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“Fair Friends” Trade Fair in Dortmund: How sustainable was the fair dedicated to sustainability?

From the 6th until the 9th of September the sustainable trade fair “Fair Friends” took place in Dortmund. A wide offer was presented to about 5000 visitors: Exhibitors from more than 20 countries introduced their sustainable products, ranging from environment-friendly dyes from Chile to fruit bowls from South Africa. Many local initiatives like” Vamos” or “Initiative Gemeinwohlökonomie” from Münster presented their work as well. Moreover, schools informed about sustainable educational projects, companies explained their activities on sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Journalist Anita Horn from the German radio station WDR 5 reported on the fair, forming a differentiated judgement after having spoken to ZIN research associate Carolin Bohn and some exhibitors. Carolin Bohn raised the question on the motives of some exhibitors: Is sustainability really paramount or does it all come down to economic growth and consumption once again? Anita Horn scrutinized the organization of the fair itself to find out how sustainable it really was. Even though measures like CO² compensation, the use of solar power and catering from regional suppliers were already taken by the operators of the fair, there were still possible improvements to make it even more sustainable – be it in regard to the long transport routes of some of the presented products or to the serving of coffee in disposable cups. Despite these possibilities for improvement, the fair encouraged interesting discussions around sustainability in many spheres of life.

In the long term, the question of how to increase people’s awareness for the topic sustainability – especially for those who have not engaged with sustainable lifestyle until now – is crucial. In this respect “Fair Friends” might be a suitable and lifelike introduction.

[Source: “Leonardo” radio broadcast from September 9th, the contribution on the Trade Fair starts at 00:06:16]

[Picture: wellphoto - Fotolia.com | WWU Münster]