Bake Off star to host regional awards for organisations that rise to Fair Trade challenge

January 30, 2020

The South West Fair Trade Business Awards are returning for an eighth year, with The Great British Bake Off star and Bristol resident Briony Williams lined up to host the presentation ceremony.

The awards, which celebrate ethical organisations of all sizes and from any sector across the region, have recognised hundreds of organisations that support Fair Trade through their purchasing, management and communications. 

Applications opened this week for the 10 categories, including a new award for Best South West Fair Trade Caterer.

Other categories recognise retailers, manufacturers, workplaces, universities, venues, cafés, accommodation and locally made products, as well as South West Fair Trade Champion, which shines a light on individuals advocating for Fair Trade.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony on May 16 at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol. Attendees will be treated to an afternoon tea-style lunch from Bristol caterer Papadeli, named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2019 by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC).

In presenting the awards, Briony Williams, pictured, follows a long list of high-profile hosts, including ethical beauty and wellbeing expert Liz Earle MBE, newsreader and journalist George Alagiah OBE and The Apprentice and Countdown star Nick Hewer.

She won over audiences with her Bristol-themed bakes and down-to-earth approach as a contestant on the 2018 series of The Great British Bake Off, then returned to be crowned Star Baker on the latest Christmas edition of the show.

She said: “I am incredibly proud to be from the South West and I’m also very passionate about using high-quality, sustainable products in my line of work.

“In the world we live in today, it’s more important than ever to take extra care over the products we buy. By purchasing Fair Trade we can do our bit, however small, to help farmers and workers around the world. I’m thrilled to be a part of these awards.” 

Also speaking at the ceremony will be Nicola Matthews, so-called Countess of Cocoa from Tony’s Chocolonely, who will share how they are working towards making 100% slave free the norm in chocolate.

The brand works directly with farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, countries that have been the focus of Fairtrade Foundation’s recent She Deserves campaign, calling for a living wage for women cocoa farmers.

Nicola said: “As a proud Fairtrade brand we are pleased to support the South West Fair Trade Business Awards. Making consumers aware of where their food comes from, and that there is often poverty and illegal labour in those supply chains is crucial to fixing the problem. Businesses supporting Fair Trade are part of the solution.”

Fair Trade certification schemes, such as Fairtrade, Fair Wild and Fair for Life, are instrumental in establishing fair and sustainable supply chains, establishing a minimum price for produce grown and manufactured in developing nations. Their standards help safeguard secure incomes, workers’ rights and better access to training, empowering communities through cooperative working and access to networks.

Fair Trade standards also play a role in addressing the climate emergency, through their environmental standards and by helping small-scale farmers learn about and pay for the techniques needed to tackle the effects of the emergency.

Bristol Fair Trade Network is once again coordinating the awards in partnership with destination marketing organisation Visit Bristol, South Gloucestershire Fairtrade and Business West, the region’s largest business organisation.

The network and the Fair Trade Business Awards were key to Bristol retaining its status as a Fairtrade City last year. Bristol was first designated as a Fairtrade City in 2005 and has long been recognised as an exemplar – in the latest renewal it was commended for its efforts in making Fair Trade part of every daily life in the city as well as the wide reach of its activity. 

To achieve and maintain the status, a city must demonstrate its commitment to Fair Trade across five core goals – support from local government, visibility in local retail, engagement with business and community organisations, gaining local media coverage and convening a Fair Trade steering group.

Among last year’s Fair Trade Business Awards winners were Bristol-based Cotton Smiles, which imports bags, aprons and tea towels made in India from 100% Fairtrade-certified organic cotton, Bristol’s Create Centre, Bristol-headquartered law firm Lyons Davidson and the Full of Beans café at UWE.

Applications for the awards close on April 3. To enter or to find out more, visit

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