At least four Fairtrade product ranges are readily available in the area’s retail outlets. Click here for good ways to increase the amount of Fairtrade goods you stock.

Bristol’s Fairtrade Business Awards are now a major regional event

Bristol’s Fairtrade supporters were creative and committed to make sure they achieved Goal 2 – getting Fairtrade products into shops and cafes.

Jenny Foster, chair of the Bristol Fairtrade Steering Group, and her team knew that encouraging businesses to get active in the local campaign would mean raising awareness of Fairtrade products, more sales and real momentum to their campaign.

The launch of their ‘Fairtrade Business Awards’ competition was a big step and needed support from a range of local groups, including business organisations, the local Chamber of Commerce and Local Authority, the Tourist Board and, of course, the companies themselves.

Jenny secured some funding from small local law firms and the Co-operative and invited BBC News journalist George Alagiah to host the event alongside Nicaraguan Fairtrade beekeeper and honey producer Águeda Avendaño  who gave an inspiring talk during the night. The Awards attracted great media coverage leading to publicity for the winners.

Now it is a major event with entrants from across the West of England. In 2013, 46 businesses across the region achieved bronze, silver and gold awards.

The awards have various categories: best Fairtrade accommodation, best catering outlet, best office, best retailer/supplier and best business. They are judged on how a business does in terms of: Fairtrade purchases; promotion and understanding of Fairtrade among staff and customers; how Fairtrade is understood and included in company policies by management; involvement in community events and innovation in supporting Fairtrade.

The Bristol Fairtrade group outlines to businesses the benefits of switching to Fairtrade, including a guide about where and how to buy Fairtrade. They obtained the contact details of selected businesses from directories or business websites and sent out press releases to the local media.

The competition has gone from strength to strength and has quickly become a well-recognised regional business event, providing campaigners with a great opportunity to spread the word about Fairtrade and acknowledge the efforts of businesses which support it.