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Lyons Davidson has won a Gold Award in the Best Fairtrade Office category at the first-ever Bristol Fairtrade Business Awards today.

The award recognises not only our policy of providing only Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar in our staff tea rooms and visitor meeting rooms, but also the way in which we communicate internally and externally on the issue of fair trade – and the fact that the decision is driven by the top-level of the company’s management.

Fairtrade Business Awards round off Fairtrade Fortnight

Rounding off celebrations of Fairtrade Fortnight 2012, the awards were hosted by Business West in picturesque Leigh Court on the outskirts of Bristol. Guests were treated to a delicious lunch from local wholefoods and fairtrade suppliers before the formal awards ceremony began.

Host of the Fairtrade Business Awards, George Alagiah, gave an insight into some of the living and working conditions he has observed in developing countries during his career as a BBC foreign correspondent. James Bennett of the Fairtrade Foundation spoke about why Fairtrade is good for business, in particular the growth in demand among UK consumers. Finally, Sandra Rojas, a producer of sesame from Nicaragua, described through an interpreter how she has benefited from the premium she is paid by selling some of her crop through a Fairtrade Cooperative. Due to low demand, only 20% of her sesame currently gets to market in this way, but the minimum price she is paid for it has so far allowed her to fund her child’s education and make simple improvements to her modest wooden home.

Fairtrade sugar, coffee and tea

Among those picking up awards were hotels, cafés, shops and a range of service businesses from the West. Lyons Davidson was recognised with a Gold Award in the Best Fairtrade Office Category. To win Gold, businesses have to demonstrate that 100% of all tea, coffee and sugar purchased for meetings, events and staff refreshments is Fairtrade; that Fairtrade is clearly promoted to employees and clients; that support for Fairtrade has been agreed at management level and that they actively support community Fairtrade events and campaigns.

It is not too late to pledge to ‘Take a Step’ for Fairtrade in 2012. The Fairtrade Foundation aims to register 1.5m steps by the end of the year, one for each of the producers they work with. For Lyons Davidson, the step towards fair trade was an easy decision to make because it’s a small change for us and a big difference to communities in other parts of the world.

To find out more about Lyons Davidson’s commitment to fairtrade, visit our website.