Stefan Diefenbach is optimistic.

He has been co-managing director of Weltladen Bornheim for 16 years and is committed to fair trade in Frankfurt - and was instrumental in making Frankfurt a fair trade city ten years ago.

A lot has happened in the meantime: “Awareness has already grown.

Many people are thinking more and more about how they can consume in a fair and equitable manner. ”His shop makes good sales - but there is still room for improvement.

The “Fairtrade Germany” initiative awards the title to cities that meet certain criteria - including a steering group for politics, business and initiatives, fair trade products in local shops and regular PR campaigns. 760 municipalities now adorn themselves with the seal.

Frankfurt was the first major German city to receive the award ten years ago, and a certificate was presented this week for the anniversary.

Weltladen boss Diefenbach and other dealers acted as the control team at the time.

Not everything was easy, especially the magistrate's resolution required as a condition, he says.

In the meantime it was even on the brink of whether Frankfurt could keep the title - the dealers wanted to transfer the coordination to the municipality in 2017, but no one felt responsible for a long time.

Boost from the supply chain law

Only when the head of the health department, Stefan Majer (Greens) took over the task three years ago, was the title able to stay in Frankfurt. His heart project: ten percent of the additional pension for employees is to be invested in sustainable funds. "That showed: a conservative investment strategy and sustainability are not mutually exclusive," says Majer. Many who previously did not advocate fair trade worked together at the time. In the meantime, fair trade is still a niche, but has also arrived in federal politics thanks to the supply chain law. According to the law from 2023, companies are responsible for ensuring that suppliers comply with human rights and environmental standards.

The trade in fair trade products rose continuously until 2020, then there was a pandemic-related slump. "There is a certain demand and a certain pressure," says Diefenbach. For him, networking the various actors is important. A few years ago, a Muslim community also started campaigning for fair trade. “The question of justice is very important in the Islamic religion,” says Diefenbach. In the meantime, even large supermarket chains advertise fair trade coffee or bananas. "I think that's the way to go."

But the danger of green washing lurks here, says Bastian Bergerhoff (Greens). As city treasurer, he will be responsible for the fair trade city of Frankfurt in the future. Green washing is used when companies try to present themselves more environmentally conscious through advertising than they possibly are. That is why Bergerhoff would like to focus on spreading fair trade and maintaining the network in the future. “It is important that a lot of people participate.” It should also be about other industries indirectly. "We have to do justice to the big issues like fair fashion or fair finance," says Bergerhoff.

But even after ten years in a Fairtrade city, the players see a lot to do.

"There is more on offer than we can sell through retailers," says Diefenbach.

“It would take more customers.” Not all of the projects that are planned will be realized.

Majer and Bergerhoff also see further need for action.

“We have to reach the people in a different way,” says the Green politician.

The supply chain law is a first step, but not enough.

But the development makes you want more, says Majer.

"It is a foretaste that it is worth getting involved."

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