Fair Trade

Fair Trade Towns

The Fair Trade Towns campaign is an exciting initiative that recognizes communities that actively support Fair Trade, increasing both availability and awareness at the local level.

Nakusp was the first town in British Columbia (and the 4th in Canada!), to become a Fair Trade Town, joining the ranks in April of 2009.

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade is a different way of doing business. It’s about making principles of fairness and decency mean something in the marketplace.

It seeks to change the terms of trade for the products we buy – to ensure the farmers and artisans behind those products get a better deal. Most often this is understood to mean better prices for producers, but it often means longer-term and more meaningful trading relationships as well.

For consumers and businesses, it’s also about information. Fair Trade is a way for all of us to identify products that meet our values so we can make choices that have a positive impact on the world.

Why become a Fair Trade Town?

  • To distinguish your community as a leader and to confirm your commitment to supporting the principles of fair trade, including a fair price, respect for labour standards, environmental sustainability, and more direct and equitable trade
  • To improve the livelihoods of the millions of farmers and workers in the developing world who benefit from fair trade
  • To create awareness and encourage local citizens to make ethical and sustainable choices
  • To unite your community in a common cause
  • To have fun and be creative

A Little History

The idea of a “Fair Trade Town” was born in England in 1999, when an Oxfam group in the town of Garstang wanted to promote fair trade as part of a community effort.

The campaign aimed to make Garstang the world’s first Fair Trade Town and this goal soon attracted the interest of others throughout the community including private citizens, local businesses, and the town council.

All of the excitement surrounding the campaign soon captured the attention of local and regional media and before long Garstang became a famous landmark and an international campaign was born. 

Many towns have followed Garstang’s example. There are now more than 630 Fair Trade Towns in 18 countries!

In Canada, the movement is still young. The first city to be awarded Fair Trade Town status was Wolfville, Nova Scotia, on April 17, 2007. Since then additional cities have joined in – a few examples are Sherbrooke, Quebec in 2011, Toronto, Ontario in 2013 and Vancouver, British Columbia in 2009, allowing Fair Trade Towns to stretch from coast to coast.

Fairtrade Canada

Fairtrade Canada is a national, nonprofit Fair Trade certification organization, and the only Canadian member of the Fairtrade International (FLO). Fairtrade Canada is responsible for certification, licensing and promotion of Fair Trade practices in Canada.