[pullquote]The non-governmental organization and the national certification body for fair trade Austria officially certified Villach as the first city in the Austrian state of Carinthia as a Fairtrade city.[/pullquote]
Villach has been known for its fair energy and environmental policies even before being certified as a green destination. It has been using fair trade products from coffee to textile shopping bags, a variety of food and other products in restaurants and cafes, tourist accommodations and shops. Fairtrade Austria’s main mission is to educate citizens from an early age on about the importance of buying and understanding fair trade concepts.
Fair trade cannot eradicate social unbalance, but can help to balance social justice. It is a trading partnership, where producers from poorer countries with their crops and products (such as coffee, tea, bananas, various handcrafted products …) enter the international market and sell at a price which, in addition to covering costs of production includes a fair premium. That enables them to have a decent life, continue to invest in its activities and contributes to the well-being of the wider community.
A solar power plant on a degraded industrial zone in Villach is an example of a public-private partnership between the company Kelag, which is the largest supplier of renewable energy in Austria and the city of Villach, in the framework of its project Smart city. Many households in Villach decided to use solar panels to support initiatives that use renewable energy sources.
The eco friendly environment does not stop here. Nature Park Dobratsch, at the site of the nearest mountain became a park, after it was noticed that it would not bring enough revenue to stay a ski resort. Now known as the first natural park in Carinthia and the first ski resort in Europe, which has been transformed into a protected area, serves as the main source of drinking water for Villach and the other two municipalities near the mountain.
Park Dobratsch is also part of the Natura 2000 network, so all the tourist activities are tailored to the requirements of the European security system. The most popular activities are hiking, bird watching and exploring the nature. On top of the mountain on the viewing platform, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Hohe Tauern and the Julian Alps. Botanic enthusiasts can also spend the day in the alpine botanical garden and get some herbs as a perfect souvenir of the locations itself.