Saturday, 28 November 2020

Former mayor calls for Henley Fairtrade status

HENLEY is set to be relaunched as a Fairtrade town.

HENLEY is set to be relaunched as a Fairtrade town.

The accreditation was first awarded in 2007 and is due for renewal.

Former mayor Jeni Wood, who is a supporter of Fairtrade, wants the town’s status to be reinstated.

She would also like banners to be put up at every entrance to the town and a commemorative plaque to be installed.

In a report to the town council’s town and community committee, Councillor Wood said: “Like all of you, I know I am privileged to live in Henley — the jewel in the crown of the south of England.

“It is a privilege I have not earned, therefore to assuage my feeling of guilt at having an unearned privilege, I should like, with the residents of Henley, to help people who do not share that privilege in a way which will cost me very little in a monetary sense, give me great pleasure and a sense of pride in being fair to others. I should like Henley to become a Fairtrade town where we ordinary people can make a difference to the much harder lives of food producers thousands of miles away.”

Fairtrade is an organised social movement that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability.

It advocates the payment of a higher price to exporters as well as higher social and environmental standards.

It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and gold. Deputy Mayor Martin Akehurst said the quality of Fairtrade products had improved.

He told the committee: “I tried Fairtrade five to six years ago and I didn’t like it but it has improved tremendously over that time. There are some products that I would quite happily buy and I would ask everybody to try it — it’s good.”

Councillor Dieter Hinke said he didn’t understand the difference between Fairtrade and other similar products.

He said: “It’s not the product, you are just paying a little bit more for it.

“I spent a great deal of my life visiting sweat shops around the world and everything that can improve the situation is a good thing but being fair trade is just paying someone a bit more to pick the beans.”

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak said Henley should be relaunched as a Fairtade town with the help of supporters who could talk to businesses to gauge their support.

Councillor David Nimmo Smith added: “The town council can reaffirm its support but it is something that the Henley Partnership takes further.”

The committee recommended that the town becomes a Fairtrade town again and the full council will make the final decision.

Fairtrade is already supported by the Christ Church Centre in Henley, which held a celebration of products during Fairtrade Fortnight in March.The Reading Road centre uses Fairtrade tea, coffee, sugar, biscuits and fruit drinks after services and in its meetings.

In April 2000, Garstang in Lancashire declared itself the world’s first Fairtrade town and there are now more than 500 in the UK. For more information, visit

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