Achieving Fairtrade status is an amazing success which reflects the time and effort your steering group has dedicated to realising your goals. It's just a milestone on the journey as a Fairtrade Community however, and Fairtrade status should be renewed every two years.
Incredible achievements have been realised nationally and internationally, thanks to the support and action of Fairtrade Communities. The growth in Fairtrade product sales and awareness catalysed by Fairtrade Groups taking action locally has influenced shopping habits and policies at local and national levels. However, there is still a lot to be done before all trade is fair.
Your local campaign, along with hundreds of others, play a key role behind this national effort, and it’s important to maintain and grow this activity so that new supporters and organisations join the movement, greater awareness is raised and more producers can benefit from Fairtrade.
Renewals are due one year after achieving status and following that, once every two years. We will email the nominated key contact of your steering group a few months before your renewal is due, but you can also contact us at anytime to find out when this will be, or to renew early!
New Fairtrade Town Status renewal process
Following consultation with community groups we have refreshed the Fairtrade Town Status renewal process. We want to ensure it reflects the needs of Fairtrade steering groups across the country, and also enables us to better understand the enormous impact of the whole Fairtrade grassroots movement across the UK. The new process aims to make your renewal faster and focused on your campaigning activities rather than paperwork.
A pilot phase with a small number of communities started in April 2018 and was completed in the end of September 2018. After this initial testing period we incorporated changes on the new online process after feedback and suggestions were received during the pilot. Throughout the pilot and until the end of January 2019 towns can still choose to renew their status using the previous 'offline' renewal form.
Since 2012, the focus of the renewal process has been on future plans, which does not account for the huge scale of Fairtrade activity we know takes place in communities. This is why the new renewal process focuses on past activity and actions taken since your last renewal. Through this process we want to capture as much of your activity across the country as possible. This way, we can understand the impact we’re having in the UK in our mission to make trade fair. It also means we can aggregate the findings from all Fairtrade Towns so we can showcase the wonderful work of the wider movement you are part of, and improve the support and direction we offer. And of course, you can understand how your local actions fit into the bigger picture. You can view the online renewal form here but please note that the new renewal process is hosted and can only be submitted online. If you wish to renew your Fairtrade status using the online renewal process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request your personalised link.
The five goals and the timeframes in order to maintain your Fairtrade Town status stay the same. Your status must still be renewed one year from the date of declaration, and further renewals are still required every two years.
How to complete your renewal
We will send you a personalised link to the online form in order to complete your renewal when it is due. When you arrive at the form you now just need to complete the four-stage online form. Any supporting documents you have (photographs, newspaper clippings etc) can be uploaded as you go. You may want to use this checklist to help you gather all the information needed. This can be used throughout the two year period between renewals to help make notes.
The four stages of the form are:
1) You and your group
Here we ask you to provide us with:
- general information for your group,
- the group’s key contact details,
- an additional member’s details and
- some information about your group’s online activity.
In particular, we ask for details on the social media accounts your group holds and the numbers of likes and followers on those.
2) Looking back
Here we ask you to tell us about what you’ve been up to in the past two years (one year after achieving status), including:
- engagement with businesses and local organisations such as churches and schools,
- flagship employers (if your group is required to have one),
- events and local press coverage and
- any other activities your group might have taken part in.
In particular, we ask for quantitative information such as the number of organisations you have engaged with and the amount and type of events you have organised or participated in, and how many people you have reached. It's worthwhile keeping track of this throughout the period between renewals to save you time when you come to complete your renewal.
3) Political engagement
Here we ask you to tell us about your engagement with your Local Authority and – NEW - political representatives (if applicable).
It’s essential that you tell us about how you’ve engaged with your Local Authority as part of your renewal – it’s also one of the five goals. Engaging with your MP, MSP, AM or MLA is not required to complete your renewal; however it's a highly recommended activity, and understanding the level of engagement amongst Fairtrade groups with their elected representatives is hugely valuable and helps inform our national campaigning and advocacy.
4) Action plan for next steps
This is where you can share with us your future plans for the following two years. We would love to hear your next steps but this is not mandatory to complete your renewal. You can use this action plan template or any other action plan of your choice as long as it supports your group to plan activities for the following two years. Early planning and capturing future actions all in one document certainly makes things easier, and can really help measuring your impact so you can celebrate your success and maintain momentum!
What should I expect after I submit my renewal?
Once you’ve submitted your renewal form you will receive an automated email confirming receipt of your renewal. We will review it within 4 weeks and an updated certificate will be sent to you along with a feedback email. If we have any questions, we’ll get in touch with your steering group’s key contact.