Fair Trade Towns for the Ethical Globetrotter
- Katie Gavenda
- 18 Sep, 2019
Did you know our hometown of Chicago is the largest Fair Trade Town in the country? When Chicagoans stop to grab coffee in the morning, they can bet there will be a fair trade roast available. Maybe even several. When in search of an ethically made purse, fair trade bananas, or a just-because gift for a friend, fair trade options are readily available. Get this: even some Chicago kids can attend a fair trade certified school!
A Fair Trade Town designation means a city cares about how products are made and sourced, making it easier for residents to find ethically made goods, and sending a message to the outside world. Thousands of other towns across the globe share the title of a Fair Trade Town or City, and we’ll take you through a handful of them today, pointing out some must-see spots in each!
A Globetrotter's Guide to 5 International Fair Trade Towns
1) Bern, Switzerland
In the first major city in Switzerland to become a Fair Trade Town, more than 100 companies, schools, day nurseries, hospitals, hotels and restaurants and institutions have pledged their commitment to fair trade.
“Sustainability is not a trend for us, but a reflection on essential values. STOOR stands for an honest and transparent treatment of our environment and our fellow human beings.”
With a focus on humane, sustainable, urban, and contemporary style, STOOR works exclusively with labels that are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified.
Address: 53 Rathausgasse, Bern, BE, 3011, Switzerland
The first store in Switzerland to label all products as “vegan” or “nonvegan” at first glance, LOLA is taking a sustainable and species-friendly stance on all of their products. From household cleaners to cosmetics, to gifts and food, LOLA is shoppable online or at their store in Bern.
Address: Lorrainestrasse 23, 3013 Bern
2) London, England
The self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Fair Trade City,” London has been spreading awareness of fair trade since late 2008. Many coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants as well as meetups and learning events all focus on fair trade’s presence and potential for growth in London.
A busy Notting Hill cafe, Coffee Plant offers a wide variety of fair trade coffees and teas, roasting their own beans on site since the ‘70s. Grab a cup to go, or stay seated at one of their outdoor tables and watch the world go by.
Address: 80 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2EB1
“We believe in doing good stuff and that means looking after our people. We don't tolerate poor working conditions or people being treated unfairly, if we find people in any part of our supply chain working in these conditions, we will take action to help resolve issues in a fair and responsible way.”
A dedication to sustainably sourced organic fair trade cotton, an intolerance for any unfair treatment in their supply chain, a team of auditors verifying factories follow its Code of Conduct, and a strong commitment to addressing modern slavery – White Stuff is the ultimate ethical company. Visit stores all over Europe, or stop by their Battersea or East Dulwich locations.
Battersea address: 39-41 Northcote Rd, London SW11 1NJ, UK
East Dulwich address: 28-30 Lordship Ln, East Dulwich, London SE22 8HJ, UK
3) Dublin, Ireland
Dublin has been a Fair Trade Town since 2008, and is just one of over 50 Fair Trade Towns in the country. In 2014, Ireland spent more on fair trade goods per person than any other country!
“Our sense of responsibility extends far further than coffee farms and tea gardens. We believe in being ethical and responsible in everything we do and conducting our business in a manner that improves the health of the planet and the lives of all those we deal with.”
As the first certified Carbon Neutral coffee company in Ireland, Bewley’s is also an avid supporter of fair trade and sustainability. The backdrop of a historic cafe with stained glass windows makes it well worth a visit.
Address: 78/79 Grafton Street, D02 K033
Source: Butler's Chocolates
“We use sustainably sourced cocoa through Cocoa Horizons because we believe that sustainably sourced cocoa makes for better chocolates and better livelihoods for the farmers who grow and nurture it.”
87-year old Butler’s Chocolates dedication to ethical practices is serious - they’ve installed on their factory roof the largest solar panel system on an industrial unit in Ireland. They also work with Cocoa Horizons to improve the lives of farmers and their families, dedicating specific attention to the success and development of women in the cocoa industry.
Liffey Street Cafe Address: 4 Liffey Street Lower, North City, Dublin 1, Ireland
4. Wellington, New Zealand
The capital of New Zealand is a compact city, including a waterfront promenade, beaches, a harbor, and colorful houses on surrounding hills. In 2009, Wellington became the first Fair Trade Capital City in the Southern Hemisphere, and it continues to support fair trade businesses.
Environmental sustainability is more than just a buzzword to Commonsense: it’s been a core value. Their respect for the interdependence between a land’s resources and its people has brought delicious organic food to Wellington residents for the last 30 years.
Address (one of several locations): 260 Wakefield St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Eliminating waste and pollution is the name of the game at this fine dining restaurant. Their dedication is evident in their efforts to avoid at-risk seafood species and commitment to sustainability.
Address: 192 Cuba Street, Corner of Cuba & Vivian Streets, Wellington
5. Montreal, Canada
One of the newest to receive the title of Fair Trade Town, Montreal earned the designation this May! It joins 26 other Canadian Fair Trade Towns as a major hub for socially and environmentally sustainable businesses.
A home store chock full of handmade, fair trade, and eco-friendly furniture and products.
Address: 4441 Blvd. Saint Laurent
Eco-friendly soaps, cosmetics, detergents, and more bulk items fill the shelves here. Feel free to bring your own container to fill!
Address: 10416, rue Lajeunesse
Visit One of Many More Fair Trade Towns Worldwide
If you’re itching to go somewhere new, why not start with one of the 2,195 Fair Trade Towns worldwide? They all have something unique to offer an ethically minded traveler, and can give your trip a great starting place, all while supporting the global network of workers and artisans.