The City of Dortmund, together with its many stakeholders in civil society, the retail trade, education, politics and administration, has been dedicated to the targets of fair and ethical trade and sustainable development for a considerable length of time now. This concerns how the municipal administration acts in terms of sustainable procurement, guaranteeing political and societal participation as well as creating a culture of recognition for citizens’ commitment and involvement. On the other hand, it is also about pooling and coordinating the efforts the community is making to support fair trade in Dortmund and the region.

A broad-based “Action Alliance” comprising more than 80 different partners from the worlds of politics and administration, science and schools, one-world groups and civil society stakeholders, presents six-month-programmes of action, designs campaigns, develops concepts and projects and coordinates activities. Together with these partners, in the context of a model project entitled “Globally Sustainable Municipality”, sustainability reporting is initiated, and a municipal sustainability strategy is coordinated. It was this outstanding commitment and involvement that also delivered the basis for further work towards setting up a “One World Strategy”. In close consultation with the stakeholders involved in the fields of migration, integration and refugee work, areas of common interest with municipal One-World-work are identified and joint campaigns and projects are prepared.


The City of Ghent has a long fair trade tradition and goes beyond raising awareness. In 2005, Ghent became the first Belgian ‘Fair Trade Town’, and has put increasing emphasis on fair trade ever since. In 2014, ‘Ghent Fair Trade‘ was launched in cooperation with Oxfam Fair Trade Shops. The  project started a multi-stakeholder approach that has triggered multiplier effect, resulting in specific commitments from the public, civil society and the private sector.

Ghent has a textile history that makes the impact of trade and noncompliance with labour rights visible. This resulted in a broad movement of entrepreneurs, volunteers, fashionistas and organisations that passionately promote fair trade. ‘Ghent Fair Trade’ has put textile centre stage, but leaves scope for other sectors. 

Ghent’s ‘Fair Fashion Fest’ attracts more than 4,000 visitors. The support for entrepreneurs has resulted in a strong, wider range of fair trade products. A map leads thousands of consumers to the growing fair trade offers in the city. Fair food was an evident procurement choice the past 20 years. 

As a textiles city, Ghent focuses on fair work clothing. A pioneering EU-funded pilot programme resulted in a multilingual toolbox for socially responsible work wear as a set of guidelines for purchasers. This allows Ghent to share experiences beyond the city borders. Ghent plans to explore other strategic sectors with high social risks, such as ICT hardware and furniture. 

Watch this summary video about Ghent


Lyon, an international trading crossroads, birthplace of humanism during the Renaissance, comprises a highly favourable ecosystem for fair trade. In 1831, the “canuts”, the Lyonnais silk workers, sought to obtain proper wages and launched the first strike in the history of industry. Committed to economic justice, they also invented the first consumer cooperative in the world, called the “Commerce Véridique et Social” (True and Social Shop), in 1835. This non-profit shop was managed democratically by its customers-members, providing products at lower prices by getting rid of the middlemen. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the immigrant workers who came to Lyon set up highly dynamic networks to forge development ties with their countries of origin, notably in French-speaking Africa. Today, this has given rise to seven decentralised cooperation partnerships. These partnerships have also spread into Asia and the Middle East.

NGOs, businesses and citizens in Lyon are particularly active and innovative in the area of fair trade for food and fashion, not to mention responsible tourism. Another group of pioneers in the area is made up of Lyon’s emblematic restaurant owners: as the world gastronomy capital, they are committed to promoting the consumption of fair trade products. The City has supported this movement, its development and its structuring from the beginning, and continues to do so with the “Lyon, Ville Équitable et Durable” (Lyon, Fair and Sustainable City) label. It has laid down an ambitious sustainable public procurement policy using the levers of public procurement to support fair local organic products (North-North and North-South) on an everyday basis, notably at school food services (26,000 meals a day). 


It has been 10 years now since the Ayuntamiento de Madrid, through a Plenary Accord, was approved unanimously by all political groups and initiated the city’s work on Fair Trade. The institutional commitment by the various municipal governments since then has increased, with many actions undertaken over the years to promote this kind of trade and to increase awareness among social stakeholders, using the wide range of tools and resources available to the Municipal Administration to do so. They have worked in cooperation with the social and economic stakeholders who operate in our city, officially establishing the corresponding participatory bodies.

Another notable aspect is the way in which Fair Trade interlocks with the rest of the activities deployed by the Ayuntamiento’s consumer services for the citizenry, such as training for schoolchildren and other groups, direct, face-to-face information for consumers, development of informative materials, and the production and in-house distribution of the values behind this kind of trade. During this legislature in particular, Fair Trade was included in strategic planning on sustainable consumption and procurement instructions were laid down that have a major quantitative effect on responsible public procurement.

No less significant was the development of synergies with other municipal plans and strategies which, on various levels, deal with sustainable urban development, and including the promotion of Fair Trade in them as another component in responsible consumption that is transforming the standards that govern the current social and economic model. Finally, Madrid develops fair and ethical trade relations with other Spanish cities and with Latin American countries.


Malmö was the first city of all of the Nordic Countries to achieve Fairtrade City-status. All the innovative and creative projects that thrive in the city, sprung from both the public and private sector, no doubt contribute to the fact that Malmö has been awarded as Sweden’s most sustainable city several times over the past few years. The vision for Malmö in 2020 is to be world leading in sustainable city development, as stated in the local Environmental Programme. One of the goals in the programme – “In Malmö, it is easy to do the right thing” – aims to make consumption patterns more sustainable for the inhabitants, and to increase the share of ethical products purchased by the city itself as the city’s consumption plays an important role in our social and ecological footprint.

When choosing Fairtrade products, we are addressing the injustices of conventional trade, and enable the poorest and weakest producers to improve their position and have more control over their lives. Sustainable consumption is an important key to sustainable development. Malmö established some very ambitious targets within public procurement in a policy that was approved by the city council already in 2010. The goal of the policy is that all food purchases where possible ought to be organic and ethically labeled by 2020 and greenhouse gas emissions from food procurement should be reduced by 40 % by 2020, compared to the 2002 level. Additionally, the purchase of Fairtrade coffee by the city Malmö has increased from 0.5 % in 2006, to 97 % today. 


Saarbrücken has dedicated itself to be part of the worldwide movement under the slogan ‘trade not aid’ and thus contributing locally to the solution of global challenges. About ten years ago, the campaign Fairtrade Towns started in Germany with Saarbrücken having triggered this process and being the first German Fairtrade Town. Saarbrücken also advocated for the campaign Fairtrade Universities in Germany in 2014, setting-up the country’s first Fairtrade University. Moreover, the city was three times the first runner-up of the German contest “Hauptstadt des Fairen Handels” and finally was the winner of the 2015 edition. Those recognitions have been achieved thanks to the commitment of a broad and cooperative network including the civil society, migrants, universities, the chamber of commerce, the trade union, the municipality and the metropole, etc. Yet, it would not be achieved without the participation of the producers from the south.

Activities such as educational projects, policies towards fair public procurement, and trade partnerships with producers in Burkina Faso have been realized. Recently, stakeholders started to elaborate the multi-sectorial “Masterplan Fair trade 20-Now” aiming to anchor fair trade principles in our city in a long term. Every week is a fair week in Saarbrücken – it is sufficient to check local journals to find activities fostering fair trade. Besides, the city council signed the draft resolution of the Agenda-2030 which provides, along with the SDGs, tools to change consumption patterns in our society and to raise awareness about global contexts. Saarbrücken is just an example of the commitment that any city in Europe, regardless of its localization, size and political and economic power, could do to support fair and ethical trade.



Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council has been supporting fair trade and responsible consumption for 18 yerars. One of the first steps was the mandatory introduction of fair trade coffee in the vending machines of municipal facilities in 2002. In 2008, the City Government approved an Institutional Declaration in favour of Fair Trade. From 2009 on, the City Council signed an agreement with the city NGDOs which work on fair trade, to carry out joint information and awareness- raising activities addressed to the citizens. In 2015, the Municipal Instruction for Socially Responsible and Sustainable Contracting was approved, which expressly includes ethical and fair trade clauses, and draws up a manual of use and public information.

During this time progress has been made in several directions: Promotion of fair trade and responsible consumption among citizens in general, among the municipal staff and among specific sectors of activity, with the participation of social organizations and other groups. Inclusion of fair trade products in municipal purchase and contracting.  Grants to development cooperation projects in developing countries that guarantee commercialization systems based on fair trade principles. This broad political commitment of the City Council stands out as an example, both for companies and other entities as well as for the entire citizenry, in how to assume its respective degree of social responsibility in the daily activities. 

Note: Summaries provided by the applicant cities are displayed in their original wording.

The EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award is an initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade implemented by the International Trade Centre.