Yesterday Oxford’s Lord Mayor signed the Fairtrade Beyond 2015 Declaration. A photo from the event and the signed declaration can be seen below.
This coming Tuesday, 7 May, the Lord Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Abbasi, will sign the Fair Trade Beyond 2015 Declaration. The signing will take place in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Town Hall.
The Fair Trade Beyond 2015 Declaration is addressed to world leaders, who will be meeting at the UN in September 2013 to decide on successors to the Millennium Development Goals.
It calls on them to put in place a framework that aims “to create a just, equitable and sustainable world in which every person can realise their human rights, fulfil their potential and live free from poverty.” This framework, the declaration notes, “must be based on the three pillars of sustainable development (social, environmental, economic) and must ensure that all actors, at all levels, put in place coherent policies for development.”
The declaration calls specifically for reform of trade rules and practices “with the aim to overcome inequalities and empower small producers and workers in developing countries to trade their way out of poverty” and for support for “partnerships for development between governments, local authorities, business and citizens, ” of which Fair Trade is an excellent example.
As a Fairtrade City since 2004, Oxford has experience of the way in which Fair Trade can provide partnerships for development that benefit a wide variety of people. Local Fair Trade partnerships involving businesses, schools, local government, churches, and other groups have both contributed to Oxford’s own cultural and civic life and also enabled benefits for partners in countries where Fair Trade goods are produced.
Fourteen independent stores in North Oxford are joining forces this Easter with an ‘Indie Easter Trail’, led by Fair Trade shop Exclusive Roots. The Trail is designed to encourage local families and visitors to discover the area and its retailers.
Jericho has always been an animated hub of the city, offering itself as a thriving unique shopping destination. But in the current economic climate, independent retailers are facing harder times. This Easter, Exclusive Roots on the Woodstock Road has rallied other like minded North Oxford shops into taking part in the nationwide Indie Easter campaign starting on the 23rd March and running through until the 14th April. The trail is a fun, free and exciting way to entertain the children in the school holidays or simply discover what is on offer on your doorstep. All you need to do is collect a map from any of the participating retailers and visit a selection (8-10) of the shops on the trail, collect your eggs (little stickers) on your map and when you’ve collected enough eggs redeem your map at Exclusive Roots where you will receive a bag of Plush Fairtrade mini eggs and a certificate of completion!
Supporting your local traders has a real positive impact on the local economy, with every £1 spent with a local, independent business between 50p-70p circulates back into the local economy. With more consumers now opting to shop online or out of town, local businesses are feeling the squeeze. This may save customers time but with every £1 spent in this way only 5p trickles back into the local economy. When consumers shop with their local independents ‘ they are doing their bit to keep their high street, town or village centre open for business’. Sadly, it really is a case of ‘use it or lose it’.
“Now really is the time to stop and think before heading to your large supermarket or out of town shopping centre for that kitchen appliance, photo frame, bunch of flowers or birthday gift. Look at what is on offer to you just a short stroll away, you’ll more than likely be pleasantly surprised and find just what you are looking for and more. Shopping locally is so important to keep our towns alive, not just for the economy’s sake but for social interaction, community spirit, happiness and most vitally jobs.” Holly Dutton, Business Development Manager, Exclusive Roots.
Of the fourteen shops taking part in the Easter Trail, there are some oldies and newbie’s on the block. Walton Street Cycles first opened their doors in 1975 and are one of Oxford’s oldest independent bike shops. Daisies’ Flower Shop has been trading since 1987 and Cowboy Mod & Son also on Walton Street have been going strong since 1995. The newest to the area is Oxford Yarn Store, having opened on South Parade in December 2012 to the delight of local knitters, crocheters and fine yarn enthusiasts.
Exclusive Roots, the activation partner for Oxford has taken its role in this campaign very seriously, as the trading arm of UK registered charity Tabeisa, they know only too well how important it is to work together as a community. Since 1994 they have supported over 2,000 small businesses in poor Sub – Saharan African communities.
Joining forces has never been more important for local Independent Retailers, Oxford, make this Easter an independent one!
Can Fair Trade and organic agriculture help us meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? That was the topic at a recent conference in Villach, Austria. The conference was part of the ongoing “Networking in Europe: Local Governments Meet the MDGs” project, which joins cities and NGOs across Europe in exploring how we can help to create a sustainable, fairer world through action at the local level.
The MDGs are often thought of as something which involve targets for developing countries only, but goals 7 and 8 — on environmental sustainability and partnerships for development — involve everyone.
The Villach conference had two strands. One emphasised practical, down-to-earth action on climate and sustainable agriculture and trade. We visited one
of the Villach kindergartens where children eat organic food — with the meals costing the same price as conventional meals — and ate easily the best school food imaginable. Later we also heard a terrific presentation from the people who had organised the project to use organic food in all Villach’s kindergartens: they shared why and how they had chosen to go this route and how they had brought others along with them.
We heard from a local farmer who was one of about 30 who had started Biobote, a cooperative that could deliver all manner of organic goods to local consumers. An innovative organic baker
shared the background to his move to going organic and what it had meant for his bakery. We learned about — and went to visit — a weekly organic farmers market that gives local producers the opportunity to offer high-quality, sustainably produced food directly to the public. We heard from the directors of the local Fair Trade shop and were able to visit
the shop itself, a beautifully designed space that not only features fairly traded products from around the world but also offers space for educational events on Fair Trade.
It was fascinating to hear what the Fair Traders were doing — and they seemed to enjoy our presentation on Oxford City’s work on food printing and Fair Trade, including a short video of Gilli, Julie and Elizabeth from our two Fair Trade shops.
We even went to visit the local biomass plant, which provides heat and hot water for a substantial number of houses in the community … and the beautifully designed energy advice centre, with a stunning solar installation that provides energy not only for the centre itself, but also for surrounding houses.
The conference also had a theoretical strand which tied the local activities to the larger picture. A number of technical presentations explained Villach’s move towards sustainability in energy generation and use. Christian Salmhofer, one of the conference organisers, gave a presentation explaining how local, organic food could be part of the wider drive for climate justice. And Benedikt Haerlin from the Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft in Berlin gave a superb overview of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, the future of food and farming, and the relationship between these and other climate and development issues.
What did we come away with? A sense of learning through sharing — it was great to be able to hear what Villach was doing and to see ways in which we could learn from their work, and they from ours. A sense of encouragement — it’s tremendous to feel that there are people working on sustainability and justice all over Europe. And a sense of the importance of “keeping on” and growing what we do — what happens locally matters not just for us but for the wider world.
The Networking in Europe project is funded by the EU. As well as aiming to help local communities meet the MDGs, it also aims to make connections among different parts of Europe and between local authorities and civil society. The connections that are being made are therefore not incidental, but an important part of the programme.
Fairtrade @ St Michaels have been in touch with news of two upcoming events…
1. Tuesday 12th Feb, “Kokoo about Chocolate: A Chocofest for Pancake Day”. Carol Wills, formerly of Oxfam, and who is a non-executive director of Divine Chocolate, will talk about fairtrade chocolate and specifically about the Kuapa Kokoo chocolate producers in Ghana whom she will have just visited. There will be samples of many different ranges of fairtrade chocolates to try, and pancakes with chocolaty fillings to enjoy. A useful and informative evening in an informal and enjoyable setting. This event is free and open to all.
Details: 8.30pm in Harris Lecture Theatre, Oriel College, Oriel Square, Oxford OX1 4EW. Flyer for this attached.
2. Wednesday 6th March, 7.30pm “How Fair is Fair?” a panel discussion on the effectiveness of fair trade. The panel will include Professor Christopher Cramer, Head of the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, and Traidcraft Chief Executive Paul Chandler. With (fairtrade of course) wine and nibbles. A brilliant opportunity to ask searching questions of the experts who have enormous experience and a range of views. Free. Venue to be arranged, and will be on the Fairtrade at St Michaels website www.fairtradeatstmichaels.co.uk