History of Fairtrade in Ipswich

Ipswich Borough Council is a supporter of Fairtrade and agreed in 2005 to pursue the goal of securing Fairtrade Town status. An open meeting was arranged later that year to take the Councils idea/vision further. More than 20 people formed a voluntary steering group to push forward Fairtrade Town status.

During Fairtrade Fortnight in February 2008, Ipswich achieved its aim and was granted Fairtrade Status.

The purpose of a Fairtrade Town is to contribute to the Fairtrade Foundation aim of tackling poverty across the globe by enabling disadvantaged producers from poor countries to receive a better deal through encouraging support for the Fairtrade Mark.

But the history of Fairtrade in Ipswich goes back further. Traidcraft, one of the earliest fair trade companies, was set up in 1979 and sold goods, mainly crafts, by mail order. Fairtrade began to have a more permanent place in Ipswich in 1991 when a group of people, overwhelmed by the number of mail order boxes, gratefully accepted the offer of a room in Christ Church, Tacket Street from which to sell the goods.

It built up gradually, from two hours a day, before moving to a “proper shop” in 1996 on Orwell Place, open six days a week 09.30 to 16.30.

After the 2005 Council decision, the Council collated a list of the retailers/catering establishments and other organisations in Ipswich that offer Fairtrade goods for sale or were using Fairtrade regularly as part of their activities. You can find out where to buy Fairtrade products in Ipswich on this website.

Membership of the steering group was drawn from those who initially attended the open meeting in October but anyone is welcome to join. The steering group is made up of representatives of a variety of organisations and also individuals.

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