News / Winnipeg

A cuppa ethics: Winnipeg closing in on fair trade label

The executive policy committee asked staff to highlight the negligible costs of going fair trade.

Anna Paulse enjoys a fair trade latte from Cafe Postal in Winnipeg.

Lyle Stafford / Metro Order this photo

Anna Paulse enjoys a fair trade latte from Cafe Postal in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg is one step closer to becoming a fair trade city.

On Wednesday, council’s executive policy committee (EPC) signalled its support for an application the Fair Trade Winnipeg steering committee plans to make with the city’s endorsement.

But more than simply affirming the application, the city needs to walk the walk by changing its coffee and tea suppliers to be 100 per cent fair trade, identifying future goals for sourcing fairtrade products, assign a council or staff member a role on the steering committee, and publish Fair Trade info on the city website.

City staff delivered a report Wednesday that looked at the feasibility of each requirement and compared the cost of fair trade and non-certified coffee.

On the cost front, the report concluded, “there are no significant financial implications of Winnipeg becoming a fair trade town."

Mayor Brian Bowman said the final green light is still council’s to give, but an amendment made to the motion for endorsement Wednesday asked staff to specifically highlight the negligible cost difference before council.

“It was confirming, adding clarity to the report, confirming that it would be cost neutral,” Bowman said. “It was just making sure that it’s not going to cost taxpayers more to do this.”

The Fair Trade Winnipeg steering committee—established in 2014—can make its application for the city to be granted Fair Trade Town designation only after council approves the policy to serve exclusively fair-trade coffee, tea and sugar at municipal properties.

If that happens and the application is subsequently approved, Winnipeg would be the 23rd jurisdiction in Canada to gain the designation, following Gimli and Brandon, which went fair trade in 2009 and 2014, respectively. 

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