• Bristol Fair Trade

Create: South West Fair Trade Business Awards Spotlight

Housed in one of the three iconic redbrick tobacco warehouses that dominate the skyline of Bristol’s Cumberland Basin, Create has repurposed the space for offices and meeting rooms, as well as an onsite café, gallery and leisure facilities. Home to a range of enterprises and businesses, especially those with an environmental and social purpose, the centre even hosts a purpose-built Eco Home, which showcases sustainable building techniques.

Kathleen Pittman—Create Receptionist—talks about how and why the team has chosen to champion Fair Trade in the workplace.

As an environment centre, we have ethics at the forefront of our minds constantly. Fair Trade values fit in with what we’re aiming to achieve as a workspace. It’s important to us to stock and use products that match our ethics—by buying products certified by Fairtrade, we’re ensuring that the producers making these products are paid a fair price, and that the environment hasn’t been harmed in the process.

We endeavour to make Fair Trade visible across the whole centre, but it can still be challenging to get people to engage with what we do when they’re rushing in and out of the office every day, so it’s important to be creative. We try to do things that have a big visual impact, such as displaying giant inflatable Fairtrade products, posters and we even have a Fairtrade page on the reception TV screen. Of course, we use Fair Trade tea, coffee and biscuits in the office and in our meeting rooms, but it’s important to back that up with eye-catching information.

As a team, we think up innovative and fun ways to get people thinking about Fair Trade too, such as product tasters, quizzes and Easter egg hunts. More recently, we’ve made business packs for our tenants to make them aware of the South West Fair Trade Business Awards.

My tip for anyone wanting to introduce Fair Trade into their own workplace would be to start with the basics: try searching online for local Fair Trade activities, or look on the Fairtrade Foundation website to see what others have done before you. Then, just have a go! Give it your best and, no matter what it is, know that you’re doing something good. Anything you do is better than doing nothing at all, so what can go wrong?

Kathleen and Michelle from Create picking up their Blue Glass trophy from Nick Hewer at the 2019 South West Fair Trade Business Awards

We’re proud to have won the blue glass award [the South West Fair Trade Business Award’s custom made Bristol Blue Glass trophy] for Best Fair Trade Venue or Accommodation two years in a row, and as always the ceremony was lovely—the coffee and food is always incredible! It’s a great place to get inspiration and hear what other businesses in the South West have been doing to promote Fair Trade. We’re thinking of running a session at Create to encourage our tenants to enter—I think some people think they’re not doing enough, but no matter what activities you put on, it’s just about getting the word out there and seeing how you can build on that for next time.

Kathleen’s top Fair Trade product: “Fairtrade chocolate, coffee and wine all tie first place!”

Create’s ground floor and Eco-home is open to the public 9am – 5pm, as well as the Create Café 8:30am – 3:30pm Monday to Friday. Visit www.createbristol.org for details.

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