Local workplaces and community organisations including places of worship, schools, universities and colleges and other community organisations support Fairtrade and use Fairtrade products whenever possible. Populations over 100,000 will also need a flagship employer.

Leighton-Linslade: A brilliant example of business outreach

Relationships with traders and businesses are a great asset to any Fairtrade campaign as they present so many opportunities to help promote and support Fairtrade products.

The steering group of Fairtrade Town Leighton-Linslade in Bedfordshire is a good example…

Top tips for getting businesses involved:

  • Attend or host a local business networking event
  • Provide samples of Fairtrade products
  • Show how Fairtrade can easily be incorporated into businesses
  • Provide window stickers for participating businesses
  • Create a product guide showcasing local suppliers

Consumers are more than ever interested in where their food and drink comes from. This is something that has definitely been noted in Leighton-Linslade where they see more and more of a desire from local businesses to get involved with ethical sourcing and Fairtrade in particular. The Leighton-Linslade steering group made business engagement the key target in their Action Plan and initiated an inspiring campaign by showcasing Fairtrade at a local business networking event.

The group was approached by a local estate agent who wanted to host an event to support Fairtrade in their well-placed offices in the town centre, so they decided to hold a business networking morning during Fairtrade Fortnight 2013.

Samples of delicious Fairtrade refreshments were offered, donated by businesses hosting a stall. The products were chosen to highlight both the variety available and also to show the different ways in which they could easily be incorporated into businesses and workplaces, from serving them to customers to supplying staff rooms.

The businesses already involved in Fairtrade generously shared their experiences and offered catalogues of their products.

The morning event meant guests could fit their visit around work and there was a turnout of around 30 people.

Preparations for the day included:

  • Invitations were sent either by email or hand-delivered to 150 people. The invitations were designed specifically for the day and advertised by the Chamber of Commerce
  • Fairtrade window stickers were provided to businesses in town already involved to raise the profile
  • Various resources were on display and a specific product guide was made for the event by  local Fairtrade supplier Manton Office Supplies
  • There was a business card prize draw on the day to win a hamper of Fairtrade goods donated by local businesses
  • A beautiful display featuring a cottage made from Fairtrade packaging was designed and created by the steering group in one entire window of the estate agent’s, to complement their venue.

The success of this fantastic undertaking was largely due to the amazing attention to detail. The Leighton-Linslade steering group applied both dedication and professionalism in their outreach to businesses and are an inspiration to all.

If your group is looking to take your Town campaign further and engage with local businesses you can find more ideas online in the Fairtrade Foundation’s workplace materials for businesses.  A host of resources are available from procurement guides to workplace case studies and leaflets.

Useful Links

Leighton-Linslade’s Fairtrade Town website

Fairtrade Foundation materials for business