South West Fair Trade Awards launch with a focus on boosting local enterprise
The 2019 South West Fair Trade Business Awards are open for applications from businesses of all sorts and sizes around the region. The Awards—which are free to enter—raise the profile of organisations using or selling Fair Trade products, or engaging staff and customers with Fair Trade campaigns.
From small home-based businesses using Fair Trade ingredients, to national chain stores selling entire Fair Trade certified lines, each year entrants from all over South West England share their stories of ethical business practice. Their efforts are recognised across eight categories, plus one overall winner, at a ceremony during Fairtrade Fortnight—a national event raising awareness of the need for fairer global supply chains and the impact of our buying choices.
The lunchtime ceremony on Friday 8th March 2019 will take place at Arnos Vale: one of Bristol’s highest profile and most unusual locations. Fittingly, the Victorian garden cemetery—which is now a site for wildlife, culture and historical interest, and a listed landscape—is home to some notable social justice figures from the past, including Mary Carpenter, a social reformer in education and prisons, and campaigner for women and children in Britain and India.
Bristol Fair Trade Network, who run the Awards on behalf of the South West Fairtrade Network, have recently been incorporated as a Community Interest Company (CIC), giving the organisation new structure and paving the way to seek new sources of funding. The Network has already been successful in attracting a grant to fund a new project focussed on placing the global Fair Trade movement in the context of the economy and community in Bristol and the South West. The Business Awards are the group’s flagship annual event, showing local consumers how supporting local, ethical organisations can have global impact.
Ewa Kozdeba, Café Manager at the New Room Bristol, commented on the impact of winning a Gold certificate at the 2018 ceremony:
“In operating a café, we understood the opportunity the Awards provided us to raise customer awareness of the Fairtrade name and demonstrate our pride in supporting the quality of the products available. Winning [a] Gold award has given us great publicity and has been vital to our growth as a business; [it’s] had a huge positive response among the staff and customers.”
The invitation for applications coincides with the launch of a new website for the Awards and Bristol Fair Trade, designed by local volunteer and digital communications professional Kat Gulyas. Applications close on 1st February 2019, though entries received by 31st December will be automatically entered into a draw to win a luxury Fair Trade hamper.