Alliance supports FairTrade action

Castlereagh Alliance Councillors Michael Long and Sara Duncan have put forward a motion for Thursday’s meeting of Castlereagh Borough Council calling for the extension of the existing Fair Trade policy to ensure that all tea and coffee purchased by the Council in future is fairly traded.

The Alliance pair put forward the motion after Cllr. Long discovered that, under the existing policy, the amount spent on Fair Trade tea and coffee had fallen from an already low 43% in 2003 to just 36% in the last year.

Cllr. Long said, “I am very disappointed by these latest figures which show the Council’s Fair Trade policy to be a bit of a sham. When Alliance proposed a

Fair Trade policy we wanted to see the Council show real civic leadership by making a meaningful contribution to those Third World farmers who have been exploited for many years. This is not charity, it is about ensuring a fair day’s pay for a day’s work and that the working environment is safe and healthy.

“Despite passing a previous motion to use fairly traded goods, less than 40% of the Council’s spending on tea and coffee actually goes on FairTrade produce, a rather damning indictment of its failure to make a real impact. If the NI Assembly and other Councils can adopt and implement strong ethical trade policies, why can’t Castlereagh do the same? I believe the current policy should be extended to cover all tea and coffee purchased by the Council, ensuring a real commitment to FairTrade, rather than hiding behind the current fig leaf of a poorly implemented policy.

“I will also be bringing a few samples of the wide variety of different types of

FairTrade tea and coffee which are now readily available to the meeting for people to sample, in the hope that the Councillors who have been complaining about the taste of the current brand will be able to find something to satisfy their demanding palates.

“Hopefully, they will feel able to move away from their rather tasteless position, and embrace the use of FairTrade produce which can make a practical difference to the lives of people in developing nations. As FairTrade Fortnight begins next week on 1st March, I can think of no better time for Castlereagh to really get behind FairTrade.”

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