TRAFFIK-FREE LIFE: BELFAST

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TRAFFIK-FREE LIFE: A GUIDE

Belfast

Welcome to a new No More Traffik feature – a guide to traffik-free life in NI! Each of our groups will highlight three businesses in their area that are working towards a traffik-free society. Coffee shops, restaurants, clothing co’s…it’s all here! First up, here’s a guide to traffik-free life in Belfast from Carys.

Co Couture

Co Couture is a chocolatier Belfast City Centre that makes luxurious chocolate using raw ingredients. You can taste the quality of the ingredients and the effort that goes into making sure each chocolate is of just as high quality as the last. It is no surprise then that Co Couture has won numerous awards for various different sensational creations.

Location: 7 Chichester Street, Belfast BT1 4JA

Favourite product:

Deirdre’s pick: Fresh mint and Honey bars

My pick: the hot chocolate, you will never taste a hot chocolate like it!

Why do Co Couture choose to be ethical?

Deidre, the lead chocolatier who owns Co Couture says that the choice to be ethical is really a choice to ensure that they are supporting sustainable development. To this end Co Couture go a few steps further than Fairtrade. Co Couture deals directly with the producers who they can give the best price too in exchange for the finest cocoa that they know they produce.

Not only do they invest in the cocoa farmers, but they also invest in all aspects by sourcing from Madagascar alone, unlike Fairtrade, this includes processing the beans not just growing them. This means that all the skills that go into making chocolate are kept in the origin countries and honed so that the product is the best it can be, including package design and production. By developing their skills of the Madagascans the economy is helped more than just paying a fairer price. Co Couture, because of the sustainable development aspect of their ethical producing, come under the umbrella organisation Raisetrade.

Deirdre said that the product tastes better because of the love, care and attention that is paid through the entire process of making the chocolates, and I would have to agree with her. 

Established

Established is a coffee shop in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. Its minimalist décor and chilled atmosphere coupled with its luxurious coffee makes this the perfect place to work, meet friends or clients. The unique style of serving the coffee and the carefully selected blends and brews as well as the delicious food makes it stand out from the other coffee shops in Belfast. Just one visit will be enough to make any coffee fan fall in love with Established in the same way me and so many others have. Their passion for good coffee and good food is infectious.

Location: 54 Hill Street, Belfast BT1 2LB

Favourite product

Nathan’s pick: Coffee and chocolate loaf – Every time the number 1 coffee blend changes in store, the loaf changes with it as they use that blend to make the loaf for that month.

Mine: Salted caramel brownies are the best brownies I’ve ever had.

Why do Established choose to be ethical?

Nathan, one of the managers and baristas at Established said that when they founded the shop, they wanted to make sure the coffee was fair in a more substantial way by using “direct trade”. Direct trade is done through sourcing all coffee from Stafford roasters “Has Bean” who maintain relationships with their coffee farmer suppliers who receive well above a minimum living wage (eleven times the average paid to farmers under Fairtrade!) This also means that the quality of the coffee can be maintained and improved. Once you taste the coffee you will quickly taste the difference that investing in producers makes.

Liberty Blue

Liberty Blue is a cute award-winning boutique in the centre of Belfast that stocks beautiful vintage-style dresses and unique jewellery. In store you will find yourself in a haven of vintage inspired clothing with an edgy twist sourced exclusively from independent designers that are both local and international. You will find high quality products for a high-street price. Liberty Blue is the perfect place to buy distinctive statement additions to your wardrobe or to buy a present for a friend.

Location: 19-21 Lombard Street, Belfast BT1 1RB

Favourite product:

My pick: The jacquard print shift dress 

Gråinne’s pick: Handmade jewellery

Why does Liberty Blue choose to be ethical?

Gråinne, one of the managers at Liberty Blue says “We do our best to work with ethical companies as it is a basic human right to have a decent wage, working conditions and respect.”

They do this by buying from small design factories and ask all their suppliers where the clothing is made so that they can assure them that they deal with ethical factories. It is encouraging to see a small business trying their best to be ethical by tracking their supply chain.

Their own jewellery line is handmade by a number of small family owned businesses that they have built relationships with over 10 years by visiting the jewellery makers on site. These jewellers are smaller companies and they work with them because they are usually a family and therefore provides an income for them and helps sustain their business.

By investing in independent designers and jewellers not only are Liberty Blue making it easier to track their supply chain and ensure that it is ethical but they end up with a unique selection of beautiful clothes and jewels that will make anyone stand out from the crowd.

A big thanks to Deirdre, Nathan and Gråinne for letting us visit and chat! If you live in Belfast and want to get involved in some local anti-trafficking activism, get in touch here