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Fair trade

Fair Trade

Scotland: A Fairtrade Nation

Scotland has achieved Fairtrade Nation status, becoming just the second country in the world to do so at the start of Fair Trade fortnight 2013 following the submission of the report "Can Scotland Call Itself A Fair Trade Nation?" by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum. In becoming a Fairtrade Nation, Scotland had to meet a range of criteria to demonstrate that we are delivering a real and lasting impact by contributing to reducing poverty, improving the lives of people that we seek to support and helping them access their rights.

This fantastic achievement would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of people throughout Scotland of all ages and backgrounds. The Scottish Fairtrade Forum (SFTF) with support from the Scottish Government have been instrumental in driving forward Scotland’s Fair Trade Nation work since their formation in 2007, establishing links with key stakeholders including schools, NGOs, local authorities, colleges and universities.

Over and above the good work done at institutional level, the people of Scotland have shown their compassion and care for the global community. As a nation we can at once look proudly on the good work we have done to achieve fairtrade nation status and look forward to future opportunities to develop fairtrade initiatives. While we can be proud of what we have already achieved, there are opportunities to continue to positively impact our trade relations with the developing world.

What is Fair trade?

Fair trade represents an opportunity for the developed world at individual and institutional levels to support producers in developing countries. Fairtrade is, in essence, an partnership between rich and poor countries that guarantees producers a fair price for their product as well as rights for all workers.

Fair Trade guarantees:

  • A fair price to producers in developing countries - enough to pay a living wage, no matter how low world prices on their product go
  • No child labour
  • Safe working conditions
  • Protection for the environment
  • Rights for women
  • Long-term contracts that allow producers to plan for the future
  • A social premium that is often reinvested into projects that help build sustainable community infrastructure, like hospitals, schools and road
Why Should you buy fair trade?

Scotland has always been an outward looking, innovative and caring nation.  The global fight against poverty and inequality is no different and Scots are active both at home and overseas in this fight. The fair trade movement in Scotland is an excellent example of this and Scotland is taking an innovative approach to tackling global poverty and supporting fair trade.

Buying fairtrade products ensures better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the Global South. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers.  It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their work, their businesses and their lives.

Despite these positive steps there is much work to be done on fairtrade.  For example, still currently:

  • For every £1 you spend on a Costa Rican pineapple in the UK, just 4p of this goes to the workers
  • Coffee farmers in Nicaragua did not receive a salary for their work until they joined the local fairtrade cooperative, demonstrating that fairtrade ensures a fair wage

Fairtrade product sales increased by 12 per cent from 2010 to 2011 in the UK yet only 25 per cent of Scots bought fairtrade products on a weekly basis in 2012. The fairtrade movement in the UK is evidently growing and there are now over 300 fairtrade products that you can buy, including tea, coffee, bananas, nuts, cotton and even gold. The variety of products is continually increasing so become part of the movement today and buy fairtrade to guarantee a fair price for the workers and producers.

Whatever the price of the product on the shelf, only the FAIRTRADE Mark ensures that the producers have received what has been agreed to be a fairer price, as well as the social premiums to invest in the future of their communities. So look out for the logo!

The future of fair trade

The declaration of Scotland as a Fair Trade Nation is an opportunity to celebrate this achievement and in doing so further increase awareness and commitment.  This is not the end of the Fair Trade campaign, but a new beginning.  The people of Scotland are responsible for making Scotland a Fair Trade Nation, and the people of Scotland are therefore responsible for the campaign’s future.  The Scottish Government will support the people in further promoting the Fair Trade campaign, increasing awareness and procurement of Fair Trade in the public, private and voluntary sector. 

Find out more about what is happening in Fair Trade fortnight in your area.

The information for this page has been sourced from the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Banana Link and Equal Exchange.