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Love The Future of Fairtrade – Bristol’s Green Capital Day


© boat, on foot, through conversation. On Friday July 3rd Bristol Green Capital Partnership hosted over 50 guests from 22 Fairtrade countries across the world. Supported by Fairtrade UK, Love The Future and multiple Bristol organisations, we were delighted to showcase Bristol as the UK’s most sustainable city and teach all about the Green Capital Award.

Bristol is a Fairtrade City with much to offer to all those making positive social, ethical and environmental choices. Being green and being Fair go hand in hand, so it was fitting for Bristol to host the 9th International Fairtrade Towns Conference in its European Green Capital Year.


Through the day, 70 Bristolian, UK and international visitors were able to see some of Bristol’s key sustainability sites. We opened the day at Open Space Bristol’s #100Ideas for sustainability exhibition and office space. Next door, Triodos Bank gave a tour of their new sustainable build on Deanery Road. Our guests learned of Triodos’s involvement in financing green, ethical and Fairtrade organisations across the world, prompting multiple rounds of applause for their efforts.


From here we moved to Castle Park by foot, embarking on a journey through the River Avon with Bristol Loves Tides. This educational programme uses performance, art and music to explore our connections with water flows, tides and systems. Four young students of the project engaged our visitors in conversations, inspiring and teaching us all about the tides, all the while learning more of the history of Bristol. Finally, before the #FairtradeBristol2015 weekend officially started, Green Capital Day delegates received a tour of the Create Centre eco-home as an example of what is possible on a small budget. 

How We Got Here and Where We’re Going

The overarching theme of the Green Capital Day was “Being Green, Being Fair”, using Bristol as a case study of a developing sustainable city.

Through the day we listened to multiple engaging talks and presentations. Emmelie Brownlee of the Schumacher Institute provided us with a context, taking us on a journey through Bristol’s sustainability history. She gave us a flavour of the Bristol’s Green Roots project, which studied the green movement in Bristol and now comprises a 250 page book.

Bristol 2015 explained the set up of the Green Capital year itself. Engaging 7,000 primary school aged children with #ShaunInTheCity this summer, enabling citywide behaviour change with the Green Button, and raising and investing £2 million into sustainable schemes across the city.

At the Create Centre, a panel of experts from Bristol City Council, the Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC, University of West of England, NHS Public Health and Transition Bristol talked partnership working, collaboration and Green Capital succession – what are the opportunities beyond 2015, and how will Bristol continue its story of sustainability? We learned about UWE’s involvement in the bid for the award and how they are supporting the city-wide effort in Bristol; the background to the Food Policy Council and achievements in making Bristol’s food system more sustainable; and the opportunity for Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC to use the 2015 to help build a fairer, greener and more collaborative future for the city.

The 9th International Fairtrade Towns Conference

Over 240 delegates from 20 counties gathered for the full weekend conference to explore ‘Fair Trade for Sustainability’ as part of Bristol’s European Green Capital major events programme. They heard from keynote speaker Fatima Ismael, environmental expert in Nicaragua, on how climate change is reducing yields and threatening the lives of millions of coffee farmers in developing countries.

Other announcements and developments from the weekend include two Fairtrade town Mayors from Lebanon signing the Bristol Resolution with George Ferguson, committing to taking one step for Fairtrade that will contribute to achieving UN sustainable development goals; Fairtrade villages and towns launching for producers in the Carribean and Latin America; plus the première new short film “How Green is Fairtrade”

The overall experience of the weekend was very positive. 96% of delegates rated the conference Excellent or Very Good, with many of them calling it ‘the best ever’. 62% were influenced to attend the conference due to Bristol’s Green Capital Award accolades, while 86% would definitely recommend Bristol as a place to visit. Inspired by Bristol’s degree of collaboration and partnerships, 72% of the delegates said that they will use the information they learnt at the Conference to connect with local sustainability groups in their own towns and cities.

Across the city, the public connected with the Conference through Fairtrade activities in the Bristol 2015 Lab on Harbourside, and the Make Sunday Special on Sunday 5th being Fairtrade themed with Fairtrade markets and family activities.

Thank you to all that attended the Green Capital Day and the 9th International Fairtrade Towns Conference!

Photo copyright Jon Craig

Find out more about the European Year for Development.


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