Cardiff became a Fairtrade City on March 1st 2004, after meeting the Fairtrade Foundation’s requirements for the city to have Fairtrade Status.

How did it start

The Wales Fair Trade Forum (Forum), the forerunner to Fair Trade Wales, was set up in 2000 to help coordinate Fairtrade work across Wales. The stated aim of the group was ‘to promote and explain the concept and benefits of Fair Trade products to the Welsh public, with the aim of extending the use and availability of Fair Trade products in Wales.’ Initial organisations that were founding members of the group included CAFOD, Christian Aid, Fair Do’s Ltd, Oxfam Cymru, Tearfund and Traidcraft.

In 2002 the Forum approached Cardiff council with two ideas. Firstly, the creation of a comprehensive and widely distributed Fairtrade guide for the city. This would have information about Fairtrade, and list shops and cafes across the city where Fairtrade goods were available. Secondly, a proposal to make Cardiff the world’s first Fairtrade Capital city.

The initial meeting with Dr Alan Netherwood in the Sustainable Development unit of Cardiff Council went well, and the unit agreed to work with the Wales Fair Trade Forum to achieve both of these goals.

What is a Fairtrade City

The Fairtrade Towns scheme is run by the Fairtrade Foundation. In order for a town, city, school or faith group to gain Fairtrade status certain criteria must be met in relation to five goals:

1. The local council passes a resolution supporting Fairtrade, and agrees to serve Fairtrade products. (the Council passed a resolution stating that support on 22 January 04)
2. That at least four Fairtrade product ranges are readily available in the area’s retail outlets and two products served in local catering outlets.
3. Local workplaces and community organisations support Fairtrade and use Fairtrade products where possible. (The exact number needed to gain status depends on population)
4. Media coverage and events raise awareness and understanding of Fairtrade across the community.
5. A local Fairtrade steering group is convened to ensure the Fairtrade Town campaign continues to develop and gain new support.

A steering group coordinated the process of application. The Cardiff Fairtrade Steering group had its first meeting in November 2002. Representatives from Cardiff Council, Fair Do’s Ltd, Oxfam Cymru, CAFOD, Tearfund, Christian Aid, Café Europa and CYTÛN attended the meeting. The Wales and Borders Co-op group and the Cardiff Fair Trade Forum joined the Steering group in September 2003.

The hard work!

After the Steering group was set up, there were two main pieces of work to focus on. The first was to research and create a database of organisations across the city used and sold Fairtrade products. Hopefully, this would fulfil goals 2 and 3, whilst also providing the information for a Fairtrade guide. The second piece of work was passing a resolution through the council, and switching many of its goods over to Fairtrade alternatives.

The council was already interested in Fairtrade as it funded the research, printing and distribution of a Cardiff Fair Trade Directory through the Small Environmental Grants fund in 2002. The Cardiff Fair Trade Guide was launched in Fairtrade Fortnight 2003. With this support, the council were keen to pass a resolution supporting Fairtrade. This process involved Cabinet Member Briefings, discussions with Council services, Cabinet reports with analysis of the legal and catering implications, a Cabinet resolution, lots of negotiation and a full Council resolution. The initial Cabinet Member briefing was introduced to the Council in January 2003. The final proposal going for Vote in the full Council in January 2004.

After a few years of negotiation and hard-work from everyone, the Fair Trade Cardiff Steering Group was finally ready to fill and send off the application for Cardiff to gain Fairtrade status.

Therefore, Cardiff gained Fairtrade status on 1st March 2004, the first day of Fairtrade Fortnight and St. David’s day. Cardiff, the first capital city to gain Fairtrade status in the world.

St Davids day, Monday 1st March 2004

To celebrate Cardiff’s Fairtrade status, there were activities and celebrations that went on throughout the day.