Town in 2000, more than 1,000 Fairtrade Towns have been established globally.

Following Garstang’s declaration the Fairtrade Foundation developed five goals through which any community could pledge collective support for Fairtrade and become a Fairtrade Town. Garstang set the precedent for community organisations, faith groups, businesses, schools and individuals internationally to pledge to support Fairtrade and there are now over 500 Fairtrade Town groups in the UK alone.

The Making Connections: The Co-operative Guide for Fairtrade Towns resource pack will provide advice and support on how local groups and co-operative members can work together, showing the links between the co-operative values and principles and the movement for fairer trade. It includes activities, case studies from around the world, a pull-out timeline and a host of other useful information to provide inspiration for Fairtrade groups and co-operative members to mutually strengthen and support one another’s activities.

Fairtrade Towns supporters with Chino Henriquez a producer from Chilean honey and blueberry co-operative Apicoop

The Co-operative is the UK’s leading supermarket supporter of the Fairtrade movement, and the pack is the latest activity from its Tackling Global Poverty programme, which supports over a million people in the developing world each year, including through its leadership in Fairtrade, support for overseas co-operatives and campaigns to raise awareness of global poverty issues in the UK. The pack has received funding from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, which works to promote the co-operative business model in the UK and overseas.

Hannah Newcomb, International Development Adviser at The Co-operative, said: “In our recently launched Ethical Plan, The Co-operative pledged to invest £7m to tackle global poverty through co-operative support initiatives, and to continue to show the greatest commitment to Fairtrade in the UK. The launch of Making Connections supports these commitments and continues our tireless championing of the benefits of Fairtrade and co-operation in helping the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of poverty, with around three quarters of Fairtrade products today sourced from producer co-operatives.”

Hannah Reed, Campaigns Manager with the Fairtrade Foundation, welcomed the new resource, saying: “Fairtrade Towns bring together the whole community to take action for Fairtrade. Tireless, creative local campaigns are changing the way businesses and shoppers look at trade and ensuring more producers and workers can build a better future for themselves through Fairtrade. Co-operatives and their members have long supported grassroots action on Fairtrade and we hope that Making Connections will inspire more people to get involved and to bring about change – choice by choice, conversation by conversation and town by town.”

The pack can be downloaded from a new interactive website – www.co-operative.coop/fairtradetowns – which features regularly updated news and events listings, links to other useful resources and contact details for relevant organisations.

A free printed pack can be ordered by calling Rebecca Forecast at the Co-operative College on 0161 246 2971 or emailing fairtradetowns@co-op.ac.uk.

Fairtrade Towns pack flier