Chicago, the Fair Trade Town

Between Blago-palooza and losing the 2016 Summer Olympics bid, 2009 was maybe not such a banner year for Chicago. However, the city is bouncing back in 2010 with a new bid for coolness as it campaigns to become a Fair Trade Town. If successful, Chicago would become the largest Fair Trade Town in North America.

Fair Trade Towns, of course, are places officially committed to promoting fair trade principles, educating its people on their power as consumers to support a living wage and healthy, safe working conditions through the products they buy. The process involves five steps, and the Windy City took its first step on Feb. 10, 2010, by approving the Chicago Fair Trade Resolution. More specific goals for Chicago as a Fair Trade Town include establishing approximately 300 Fair Trade outlets, using Fair Trade products in public institutions throughout the city and increasing its promotion of World Fair Trade Day.

Currently, there are 13 Fair Trade Towns in the United States, with several more city campaigns in progress, including Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Bigger cities jumping on board with the Fair Trade cause translates to a bigger, potentially mainstream, awareness of what it means, why it is important and how to support it on a regular basis. This buzz, in turn, would mean more Fair Trade purchases nationwide, which would then provide more workers and their families a promising future overseas. It would be exponential growth. Kind of like a single, small and unassuming snowball growing into a much larger and globally-conscious snowman.

Except that Chicago is a bit more than unassuming compared to the average snowball, and its status as a Fair Trade Town, if approved, could be enormously influential. Next up: The United States as a Fair Trade Nation? Stay tuned.

For more information on existing Fair Trade Towns, as well as how to begin a campaign in your own town, visit Fair Trade Towns USA.

Tell Kraft to Adopt Cadbury’s Ethical Behavior

Photo credit: David Paul Ohmer


Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 6:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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