Richmond upon Thames Fairtrade Steering Group Chair Maria Longley, Leader of the Richmond upon Thames Council  Cllr Serge Lourie, Ann Peterken and Jenny Atton, both members of the Fairtrade Steering Group

From Thursday 23 October 2008, Londoners will have more choice than ever before when it comes to selecting Fairtrade in the nation’s capital, as London becomes the world’s largest Fairtrade City. Hundreds of businesses have signed up to the campaign, meaning that Londoners will never again have to go very far to buy the Fairtrade products they want.

Londoners in Richmond upon Thames will celebrate being the largest Fairtrade capital in the world by enjoying free Fairtrade chocolate available from the local steering group’s stall in Richmond town centre on the 23 October from 12-1pm. Events will also be taking place in other boroughs around London. In achieving Fairtrade City status, the nation’s capital is sending a strong message that the people of London want trade to be fairer.

Richmond upon Thames Council Leader, Serge Lourie said:

“Now London has achieved Fairtrade City status we can really stake our claim as the Fairtrade Capital of the World.

Richmond upon Thames is proud to play its part in tipping the balance of trade in favour of producers but we recognise that there is much more to be done. We hope that people in Richmond upon Thames and all over London will continue to do their bit by buying fair trade goods and by getting their schools and workplaces to stock more Fairtrade marked products.”

The declaration, the culmination of a drive launched by former Mayor Ken Livingstone in 2003, is backed by Mayor Boris Johnson who is a keen supporter of Fairtrade. A representative from the Mayor’s office will accept the certificate from George Alagiah, the Patron of the Fairtrade Foundation, in London’s living Room at City Hall on 23 October. They will be joined by an invited audience of people from boroughs all over London who have worked tirelessly for this declaration for the last five years.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “It’s super news that London is now officially the world’s largest Fairtrade city, with 20 Fairtrade boroughs in the capital. It sends a clear message that Londoners want their products to be Fairtrade and to make a significant difference to the lives of farmers and workers n the developing world.

“We have come a long way since Croydon became the first borough to achieve Fairtrade status in 2003 and the London Steering Group and Fairtrade Boroughs are to be congratulated for their hard work in achieving our new status.”

Across the capital, 20 boroughs now have Fairtrade Borough status. Almost 1000 retailers and 600 catering outlets now sell a range of products which carry the famous FAIRTRADE Mark.

  • 941 retailers and 607 catering outlets now sell a range of Fairtrade products, including London institutions like the National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall, Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, St Martins in the Field café, the British Library café, the Barbican, the Horniman Museum, Amnesty International UK, the café at Princess Diana Memorial Gardens and many more.
  • Key organisations now providing Fairtrade at work include the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the London Fire Brigade, the Metropolitan Police, The Bank of England, Aviva, BBC TV Centre, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, KPMG, the Globe Theatre and East Thames Housing Association.
  • Churches across London have stalls stocking Fairtrade products and within the Anglican church, the Diocese of Southwark, the Diocese of London and the Diocese of St Albans all support Fairtrade.
  • Six universities across London reaching 89,650 students have Fairtrade University status. These include Kingston University, LSE, Royal Holloway College, King’s College London, Imperial College London, and Southbank University.
  • Currently there are six Fairtrade Schools in London and 30 secondary schools, and 45 primary schools which are registered as working towards Fairtrade status.

A recent CAPI OmniBus survey shows that the public’s appetite for products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark has dramatically increased in all areas. Demand for Fairtrade in schools, colleges and universities has nearly tripled from 10% to 29% and demand in other sectors such as hotels and B&Bs, cafes, restaurants pubs, in supermarkets and smaller stores continues to flourish. In the workplace the number of people wanting Fairtrade has more than doubled from 9% to 21%.

When Garstang, a small town in Lancashire, declared itself the first ever Fairtrade town back in 2000, a local consumer revolution began. Globally, more than 500 towns or communities have achieved Fairtrade status through a commitment to Fairtrade across local government, business and retail outlets including nearly 400 in the UK. The initiative spans from the smallest Fairtrade community, Fair Isle in Scotland with just 60 residents, to San Francisco in California. Brussels, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh and Rome are all capital cities which have achieved Fairtrade status.

If you would like to get more involved in local Fairtrade issues, please contact Maria Longley on 079 7441 0647 or In the meantime, enjoy your Fairtrade goods especially the chocolate.

– from Richmond upon Thames Fairtrade Steering Group