Berwick now has more than 30 businesses and organisations committed to stocking, selling and providing Fairtrade products.
Eighteen months after Berwick was officially granted Fairtrade Town status, members of the local steering group are pleased with the response so far. But they believe much more can and must be done.
Cafes, restaurants, shops, supermarkets, bed and breakfasts, churches and schools are among the organisations who have signed up in Berwick and display a Fairtrade sticker.
Fairtrade is an international movement with a mission to achieve better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
To retain Berwick’s status as one of the UK’s 500 Fairtrade community towns, the steering group has targets to hit. That is why they are working hard to encourage more businesses and organisations to make a commitment.
Fritha Middlemiss explained: “The Berwick Fairtrade steering group is aware that there may be many other organisations and premises where Fairtrade products are used.
“We would love to hear from them and would be pleased to provide a sticker for display. There are people who are happy to visit individuals or to give talks to organisations about Fairtrade.”
Berwick Town Council has supported the steering group since Fairtrade status was officially inaugurated on the town in February 2012.
It is committed to using Fairtrade products whenever possible and has financed stickers which are available for display in shops, offices, catering establishments and hotels and B&Bs which use Fairtrade products.
Although the Fairtrade movement aims to get a better deal for people in developing countries, Ms Middlemiss believes growing awareness means local business can benefit too. “More and more people actively seek to buy from businesses who display the sticker,” she said. “Berwick and the surrounding area has lots of local food producers who know the value of supporting Fairtrade.
“Fairtrade producers receive a minimum price for their products as well as a Fairtrade premium.
“Workers in Fairtrade cooperatives get rights such as decent wages and the right to join unions. Nearly all Fairtrade goods come from abroad and most people who support Fairtrade also support movements which promote the sustainable production of local, high quality foods.
“Fairtrade products often cost the same as other goods. Sometimes they cost just a few pence more but those pennies ensure that the families that produce the goods don’t go hungry and can send their children to school.”