Hugh Bayley, Labour MP for York Central, issued an online parliamentary motion on Monday 17th, March to acknowledge the achievements of York being a fairtrade city for the past decade.
He said: “I am very proud of York for having been one of the first cities in the UK to have been awarded the Fair Trade City title.”
On March 3rd, 2004, the City of York, along with ten other towns in the UK, was recognised “Fair Trade City” by the Fairtrade Foundation which crowned the campaigning efforts of the York Fair Trade Forum.
Mark Dawson, then Chair of York’s Fair Trade Forum, said that York’s campaigning tradition along with pre-existing fair trade activities and small independent businesses, such as Shared earth, Fairer World and the Spurriergate centre, enabled the campaign to be successful in just a year from it launch at City Screen in 2003.
“The great support of local churches and schools gave a greater dimension to the campaign which quickly infused people and took a life of itself.”
Richard Lane, media officer of the Yorkshire fair trade committee, said: “Fair trade has become part of the identity of the city.”
“York’s history with the Quakers and Rowntree has established a tradition for ethical trading and campaigning for workers’ rights and dignity. York quickly became supportive of the fair trade movement because it is part of its local culture.”
Moira and Charlie Bridge who hold “Fairer World”, a fair trade shop opened in 1996 on Gillygate said that although York remains very supportive of fair trade, sales which increased sharply until 2009, have decreased in the last five years reflecting the national trend.”
Moira Bridge, who was actively involved in the 2004 campaigning, says that York’s role, as the capital of the first awarded fairtrade region last year, is now to encourage nearby towns to campaign for the fairtrade city title,
York Fair Trade Forum is currently establishing new aims to sustain its title. The group hopes to get more involved in special city events such as the Tour de France, target more B&Bs, hotels and workplaces, and promote fairtrade in local schools.
Councillor Cunningham-Cross, the Fairtrade Councillor in York, ensured that the city council signed the UN pledge to support the Fairtrade Beyond 2015 Declaration. She said: “This is an important statement about global development and the role York as a city can play in that.”
Celebrations of York’s Fair Trade City tenth anniversary continues with a fair trade market on Parliament Street on Saturday May 10th, and a special service and coffee afternoon at St Lawrence Church on Sunday, May 11th.