Across the globe Fairtrade exemplifies sustainability at the local level; with social, economic and environmental benefits underpinning social justice, access to health, educational and resources, equity and, most importantly, a voice for the producers and growers involved. In 2004, and in a bid backed by the then Labour-led City Council, Plymouth drew together an application to the Fairtrade Foundation for Fairtrade City status; setting out a range of commitments, aims and ambitions that included the production of a Directory of the Fairtrade products that were then available to local residents. Led by a small Steering Group, the initiative survived successive Councils until 2013 when staff changes limited the action that could be taken. Although an updated Directory was published in 2014 and an interim renewal was agreed, decisive action was not pursued until 2016 when it became apparent that changes to the Foundation’s renewal process required a greater level of commitment. A new, independent Steering Group was created, a five point Action Plan was developed and, in early 2017 a successful renewal application was made. By the Spring of 2017 Plymouth was once again formally recognised as a Fairtrade city.
To Contact Fairtrade Plymouth
Email : jyoung.urbanagenda@gmail.com
Tel : 07970 909912
Website : A website is under development
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/FairtradePlymouth/

When Plymouth first became a Fairtrade City in 2004 access to Fairtrade products was, to be fair, limited. It was possible to find fairly traded tea, coffee and chocolate and many were familiar with fairly traded bananas but access to other products was often a challenge. Not many people knew about the benefits Fairtrade provided to the producers and growers even though the Fairtrade brand was popular with at least one national retail chain and yet, across the World, communities were already benefiting economically from the way in which their efforts were being rewarded. Funds were, quite literally in some cases, being ploughed back in to the farms and plantations that produced the fruit, veg, cotton, teas, coffee or cacao beans and flowers and these funds were, in turn, being used to fund schools, health and maternity care, transport options, clean water, legal representation, a voice in management, homes and safety…….all the benefits of a more sustainable society. Increasingly Fairtrade was being introduced to other production lines with the mining of gold, gemstones and precious minerals providing perhaps the biggest challenge to the multi-national companies and extending the protection offered by the formal Fairtrade certification process.
The sustainable approach of Fairtrade to equity and equal opportunity was even recognised in some of Plymouth’s poorer neighbourhoods where the enhanced sale figures for Fairtrade goods were considered to be a sign of solidarity with impoverished communities all over the world.

By the time Plymouth’s renewal application was submitted in 2017 Fairtrade products could be found in almost every shop. In addition to the increasingly popular teas, coffees and chocolates, it is now possible to access everything from flowers and cosmetics to jewellery, T shirts and jeans. It is now even possible to find ‘fairly traded’ financial services and the list of options is growing all the time although, in some cases, the development of ‘alternative’ schemes has created tensions. Nevertheless, the Fairtrade brand symbol is now one of the most recognised ‘sustainability’ symbols on the highstreet and the celebration of Fairtrade Fortnight in Feb/Mar every year is encouraging more and more participants.
In support of its newly renewed Fairtrade City status, Plymouth has now adopted an Action Plan with four key aims. These include the successful renewal of the Fairtrade City status, extending the range and choice of Fairtrade goods available to local communities, improved awareness of Fairtrade in the workplace, community organisations, schools, colleges and other institutions and the promotion of Fairtrade as part of a wider commitment to citywide sustainability.
Plymouth’s five goal Action Plan is based on :
• A clear commitment from the Council – confirmed on 9th December 2016.
• A readily available range of Fairtrade goods and services in local shops, canteens and catering establishments. It is now almost impossible to find a shop that doesn’t stock at least one Fairtrade product as many popular brands are committed to its use.
• The support of local workplaces and the selection of a ‘flagship employer’ for the city. Plymouth has a formally recognized Fairtrade University and Fairtrade choices are, once again, enhanced by the choices made by popular canteen brands.
• The use of events and media coverage to improve awareness.
• The support of an active and representative Steering Group to oversee the Plan’s delivery.
These days it is so much easier to contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and, by choosing fairly traded products, many are contributing to the social, economic and environmental benefits Fairtrade supports without even thinking about it. Fairtrade Plymouth is committed to ensuring that this choice can be maintained and improved and that the weekly shop here in the city can benefit communities across the world.

• A wide range of Fairtrade resources can be accessed through the Fairtrade Foundation at
• Look out, too, for other initiatives such as the Rainforest Alliance (http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/ ) and, increasingly, ‘retailers own’ projects.

Contact Info

  • Devonport Guildhall, Ker St, Plymouth PL1 4EL

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