~~Bristol Heroes, Aardman Animations, partnered with Fairtrade heroes, Divine Chocolate, to present the South West Fairtrade Business Awards at a ceremony at The Watershed in Bristol on Friday 6th March to conclude Fairtrade Fortnight in the region.
The 150 Business leaders who attended thoroughly enjoyed hearing from Sophi Trancell, Managing Director of Divine Chocolate and Laura Daniel, Licensing manager at Aardman on their business collaboration on the Shaun the Sheep Fairtrade Easter Egg, demonstrating how incorporating Fairtrade into a business has massive impacts on farmers in developing countries. Many were seen sporting their Shaun the Sheep headbands as they left the event!
The winner of the Best Fairtrade Business in the South West 2015, sponsored by leading UK law firm Burges Salmon, was Koolskools from Lyndhurst, for the second year running. Their winning combination of providing 100% Fairtrade school uniforms and workwear, with schools workshops and business presentations on Fairtrade, really impressed the judges who were, in their own words, ‘blown away’ by the quality of the entries this year.
Other winners were Lee Abbey in Devon (Best Fairtrade Accommodation or Conference Centre), Café Create in Bristol (Best Fairtrade Café or Restaurant), Bristol law firm Lyons Davidson (Best Fairtrade Office), The Tiny Marmalade Company based in Exeter (Best Fairtrade Retailer – single product), Kerala Crafts from Bath and The Better Food Company in Bristol (joint winners Best Fairtrade Retailer – multiple product), University of Bristol (Best Fairtrade University of College) and Elaine Ashley, Bristol City Council (Best Fairtrade Advocate Award, sponsored by SWTUC).
Now in their third year, the Awards reward businesses that demonstrate commitment to using and promoting Fairtrade. This year there was a 40% increase in applications and a 100% increase in Gold Award winners, demonstrating an impressive level of commitment amongst South West businesses to fair and ethical trade. Winners of each category received a unique trophy designed by Bristol Blue Glass. Lunch was provided by the Surplus Supper Club and sponsored by the Shared Interest Foundation, who were appealing for support for farmers in Malawi whose livelihoods have been swept away by recent flooding.
The Fairtrade Business Awards are part of the Bristol Green Capital 2015 programme and link with the Go Green Business Scheme. Bristol is hosting the International Fair Trade Towns Conference in July 2015 and celebrates 10 Years as a Fairtrade City during 2015.