In a meeting today (May 6), Vancouver council voted unanimously to endorse an application for fair-trade certification, after hearing from the nonprofit group Fair Trade Vancouver.
According to Jeff Geipel, Fair Trade Vancouver’s executive director, the City of Vancouver already meets most of the criteria for this status, due to the interest in fair trade in the city.
Clearly excited, Geipel said Vancouver is set to become the first major fair-trade city in Canada.
“It’s fantastic,” Geipel told the Straight following the vote. “It shows that the Vancouver city and its people have shown leadership on ethical purchasing and sustainability. We are the first major city in Canada, and we hope other major cities follow suit.”
In approving the application, council also okayed continuing the “existing policy to purchase only Fair Trade coffee, tea and sugar, and other Fair Trade certified products where possible and practicable, for all meetings, offices and canteens”.
In his first term on council, Vision Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie spearheaded bringing in an ethical-purchasing policy to city hall. Louie brought the fair-trade motion forward.
In a later interview, Geipel said, “It’s important that people are paid a fair price for their product and a fair wage for their work. Being environmentally sustainable goes hand in hand with being paid enough to live in harmony with your environment.”
On Saturday (May 8), celebrations for World Fair Trade Day will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. in front of the Ten Thousand Villages store on Granville Island. Louie will make a short speech.