Carlisle: The fair-trade city

Carlisle becomes a fair-trade city increasing job creation opportunities.

The Fairtrade Town campaign was first launched in 2001 in Garstang, Lancashire, under the initiative of Bruce Crowther, a local Oxfam supporter, and the Garstang Oxfam Group. This campaign has led to rising employment in the sector, with job opportunities appearing up and down the country, and indeed all over the world. Carlisle, a medium sized city in Northern Cumbria, was given the status in January 2005. Carlisle has benefitted enormously from it’s status: job vacancies have risen having a positive impact on recruitment and general employment in the region. Accountancy and engineering jobs, among others have also arisen, leading to the progression of the city into a more modern, cosmopolitan city.

The initiative, which aimed to promote Fairtrade certified goods in Carlisle, was highly successful: within a couple of months, awareness of the Fairtrade Mark jumped to over 70% in the city while sales of Fairtrade certified goods increased significantly. This has also been apparent in Carlisle, with increased graduate opportunities in accountancy, law, engineering fields and also rising recruitment in the tourism sector.

A sub-group of the Carlisle and District Fair Trade Campaign meets once a month in order to lobby the Government and the European Union on questions of Trade Justice.

Fair trade brings tangible and invaluable benefits to producers in Carlisle and in Cumbria as a whole, creating jobs in Carlisle and boosting the economy of the city. However, only a small percentage of the total number of farmers, craftspeople and workers who are dependent on trade receive those benefits because the Fair trade market, although growing, is small. Most producers operate within a system of trade which is far from fair in that they cannot make a decent living from the price they obtain for their products. These manufacturers are being tempted away from their old practices by new employees with a more ethical stance, which shows the specific recruitment methods can work.