In the spring of 2009, a small group of university students in Vancouver, BC, began a discussion about the merits of Fair Trade as a means of combating inequality and poverty in the world. Building on the notion that improving the trading system could enhance working conditions, decrease environmental impact, further sustainable harvesting, and build a system which benefits both the producer and the consumer, they reasoned that a community-based consortium could, through a non-partisan approach, seek out partners within various sectors of society and work to foster a movement. The mandate of this entity could be rooted in shifting current concepts of trade relations between developed and developing nations, as an alternative to the traditional aid approach. Keeping the focus local, they argued, would endorse in-depth and repeated analysis of consumer patterns, and allow them to tailor their support and involvement to issue that specifically relevant for their community. The team believed that if the citizens of Metro Vancouver could be made aware of the impact their purchasing choices have, this could motivate a positive change. The result was the creation of one of Canada’s leading organizations on the issue of Fair Trade, Fair Trade Vancouver.
From the beginning, FTV enjoyed support from a variety of local and national organizations, civic government officials, and private sector actors. Local vendors already engaged in Fair Trade practices were also quick to embrace this group of like-minded individuals and be instrumental in its success, by bringing experience, confidence and passion to the cause. And those with an interest in offering Fair Trade products would have the support and resources to assist them.
By the end of 2009, FTV was actively involved in various projects within Vancouver, playing an instrumental role in procuring Vancouver’s Fair Trade Town certification status in May of 2010. It also successfully launched the first annual Fair Trade Pavilion, at the EPIC Sustainability show. FTV had become a social movement built around a straightforward concept, with tangible outcomes.
Currently, FTV boasts an elected Board of Directors and Leadership teams totaling nearly 20 individuals. It continues to look for opportunities to unite with an ever-expanding partner network to increase collaborative capacity. As a volunteer-driven society, we are always interested in recruiting keen members, so visit our get involved section of our website or contact our Volunteer Coordinator Lorna Young at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.