Sudbury: Town celebrates Fairtrade status

Rev. John Boardman, who has championed Sudbury's bid for fair trade status

Rev. John Boardman, who has championed Sudbury's bid for fair trade status - Credit: Archant

A LONG campaign to achieve ‘Fairtrade Town’ status for Sudbury has paid off.

A group set up four years ago to push the idea of ethical trading will receive official certification from the Fairtrade Foundation at an event in St Peter’s Church this morning.

To achieve Fairtrade status, a community has to demonstate a commitment to supporting fair trade by using and marketing products with the ‘Fairtrade Mark’, and fulfilling a list of criteria.

By becoming a Fairtrade town, Sudbury will be able to support the aims of organisations working to obtain better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries. The idea is that by requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, poorer producers are able to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

Sudbury Fairtrade Group chairman John Boardman said: “This achievement marks the culmination of a campaign that’s been going on for the past four years, but the idea of fair trading in Sudbury was first put to the town council in 1995.

“We submitted an application a year ago, which was successful in three of the five criteria so we had to go away and work on the other two areas.”

To fulfill all five criteria, the town council needed to back the idea, a group of around a dozen people formed to support the bid, and members staged public events throughout the year to raise the profile of Fairtrade.

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Local cafes and shops were encouraged to sign up to serving and selling Fairtrade goods, and the group persuaded other local organisations such as schools and churches to come on board.

Rev Boardman added: “It’s not something that can be done lightly because it takes a lot of commitment so we are thrilled to have finally achieved Fairtrade status.

“It shows the caring side of the Sudbury community and unites the town with shops, cafes, schools and organisations working towards a common goal. Ultimately, it’s about trying to make people look out for the Fairtrade logo and change their buying habits to support the producers and make sure they get a fair price.”

The group intends to produce stickers for business-ownerss to display in shop windows. They also hope to add a Fairtrade slogan to welcome signs at all main entry points to Sudbury.

Group member Peter Gray added: “Official Fairtrade status is quite an achievement and something of a feather in the town’s cap. Sudbury may also forge links with other Fairtrade towns, which could prove beneficial for business and tourism.”

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