Countdown’s Nick Hewer Awards South West’s Best Fair Trade Businesses
Updated: Apr 8, 2019
TV personality and Fairtrade Foundation Patron, Nick Hewer, has praised organisations that support Fair Trade through their business. In a speech made as host of the 2019 South West Fair Trade Business Awards, Hewer commended businesses “willing to put their money where their mouth is and use their business as a force for good”.
The awards, now in their seventh year, recognise organisations of all sorts and sizes throughout the region who sell or purchase Fair Trade certified products, and who promote Fair Trade campaigns and values through their communications.
Scooping the prize for Best South West Fair Trade Business was design and print agency Minuteman Press Bristol, recognised by judges for their incredible commitment to Fair Trade, including a bi-annual Fair Trade review meeting and an audit of all their purchasing to incorporate Fair Trade lines wherever available.
Speaking of their win, business owner Peter Wise commented:
“We are so thrilled to win the award, we’ve been supporting Fair Trade through our business for seven years now and it has been lovely to receive this recognition—presented by the inspirational Nick Hewer, no less! Poverty should not exist in 2019, but I truly believe that when lots of companies work together to make a difference, great things happen.”
Other organisations recognised as best in their category include Cotton Smiles, University of Bath, Create Centre, Lyons Davidson, Koolskools, Full of Beans at UWE, Natural Beverage Company and Katie Hodkinson—founder of ethical textile businesses Fairly Beautiful and Eco Bee Wrap—who was recognised for her advocacy of Fair Trade.
Fifty applicants were celebrated for their dedicated support of Fair Trade through their business, each leaving with bronze, silver and gold certificates, plus specially commissioned Bristol Blue Glass trophies for the category winners. As well as host Nick Hewer’s rousing speech, attendees heard from LJ Loftus from Fairtrade Foundation, and from coffee and cocoa producer, Junieth Leiva, visiting the UK from Nicaragua to advocate for Fairtrade.
Speaking with the aid of an interpreter at the ceremony, Leiva said:
“By choosing Fairtrade, you are not just helping one person, you are helping a whole community. Just by buying one product you are helping many people have a better life. Working with Fairtrade is the best thing that has happened to me in my life […] It has meant that everyone—not just me and my siblings—but the whole community has access to education and healthcare.”
The ceremony took place in the unusual setting of Arnos Vale Cemetery, final resting place of many of Bristol’s social justice heroes. It was sponsored by ethically-minded businesses Burges Salmon, Wogan Coffee, Indigo Valley and Ecoffins—whose Fair Trade certified eco-friendly coffins were an apt fit for the ceremony’s location. Destination Bristol and South Gloucestershire Council supported the planning of the event, which is spearheaded each year by Bristol Fair Trade Network CIC.
The ceremony is the flagship event for Fairtrade Fortnight in Bristol. The two-week celebration of Fairtrade, led by Fairtrade Foundation, has seen the launch of a campaign that calls on people to urge government and companies to ensure that cocoa farmers in West Africa are paid a living wage. Currently, farmers—often women—are paid less than 75 pence per day, less than half the amount needed for a decent standard of life.