Delegates to this weekend’s Alliance Party Annual Conference, which coincided with the start of FairTrade Fortnight (6th-19th March) took the opportunity to lend their support to FairTrade and sample some of the wide range of fairly traded produce now available to Northern Ireland consumers.
The event was hosted at Conference by Castlereagh Alliance Councillors, Michael Long and Sara Duncan, and Party Deputy Leader, Naomi Long MLA, a member of Belfast’s Fair Trade Steering Panel, which was successful in obtaining Fair Trade City Status for Belfast.
Cllr Sara Duncan said, “It is right that we should be aware of our responsibilities to vulnerable people in our own society; however, that same responsibility extends across international borders also.
“FairTrade Fortnight is an opportunity to raise public awareness about ethical consumerism. As Councillors in Castlereagh, who are working hard to promote the idea in the Council and in the Borough, we were delighted to host the event.”
Cllr Michael Long, Alliance Vice-Chair, added, “There is a huge range of products now readily available — it’s no longer just about tea and coffee. At the Conference, delegates had the opportunity to sample and purchase a wide range of produce from chocolate to wine, muesli to biscuits. In the last week, a major fashion retailer has also launched a range of FairTrade clothing, which will hopefully lead the way for others to increase the availability of ethically traded products on the high street.”
Alliance Deputy Leader, Cllr Naomi Long MLA, concluded, “We have a responsibility through development aid, fair trade and sensible environmental policies to give every producer, worker, and community in the world a fair chance to make social and economic progress. Such measures are not about charity, they are about delivering social justice, equality of opportunity and political and social stability on a global scale. They also make economic sense. For every £1 in grants made to developing nations, they currently return £13 in debt repayments, which simply defies logic.”