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. Keswick, a small market town in Northern Cumbria, was given the status in January 2005. The town has benefitted enormously from it’s status: job vacancies have risen having a positive impact on recruitment and general employment in the region.
The initiative, which aimed to promote Fairtrade certified goods in the town, was highly successful: within a couple of months, awareness of the Fairtrade Mark jumped to over 70% in the town while sales of Fairtrade certified goods increased significantly. This has also been apparent in Keswick, which, being 75% reliant on the tourism sector, needed the status to make the town stand out from other destinations in the Lake District.
A sub-group of the Keswick 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 Keswick and in Cumbria as a whole, creating jobs in Keswick and boosting the economy of the town. 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.