Campaigners from across Oxford and Oxfordshire came together in the centre of Oxford today to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight by wrapping Fairtrade Cotton bunting around key landmarks.
As we gathered together lengths of bunting decorated by schools, churches and community groups from across the county we heard from David McCullough, Trading Director of Oxfam, about the importance of Fairtrade Cotton. With the value of total annual cotton imports to the UK outstripping the value of all food imports put together – cotton is a key commodity for Fairtrade growth. Right now, Fairtrade cotton is still at the early stages of it’s development, with NGOs and Businesses working together to make sure cotton can be traced right from the small co-operatives where sustainable, low-pesticide Fairtrade cotton is farmed, right through into finished garments. David reported on the importance of the ‘triple bottom line’, economic development, social development and environmental sustainability that an increased focus on Fairtrade cotton can bring. Cotton is sure to be a topic that the Oxford Fairtrade Coalition focus on more over the coming year.
We were also led in song by Rachel Smith (@oxfordsing) before we took to the streets to display bunting on key Oxford landmarks.
The photos below are the picture I managed to take on my phone, but we were also joined by two fantastic photographers from the Oxford Flickr Group, whose far more professional shots will be shared online soon. If you made some bunting – check out to see if you can see your creations.
We’re hoping the bunting we’ve gathered will get a few more outings in Oxford (not least with bunting made by churches heading off to the local synod later this month), before it is all collected together to be sent to the Fairtrade Foundation to form part of their world record breaking attempt in Brussels to create the longest ever bunting string, and to send a clear message about the importance of Fairtrade, and the unfairness of EU Cotton Subsidies, to European decision makers.