Fair Trade in Scotland: review

Explores Scotland’s potential to achieve inclusive growth through the delivery of increased sales and awareness of Fair Trade.

Appendix 5: International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2019 - Review

Prepared by Naima Fenderl, Member of Scottish Fair Trade Young People's Network and master's student in Development Studies at University of St Andrews.


FT = Fair Trade

WFTO = World Fair Trade Organisation

XR = Extinction Rebellion

SDGs = Sustainable Development Goals


The IFTTC took place 18th-20th of October 2019 in Cardiff, Wales became the first Fair Trade Nation in 2008

Theme: 'The Future of Fair Trade'

Key messages:

  • Fair trade is a human rights issue - this should be made clear to consumers
  • More emphasis needed on the link between fair trade and current global issues such as climate change - this can increase understanding and grow sales
  • Engaging the youth is crucial in growing public knowledge of fair trade - popularity has decreased due to other issues in the spotlight
  • Systemic change comes from grassroots - but government action is key for fundamental, long- term and effective advances
  • Transparency and engagement are becoming ever-more important and strongly benefit organisations' appeal
  • Policy aims should include fair trade becoming embedded into the system rather than acting as an 'extra'

1. Raising awareness/growing sales:

  • Consumers should be pushed to ask more questions/engage with companies to show that they care - increased demand = increased supply
  • Encouraging reconnection between those in cities and farmers/the countryside - where does your food actually come from?
  • Consumer must understand what the Fairtrade mark stands for/how it is linked to current issues
  • buying FT products helps to fight climate change
  • Hope needs to be made practical - show consumers they can make a difference by buying FT In places that offer both FT and non-FT products: make FT the standard option so you must ask
    • for non-FT, e.g. when buying coffee
  • Giving FT groups a physical space to work in is essential for effective and productive promotion

2. Engaging a younger demographic:

  • Fair Trade Schools - curriculum changes can pressure movement to FT - children can heavily influence parental buying habits
  • Cross-year teaching of FT involves all ages & promotes inclusion Germany: 648 Fair Trade Schools
  • Set up 'Fairtrade-Schools Academy' to engage & empower the youth and help with promotion, organisation & education
  • Put on many events e.g. fashion revolution, FT breakfasts, Fairtrade fortnight, FT days, competitions, surveys, art & selling of FT roses


  • 'Service civique' (civil service) at Artisans du Monde (French fair trade network) - small compensation given so young people can afford to help the community
  • Young Ambassadors of Fair Trade - scheme to give associative experience, promote education, advocacy, selling & consuming of FT products e.g. through tuck shops
  • Fair Trade Schools:


  • Scottish Fair Trade Forum & Young People's Network - developed toolkit to help campaigners
  • Connecting FT to current issues such as climate change, single-use plastics etc. is vital - young people are very involved as seen in climate strikes & XR movement, but need to educate on links between all of these causes
  • Young people believe in Fairtrade, but do not buy it in stores - issue of price - but they can still support the movement through campaigning, lobbying etc.
  • Use of social media is key in engagement with young people


  • Integrating FT into academia - not just at a school level - to increase awareness & knowledge
  • Comprehensive FT research (not spot/debunk research) is needed - opportunities to work with universities
  • Can be linked to many disciplines such as economics, business, fashion etc.
  • Finland: students receive Fairmakers training - integrated into university studies
  • US: universities given their own page on Fairtrade campaigns website - important for recognition & transparency

3. Alignment to SDGs & Climate Crisis Agenda:

Producer perspective - Nimrod Wambette (MEACCE Uganda)

  • Future of Fair Trade lies in efforts to combat climate change - SDG13
  • Crops depend on rain & climate conditions - mudslides & droughts can heavily affect farmers - SDG15
  • FT Premium buys mosquito nets, provides water etc. - SDG3, SDG6
  • School curriculum changes can pressure movement to FT - SDG4
  • Sustainable public procurement is essential for successful implementation of the SDGs - relevance to UNGP business & human rights agenda
  • Relevance of FT in relation to SDGs should be emphasised more - trade not aid approach is key

4. Government Policy:

  • Trade agreements are powerful tools but detached from FT values - can override climate agreements and affect health, digital and legal aspects of life - this needs to be examined
  • 2014 EU Public Procurement Directive - extra points given to fair trade products


  • All Wales Catering contract & 2009 One Planet Wales strategy have driven procurement opportunities - policies state buy local and fair trade
  • 60 Fairtrade items in welsh government
  • Government action is vital as legislation from the top will have the biggest impacts

Saarbrücken (Germany):

  • Fairtrade procurement for catering of 16 kindergartens - parents were surveyed and agreed on importance of investment in sustainable procurement


  • 2017 campaign to get sustainability criteria in public procurement
  • 15 organisations involved (including Worldvision, Unicef, FSC & more)
  • Launched a guide for public procurers
  • Started market dialogue about textiles with FT towns - one town wants to remove child labour from procurement - campaign involved contacting FT towns & sending guides to councillors, participate in steering group meetings, tell decision makers about guide

5. Case Studies:

Oxfam 'Behind the Barcodes' campaign

  • Rating & ranking of supermarkets based on 93 indicators linked to human rights throughout the supply chain
  • Stores have made commitments due to campaign but have also taken them back (e.g. Lidl + Aldi) - 'Big on talk | Lidl on action' - use of slogans is effective

Ghent: winner of first 'EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade' Award

  • First Belgian FT Town
  • 3 pillars: leading by example, supporting pioneers, promoting ethical consumption
  • Involved consumers, businesses & the international community
  • Organised public awareness-raising events such as the Fair Fashion Fest
  • Active engagement of public and private stakeholders in the 'Ghent Fair Trade' group - a partnership between the city and civil society organisations which is the driving force behind Ghent's awareness-raising efforts
  • Cross-border collaboration to exchange best practices
  • Developed a multilingual toolbox to guide purchasers in sourcing sustainable clothing:

6. Innovative products/organisations:

Zero waste shop Ripple (founded by Sophie Rae)

Fairebel - Belgium

The FIG Tree

Fair Tax Mark

7. Other interesting points:

Fair Trade vs. local - which is better?

  • Locally integrated businesses more likely to follow fair trade principles in general - do not need it as much?
  • Carbon footprint of imported FT products can be lower than when locally grown due to energy usage, climate etc.
  • However: people are left behind everywhere, including 'global north' - WFTO starting to work with European businesses too

Certified Fairtrade vs. fairly traded/own-label

  • 80% of British public trusts the Fairtrade mark (Fairtrade Foundation)
  • Authenticity matters
  • Transparency is key: all schemes should show & tell (e.g. supply chains)



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