Scotland is dedicated to playing its part in tackling global challenges, which is why, in 2017, we celebrated retaining our status as a Fair Trade nation, cementing our reputation as a good global citizen. Scotland is only second country ever to receive this accolade, making it clear that we are a world leader when it comes to lending a helping hand.
Many of the staples that we find in our kitchens today, come from businesses and employees who were previously not being paid fair prices for their work or products. This created a cycle of poverty and denied many families a dignified life. Over the years, Fair Trade has become a success story by building a partnership between consumers and producers with mandatory minimum prices guaranteeing that farmers receive fair payment for their products.
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum (SFTF) was instrumental in driving forward the agenda to achieve Scotland's Fair Trade status. The accolade means that people, government, businesses, public bodies and community organisations across Scotland have come together to meet stringent criteria designed to promote Fair Trade, including;
- Fair Trade to be promoted in schools through the curriculum, procurement and other possible means
- Schools, Further Education Institutions, Faith Groups, Trade Unions, business networks, voluntary and youth organisations to pledge to use and promote the campaign
- 75% of people to buy a Fair Trade product every year
- 40% of people to regularly buy Fair Trade products
- Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to use, promote and make available Fair Trade products internally, and to actively promote Fair Trade Fortnight each year
Now that Scotland has this title, it's important that we keep promoting the values of the Fair Trade campaign. It's up to all of us to work hard to encourage greater Scottish support than ever before by continuing to buy products and support the campaign in other ways, for example, attending events at the annual Fair Trade Fortnight to learn more about the lives of Fair Trade workers.
Ahead of this year's 14 days of events, Martin Rhodes, Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum said:
Fair Trade has been so successful in Scotland because of the commitment from different sectors of Scottish society: campaigners and businesses, public sector bodies, government at all levels, the voluntary sector, faith groups, trade unions, the education sector from early years to schools, colleges and universities. Some of the early pioneers were from Scotland and now we have the next generation of advocates.
Fair Trade Fortnight 2020
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum was established in January 2007 by a group of campaigners, Scotland-based non-governmental organisations and the Scottish Government and had a major hand in cementing Scotland's status as a Fair Trade nation in 2013.
This year's Fortnight will focus on cocoa, and the special role women farmers play in journey to living incomes. On the events taking place across the two weeks, Martin Rhodes explained:
"Communities from Orkney to Dumfries are organising events and activities to spread the ‘She Deserves Fairtrade’ message."
During the fortnight, the Edinburgh Fair Trade group are welcoming a cocoa producer from Cote d'Ivoire to speak alongside Scots Makar Jackie Kay and film, stage and television actor Adjoa Andoh whilst communities and schools in Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Moray and Angus will be welcoming Malawian sugar producers to tell their story. The Fair Trade Fortnight is also acting as the vehicle to launch the featured short film about coffee from Rwanda.
What has Scotland done?
In the spirit of working together, in 2014 the Fair Trade Football project was launched which was a lottery funded initiative that aimed to work with youth groups in disadvantaged areas to promote values such as equality and ethics as well as the use of footballs made in a safe and fair workplace.
In the years following, Scotland's commitment to the campaign has remained clear, with a host of international scale events, such as the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Homeless World Cup and the St Andrews Open pledging to use Fair Trade products.
On top of this, in 2017, all 44 Scottish universities signed up to Electronics Watch which uses worker-driven monitoring to detect problems in factories. This ensures that any electronics being bought by the universities are coming from factories where workers are treated fairly and with respect.
Fair Trade Communities
Out of 32 local authority areas in Scotland, a whopping 27 are classed as Fair Trade Communities which plays a major part in Scotland maintaining it's status and ensures as many people as possible follow campaign values.
A Fair Trade Community is a town, city or local area which has Fair Trade status. Scotland has this status; however local authorities must also do their part. To be awarded the status, the towns or local areas must make an application to the Fair Trade Foundation, giving examples of how they have met the criteria.
Scotland's commitment to these values shows that as a nation, our generosity of spirit is quite considerable. Scotland's reputation as a welcoming nation, and our status with regards to Fair Trade shows that we don't just care about our people, but people of all nationalities and all walks of life.