The host of the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro has become the latest Fair Trade Town. Consumers in Brazil can buy Fairtrade certified products such as acai juice, lemon, honey, fruit and coffee from over 200 shops, cafés and restaurants, many of these products coming from co-operatives. By becoming a Fair Trade Town, Rio is pledging to buy and use Fair Trade and local produce.
Fair Trade Towns International is a campaign pioneered by the Fairtrade Foundation with the aim of promoting Fair Trade certified goods in different communities. The initiative started in 2000 in the town of Garstang, Lancashire and saw the mayor, schools, faith groups and 95% of all businesses signing the pledge. Brazil’s capital is the first in Latin America to have joined the Fair Trade Towns campaign.
Rio is now one of the 1,830 Fair Trade Towns across 28 different countries. The UK tops the list of countries with Fair Trade Town, being home to 619 cities that have joined the campaign. In the UK the Fairtrade network includes 1,350 Fairtrade Schools, 170 Fairtrade Universities and 7,500 Fairtrade places of worship. Brazil has one other Fair Trade Town, Pocos de Calda, which joined in 2012.
The official ceremony took place in Rio in the attendance of Fairtrade Brazil’s president, Naji Harb, who presented the certificate to the Secretary of Economic and Social Development.
“Now Rio de Janeiro is part of a network of more than 1,800 Fair Trade Towns all over the world. These cities are educating consumers and raising awareness about Fairtrade benefits and its impact on changing the lives of the marginalised small farmers all over the world,” Mr Harb said at the ceremony.
Brazil currently has 42 Fairtrade certified producer organisations, over half of which are coffee producers. Obtaining the Fairtrade certification enables farmers to receive better prices for their products.