The “EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award” celebrates EU cities who champion more sustainable trade, consumption and production, thus creating opportunities for producers elsewhere. Through knowledge-sharing and networking opportunities, the Award helps connect cities, allowing them to learn from each other and collaborate for greater impact.
Raising awareness about cities’ efforts helps spread ideas, knowledge and lessons, enhances cities’ motivation to be leaders, and enables initiatives to spread and be scaled up, thus contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production.
Purchasing decisions of EU consumers have a significant impact on the environment and livelihoods of people in other countries. The adoption of the SDGs in 2015 has made consumers more conscientious about the way the goods they buy are produced, but often they do not have access to sufficient information about the impacts of their consumption or incentives to change.
Fair and ethical trade can help steer society towards responsible consumption patterns, bringing more sustainable opportunities to producers in other countries. This can cover many different initiatives and schemes that help advance the social, economic, and environmental pillars of international trade, including worker rights, environmental protection and social inclusion.
Cities have traditionally been hubs of global trade, serving as gateways for the EU’s economic links with the rest of the world. Today, more than two-thirds of Europeans live in cities and towns. The bulk of the EU’s consumption is therefore driven by city consumers. As such, EU cities have great potential to drive sustainable, fair and ethical trade.
Cities are already leading the way as pioneers on many different sustainability issues, developing innovative solutions for environmental, social or economic problems. Better knowledge about the specific local conditions and stakeholders allows them to develop and promote context-specific solutions that are more likely to resonate with their citizens and priorities.
This new award, now in its second edition, was launched by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade. The Award covers sustainable, fair and ethical trade between EU cities and non-EU markets, showcasing how EU cities set an example for a values-based trade agenda through their own policies and activities.
This can include, but is not limited to, examples such as innovative initiatives raising awareness among citizens, running educational programmes or campaigns, implementing sustainable procurement practices, supporting new business models, providing technical support, creating supportive frameworks, collaborating directly with producers in third countries, and generally integrating sustainability into the city’s decision-making.