Applying for the EU Cities Fair and Ethical Trade Award requires you to complete just 2 steps. This includes:

  1. Answering 6 questions

  2. Sending a signed mayoral declaration

We recommend that you read the questions as soon as possible to give yourself time to draft your answers and get all the necessary information required. Below you can find a more detailed explanation of what to take into account when applying in addition to two key documents that will help you in designing your answers.


Applications must be submitted via an online portal accessible on the Award website. No other form of submission will be accepted. The online portal includes the possibility to upload PDF forms. Cities are required to upload the completed Mayoral Declaration (available in the Application Documents section), signed and stamped by the signatory authorized by national law to legally represent the city. This is typically the Mayor or Deputy-Mayor of the city, and/or other senior political representatives in charge of international cooperation or sustainable development. Without this Mayoral Declaration, the application is incomplete and will not be considered.

Word Limit

Each question has a set word limit. This word limit is specified in the online Application Form for each question. The total text submitted by the city in answering all the application questions must not exceed 4,500 words.


Cities are encouraged to submit their applications in English to facilitate the handling, analysis and comparison of applications. Nevertheless, it is possible to submit the application in any of the 24 official working languages of the EU. These applications will then be translated for evaluation. The world limit will apply to the original submission language. Since the work of the Award such as workshops, the jury pitch, the ceremony and network meetings will be conducted in English, cities are  strongly encouraged to involve English speakers in the application process.


Applicants should provide concise, focused and relevant answers to all six substantive questions. The application also includes a summary where cities pitch the story behind their application, as well as context questions to collect relevant information for background purposes.

The emphasis should be on developing a coherent, compelling and engaging story of the city’s approach towards sustainable, fair and ethical trade. In addition to describing the current situation, cities can also include future aspirations, plans and strategies, as well as an overview of the historic evolution, where and if relevant. The Award does not aim to collect comparable, quantitative data. Where quantitative evidence is available, cities are, however, invited to include it.

Cities are encouraged to include evidence to support their narratives. While such evidence helps create a compelling and complete application, it should be seen as a complementary resource for verification. The evaluation will first and foremost be based on the written answers to the questions.

Two documents are available to help guide cities through the application process. The Application Form Guidelines provide an overview of the questions with brief explanations. The Sustainable Trade Champions good practice report showcases inspiring examples of city actions, which can guide applicants in selecting their content. The examples are however illustrative and cities are encouraged to think outside the box and look at their own innovative efforts.

In addition to these documents, a series of webinars will be organised to guide cities through the application and evaluation process.

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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.