Chorley is celebrating after winning Fairtrade Town status at the first attempt.
The town was told by the organisers, the Fairtrade Foundation, that ‘it’s not often that a town’s initial application is as strong and comprehensive as yours’.
This means the town has been received formal recognition for adopting measures which provide decent working conditions and pay for farmers in developing countries.
Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “I’m delighted that the town has won Fairtrade Town status at the first attempt. It’s less than two years ago that the council formally backed the bid for the status and started the process simply by serving Fairtrade tea and coffee at council meetings, we also encouraged other businesses, schools, community groups, and other organisations to join us.
“But it is the Fairtrade Group, supported by the council, which has run with this and gone on to get more and more people involved and more outlets to supply Fairtrade products.
“We’re seeing a range of Fairtrade products available in local shops, served in local catering outlets such as pubs, restaurants and cafes and available in local workplaces. The more people that adopt Fairtrade, the more we can help make a difference to the lives of people in developing countries.”
Coun Mark Jarnell, Fairtrade Group chair, said: “It is a fantastic achievement in a very short time and is testament to all the hard work that has been put in by everyone involved. However, we can’t take our foot off the accelerator we need to keep up the momentum and roll out the Fairtrade campaign across the borough.
“We are really looking forward to Fairtrade Fortnight next month when we will be hosting all kinds of activities to make people aware of Fairtrade products and to properly launch Chorley as a Fairtrade Town.
“Everyone is welcome to get involved in Fairtrade and you can do this directly by buying Fairtrade products, and indirectly by supporting schools, workplaces, religious and community organisations already committed to Fairtrade and encouraging others to join.”
Chorley is one of around 600 Fairtrade towns in the UK supporting better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
By insisting companies pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade enables the poorest, weakest producers to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
Rachael Sweet, communities campaigns officer for the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Congratulations on achieving Fairtrade Town status for Chorley. Doing so is a fantastic achievement, and it is not often that a town’s initial application is already as strong and comprehensive as yours. Of course, this is only the start of Chorley’s Fairtrade journey and there is always more to do.
“It is thanks to groups such as yours that Fairtrade is going from strength to strength and helping more communities in developing countries to earn enough for today and to invest in a better tomorrow.”