PHILADELPHIA OFFICIALLY DECLARED A ‘FAIR TRADE TOWN’
Fair Trade Philadelphia, the citizens’ group which has been promoting Fair Trade in the area since 2013, will be receiving an official Fair Trade Resolution from City Council at 10:00 a.m. on October 15, 2015.
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love (and of sisterly affection, as Pope Francis reminded us), has been officially designated a Fair Trade Town, the 43rd in the U.S.
Philadelphia is joining 2,280 such towns worldwide by having fulfilled criteria set by Fair Trade Campaigns. The criteria include having a vibrant coalition that meets regularly and plans interactive events that promote awareness, advocacy and engagement with Fair Trade and by assuring that Fair Trade products are available in local stores as well as in places of worship, schools, and offices. Each city council must pass an official resolution in support of Fair Trade as an issue important to its government and residents. Beginning October 15, Fair Trade Philadelphia will be working with City procurement offices on plans to implement that support in concrete ways.
The Fair Trade Town movement started in Garstang, England in 2000 and spread to the rest of the world. The first Fair Trade Town in the U.S. is Media, PA, our neighbor, which made its Fair Trade declaration in 2006. Philadelphia will be the second largest Fair Trade Town in the U.S. after Chicago (2011).
Philadelphia has a tradition of making history regarding fairness. Quakers set fair prices in the 19th century. In recent years, Judy Wicks imported some of the first Fair Trade certified coffee into the U.S. and served it at the White dog Cafe which she founded. There are several local Fair Trade businesses in Philadelphia already, such as Philly Fair Trade Roasters, the Good Karma Cafe, where Equal Exchange coffee is served and Ten Thousand Villages.
What is Fair Trade? In order to be certified Fair Trade, a producer has to prove that farmers and workers earn fair wages under good working conditions, that goods are produced without child labor and through environmentally sustainable practices, and that decisions are made by the workers cooperatively. Workers’ children must go to school.
According to the International Labor Organization, almost 100 million children aged 5-17 work in agriculture globally. About half of these are unpaid family laborers, while many others are forced, trafficked, indentured, underpaid and/or working in hazardous conditions. Like many global issues, poverty is the primary root cause of child labor. Fair Trade does not simply aim to prohibit child labor, but to eliminate reliance on child labor by making, for example, cocoa farming a viable profession for generations to come.
Fair Trade is a multi-stakeholder effort that empowers consumers to vote with their dollars for fair prices, better working conditions, environmental stewardship, and brighter futures for the people who make the high-quality products that we buy every day.
Official designation of a Fair Trade Town empowers citizens to develop a permanent platform in their communities for continued outreach and advocacy and thereby increasing the awareness, availability and use of Fair Trade products throughout the Philadelphia area.
Fair Trade Philadelphia is an all volunteer organization. It is part of a national-wide organizing effort called Fair Trade Campaigns, which unites a diverse group of inspired Fair Trade activists and supporters, including project collaborators Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S., the Fair Trade Federation, a North American trade association of organizations fully committed to Fair Trade, and Fairtrade America, which is a representative of Fairtrade International. For more information, visit www.FairTradeCampaigns.org.
Fair Trade Philadelphia is hosting the 3rd annual Fair & Sustainable Gift Fair on November 19, 2015 at Friends Center, 1501 Cherry St. Phila. Pa. For more information, log on to www.fairtradephiladelphia.org and contact info@
Yoko Barnes, Bhawna Kasliwal, Bryan Marton
Download the press release as a Microsoft Word document here: FTPHL- Oct.15PressResease