Publication - Independent report

Fair Trade in Scotland: review

Published: 24 Feb 2020

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

136 page PDF

4.7 MB

136 page PDF

4.7 MB

Fair Trade in Scotland: review
Appendix 5: International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2019 - Review

136 page PDF

4.7 MB

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)