On 19 June 2017 Northern Ireland was declared a FAIRTRADE devolved region at a ceremony in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings, Stormont after
fulfilling the main targets of having all its five cities and six of its 11 councils attaining Fairtrade status to include their respective towns. The remaining councils are currently working towards the Fairtrade standard.
Central government, higher education institutions, schools, places of worship, businesses, independent retailers and workplaces have also played
a vital role in the initiative, with many having attained or are working towards Fairtrade accreditation.
Fairtrade provides a commitment to enable the most marginalised small-scale producers of the developing world to successfully trade in the global market to alleviate poverty, create empowerment and a future, working towards the United Nations’ (UNs’) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through purchasing and procurement of Fairtrade certified products. The main beneficiaries of the Fairtrade system are the Caribbean, Central America , African and Pacific countries. Fairtrade commodities are produced under the strictest environmental and social conditions through internationally recognised best practices, free from exploitation, child labour and human trafficking.
*Steven Agnew MLA, Chair of the All Party Group on Fairtrade* said: “I am delighted that Northern Ireland has attained the status of Fairtrade
region. This has come as a result of the hard work and efforts of the local Fairtrade campaign, championed by Vincentian Dr Christopher Stange.
This achievement is notable in that came about without the support of the Executive Office, as was the case with other devolved regions.
Fairtrade status will bring about better outcomes for producers in developing countries as well as the people of Northern Ireland as consumers.”
*Peter Gaynor, Executive Director Fairtrade Ireland* said: “We have seen local authorities, Fairtrade Towns groups and the All Party Group on
Fairtrade do a huge amount in recent years in Northern Ireland to promote Fairtrade. It is a real achievement from all of this work that they are now
becoming a Fairtrade devolved region – And of course Dr Christopher Stange himself deserves a very big thank you for all his work personally.
Fairtrade began with the dedicated work of small groups of people and this is a great example of these groups coming together to achieve something
bigger together.” Michael Gidney, Chief Executive UK Fairtrade Foundation said: “Congratulations to all the communities, individuals and organisations
who’ve worked tirelessly over many years promoting Fairtrade across Northern Ireland on this achievement. Fairtrade has shown that together we
can effect real change for farming communities in the global south, yet in too many places, Fairtrade products remain the exception, not the rule.
From Stormont to community groups, churches to corner shops, it’s fantastic to see the people of Northern Ireland finding new ways to unite communities
and stand up for marginalised farmers and workers who deserve a better deal. Joining forces as a devolved region through Fairtrade sends a
powerful message that Northern Ireland is committed to ending the scandal of unfair trade.”
18 Northern Ireland towns and one island have achieved Fairtrade status with the remaining 17 currently working toward with active groups. Two-thirds of our higher education institutions have achieved or working towards the Fairtrade standard.