Fairtrade logos to welcome motorists driving into Edinburgh

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LOGOS advertising Edinburgh’s Fairtrade credentials are set to be placed on road signs welcoming drivers to the city.

Transport bosses have called for the trade body’s symbol to appear at major entry points to the Capital, to underline how committed the council is to supporting ethical business practices.

The city has been Fairtrade approved since 2004, when Edinburgh became one of the first places in Scotland to ensure certified goods were made available in shops, workplaces and community organisations.

But the city council’s stance on stamping the logo on entry gateways is seen as a major step in the right direction and one that will further underpin the city’s image as a caring and cosmopolitan melting pot.

City transport convener Lesley Hinds hailed the Capital’s contribution to Fairtrade over the years, but said: “There is always more that can be done.

“That’s why I am now calling for the certified Fairtrade logo to be included on the road signs welcoming motorists to the Capital as a clear demonstration of our commitment.”

Transport leaders said they hoped to post the foundation’s logo on road signs as soon as possible.

Ethical business campaigners have also welcomed the announcement, but said Edinburgh had been slow off the mark in promoting sustainable development.

Rachel Farey, business manager at One World Shop in Princes Street, said: “We have been a bit slow on this, perhaps because the transport department was bogged down with things like the trams and wasn’t prepared to consider the extra cost.

“But we’d be thrilled if the logo goes up across the city. It raises awareness of an international dimension in the life of Edinburgh which is about caring for people beyond our shores.

“It will really boost the city’s reputation when they realise it’s being recognised here.

“Of course, some people might say it’s just a waste of money, but what it does is show a city looking outside of itself.”

Barry Murdoch, sales director at Edinburgh-based Equal Exchange, which works to support Fairtrade for developing world producers, called the move a “positive, relevant sign”.

He said: “This is significant. Increasingly, governments and councils are having to be seen to be socially responsible in terms of how they do business, and I think it’s in keeping with the public mood that the council acts responsibly and fairly in dealing with suppliers of its products.”

Councillor Hinds added: “In early 2004, Edinburgh became one of the first cities in Scotland to achieve Fairtrade City status – something which I championed personally during my tenure as Lord Provost.

“Buying Fairtrade helps producers in developing countries to get a fair price for their goods and benefits whole communities through investment in healthcare, sanitation, safe water supplies and education.

“The Capital’s Fairtrade credentials continue to go from strength to strength and, each year, the Lord Provost’s Fair Trade Awards honour the work done by individuals, organisations and businesses to promote Fairtrade products.”

The Fairtrade Foundation works to ensure products it certifies are sourced and priced according to internationally agreed standards so suppliers can earn a decent living.