Fair Trade in Scotland: review

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

Chapter 2 Fair Trade, Sustainable Development Goals and Scotland's Inclusive Economy

'By strengthening their organisation and marketing skills, by improving health, water and education facilities, by diversifying into new economic activity, and by improving environmental protection programmes, farmers and farm workers in Africa who supply the fair trade market are already working towards making poverty history for themselves. Being able to make a living from the sweat of one's labour should be a basic human right, safeguarded by governments, for all people in Africa and elsewhere.'

Raymond Kimaro, Kilamanjaro Co-operative Union Ltd, Tanzanian coffee producer. At a 'Make Poverty History' rally during the G8 Summit at Gleneagles 2005.

2.1 Fair Trade and Sustainable Development Goals: SDG+?

Fair Trade is regarded by the Fair Trade movement internationally as having a clear role in relation to many of the Sustainable Development Goals launched in 2015. Some ten years after Raymond Kimaro made his speech at a Make Poverty History rally, in a plea to global leaders attending the G8 summit at Gleneagles, his message is never more prescient in addressing Fair Trade's impact in delivering SDGs as a trade-based approach to tackling the climate crisis.

'The new Global Sustainable Development Goals are a big deal for the 1.5 million farmers and workers who work within Fairtrade. Not to mention the other 500 million small-scale farmers and one billion agricultural workers who between them supply 70% of the world's population with food.'

Marika de Pena, Chair of Fairtrade International[10]

In 2018 Fairtrade International[11] published its manifesto for delivery of the SDGs, highlighting how food production, its producers and the supply chain are relevant to every one of the 17 SDGs. FTI cites several key organising principles that connect all of Fairtrade's contributions to the SDGs. These are:

  • a multi-stakeholder perspective
  • rights based approach
  • capacity building and organisational development
  • inclusive bottom-up ownership
  • equitable participation
  • Presence in more than 100 countries worldwide, working with producers, consumers and the public.

Many FTOs - including SFTF - have focused specifically on SDG12, Responsible Consumption and Production, which addresses both the consumer and the producer through ethical supply chains and aligns Fair Trade closely with the approaches to mitigating climate change impact.

Figure 2.1: The United Nations 17 Goals for Sustainable Development


Figure 2.1: The United Nations 17 Goals for Sustainable Development

Infographic text:

Sustainable Development Goals

1 No Poverty
2 Zero Hunger
3 Good Health and Well-Being
4 Quality Education
5 Gender Equality
6 Clean Water and Sanitation
7 Affordable and Clean Energy
8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
10 Reduced Inequalities
11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
12 Responsible Consumption and Production
13 Climate Action
14 Life Below Water
15 Life on Land
16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17 Partnerships for the goals

These principles reflect a sustainable 'people and planet' first (before profit) perspective that is central to Fair Trade's message.

'Across the whole Fairtrade system is a vision of non-dependency on the production of coffee. Instead, we believe that our farms should help us on food security, give us what our families need and help us to find other products like cocoa, bananas etc. which can feed our families but also be traded locally and therefore provide us with additional income to spend on other products that we can't grow, like sugar, oil or soap.'

Fatima Ismael, General Manager of SOPPEXCCA coffee cooperative, Nicaragua

2.1.1 Opportunities and Challenges for Fair Trade Alignment to SDGs

In 2018 the International Charter for Fair Trade[12] was launched, providing a common reference document for the Global Fair Trade movement. It describes Fair Trade as a movement which 'works to transform trade in order to achieve justice, equity and sustainability for people and planet'. As Fair Trade in Scotland aims to embed its messaging and call to action within the SDGs it will need to re-state and emphasise the breadth and relevancy of its core purpose as a movement which seeks change at the heart of economic systems and trading relationships and is of direct relevance to the crisis and sustainable approaches to taking mitigating actions. Indeed, some leaders within Fair Trade have suggested policy inconsistencies between the two in terms of the economic model underpinning their respective goals and principles.

Fair Trade argues for an equitable trading model where social impacts take precedence over economic indicators such as GDP growth: as a movement it fundamentally questions existing trade models.

Figure 2.2. Graphic from International Fair Trade Charter’, 2019

Figure 2.2. Graphic from International Fair Trade Charter’, 2019

Infographic text:

Fair Trade

Gender Equity
Food Security
Sustainable Livelihoods
Ecological Balance
Thriving Communities
"People First" Trade Policies
Decent Work
Inclusive Economic Growth

The SDGs refer, in contrast, to the 'power of trillions of dollars of private resources to deliver on sustainable development objectives' (SDG17) and, some commentators argue

'essentially defend a typical Free Trade agenda (SDG 17 Partnership for the Goals), which is at odds with Fair Trade[13] ….Several of the Goals are contradictory, not addressing the Power relationships that exist within Free Trade or how traditional trade models do little to empower communities/ producers at local level.'

Sergei Corbalán, Chief Executive of the EU Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

Corbalán argues that without individual goals being inter-connected to ensure such policy incoherence is eliminated, there will continue to be challenges in achieving global sustainability. He advocates an 'SDG+' agenda; the FT movement should be saying 'we go beyond the minimum' and are 'doing even better.'

2.1.2 SDGs and 'Greenwashing'

Erinch Sahan, Chief Executive of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) also fears that there are dangers in purely looking at the SDGs and Fair Trade in the light of consumer choices to the exclusion of wider economic injustice. Whilst large corporation's compliance with Sustainability reporting is to be welcomed, the danger of 'Greenwashing' where small changes are made to present the business as 'green' should rightly be regarded as piecemeal.

'We need to move consumers away from these plastic / palm oil questions (… because companies can respond to such concerns) yet still do a million things that are damaging the planet like incentivising deregulation of land use.'

Erinch Sahan, Green consumerism: does it matter?

2.2 SG International Development: Global Citizenship and Beyond Aid

It is within this context - of Fair Trade being both a wider trade and economic justice model as well as a consumer purchasing initiative - that Scottish Government's commitment to Global Citizenship and the Beyond Aid agenda (through its International Development commitments) and more broadly its response to the SDGs articulated through the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework[14] is viewed in the remainder of this chapter.

The International Development Strategy (2016)[15] committed to enhancing global citizenship in Scotland, by inspiring communities and young people to realise their role as good global citizens in the wider world, passing on the baton to the next generation. Committed citizen action, which sees grassroots support for Fair Trade products, is arguably a key part of that. The Scottish Government's ongoing commitment to Scotland as a Fair Trade Nation was set out in its International Development Strategy, published in December 2016 with a further three years funding for SFTF secured. Alongside its support of SFTF, the Scottish Government also provides core funding for two further international development organisations: Scotland's International Development Alliance and Scotland Malawi Partnership. The three organisations, as independent bodies with separate governance arrangements and strategic purposes, deliver complimentary missions and services.

2.2.1 Scotland's International Development Alliance (the Alliance)

The Alliance's strapline is 'Scotland for a Fairer World' and is a membership body for organisations and individuals including NGOs, businesses, academic institutions and public sector bodies that operate in over 100 countries which are 'committed to creating a fairer world, free from poverty, injustice and environmental threats.' In 2017 the Alliance (formerly NIDOS) re-restructured its governance and strategic mission in order to support collaboration across sectors and thus achieve greater impact. Since then this strategy has been particularly successful in securing the membership and active engagement of universities in Scotland who are leading on research topics such as climate justice. It has been harder to achieve meaningful engagement with like-minded private sector companies.[16]

The Alliance supports members to improve their impact, facilitates collective policy and advocacy work and promotes the value of international development.

In its policy and advocacy role, the Alliance connects and represents its membership to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament, as well as DFID and the House of Commons. The Alliances' current priority areas for policy and advocacy are the SDGs and Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD), specifically identifying non- development policy and impact indicators at SG level which do not align with the delivery of SDGs (such as labour rights, trade policy etc.)

SFTF is a member of the Alliance and actively participates in its networking and advocacy work. The synergies with Fair Trade are obvious, with both organisations playing a role in education, policy and advocacy work on sustainable development (although the Alliance is specifically tasked with this in a leadership role and has a Policy lead amongst its staff team of seven). Their aims also align in securing broader engagement of people and organisations in Scotland with international development issues. There is currently little reference to Fair Trade on Alliance's website. Specifically, there are opportunities to work collectively on SDGs in relation to the climate crisis and ethical supply chains at public policy level and to contribute to its policy coherence work. SFTF members who are also members of the Alliance could do more to promote the wider relevancy and visibility of Fair Trade's impact on many of the Global Goals, amongst other Alliance members. This includes SDG 13 referenced in the Alliance's recent report on member contributions to SDGs,[17] but not to the exclusion of other SDGs in order to highlight Fair Trade's contribution beyond consumer initiatives.

COP26 provides an ideal opportunity to work with other Alliance members in campaigning for sustainable livelihoods of producers in the global South and promoting the relevancy of Fair Trade to the climate crisis. Building on the success that the Alliance has experienced in attracting academic institutions to its membership, collaborative working with like-minded universities on research areas of relevance to Fair Trade's impact in Scotland could be strengthened and extended (e.g. Glasgow Caledonian University as University of the Common Good).

There may also be an opportunity for some of the Alliance's existing services such as grant management reporting and funding advice to be extended to Scottish FTOs.

2.2.2 Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP)

The SMP was established in 2004 with the support of the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow. In 2005 the first international development strategy of the SG was published (following the G8 summit the same year) with a particular focus on the relationship between Scotland and Malawi. Later in 2005 a Co-operation Agreement between the governments of Scotland and Malawi was signed and the partnership registered as both a charity and company limited by guarantee. The SMP has over 1,000 member organisations and key individuals, aiming 'to inspire the people and organisations of Scotland to be involved with Malawi in an informed, co-ordinated and effective way for the benefit of both nations.' Like SFTF, the organisation provides a forum for ideas for its members, youth and schools engagement (with a dedicated officer), activities and engagement events.

Synergies with Fair Trade include their partner themes of promoting sustainable economic development in Malawi and Trade, Agriculture and Food security. These partnership areas do not currently reference Fair Trade or members of the SFTF on the SMP website. The SMP also supports the growth of Scottish markets for Fair Trade, with one third of Malawian products promoted currently being Fair Trade. It is not currently the SMP's role to carry out due diligence on whether the Malawian companies (or UK importers) promoted by them comply with ethical and fair trading practices. SMP regards its role as 'harnessing purchasing power in support of Malawi'[18] rather than setting out to drive sales (of FT or non-FT goods). Where responsibility for this should lie and whether SFTF has a role to play should be explored in further detail to ensure consistency of approach across SGID's commitments.

2.2.3 IDEAS Network in Scotland: Global Learning Centres (DECS)

The SG (through Learning for Sustainability) also funds five Development Education Centres across Scotland in order to encourage Global Citizenship education (GCE).

These centres work with the Alliance, SFTF and SMP where educational priorities align. Several centres, such as Highland One World which was consulted during the review, report strong working relationships between SFTF and their local FT town, zone or university steering groups and promote Fair Trade to schools and other stakeholders regionally. Two of the centres' websites reviewed appeared to have little reference to Fair Trade or within the resources provided.

2.2.4 Beyond Aid

The focus on Beyond Aid has been welcomed by the International Development sector, through its recognition that key global factors, such as trade, migration, investment, environmental issues, security and technology, rather than aid, influences how aid-recipient countries develop. Beyond Aid promotes a twin approach of:

a. enabling developing countries to engage more effectively with these global factors and

b. ensuring powerful countries support, or at least do not undermine, developing countries in progressing these issues ('do no harm').

The ID Strategy emphasises the role that government, local government, public bodies, private sector, communities and individuals all have to play in adapting behaviour in support of the goals.

For the SG, this will mean concerted effort on behalf of all SG directorates to begin to align the Beyond Aid approach with other policies that include Scotland's International Framework, the Scottish National Action Plan on Human Rights, Education Scotland's International Strategy, the Trade and Investment Strategy, and the International Social Enterprise Strategy. At a wider level within Scottish Government, the Beyond Aid commitment means beginning to work effectively across Ministerial portfolios to support international aims and identify other policies which can contribute positively to development outcomes whether delivered by Government or public agencies.

In September 2019 the Scottish Government published the inaugural Scottish Government contribution to international development report.[19] It references the funded activities and programmes currently operated through the International Development Fund and their outputs to date.

'We have laid the foundations for working with civil society organisations in Scotland's international development sector on policy coherence, as part of a stepwise approach to 'do no harm' and work for positive development outcomes.'

Contribution to international development report: 2018-2019, the Scottish Government

The first stage of the Beyond Aid approach has already been well articulated through the delivery of several actions that support developing countries to better engage with global factors such as Climate Change (including aid for development, a Humanitarian Emergency Fund and the Climate Justice Fund). The second stage focuses on a holistic approach to charging Government, public sector, business and society with the responsibilities of ensuring that behaviours and policies are impacted by commitment to delivering SDGs. This challenging agenda is helped - at Government and Scottish public sector level - through the development and focus of indicators in the re-designed National Performance Framework launched in January 2019.

2.2.5 Global Citizenship Programmes: NHS Scotland

The Scottish Government promotes the 'Beyond Aid' agenda out with Government by encouraging and supporting Scottish public bodies, private sector, communities and individuals to embrace its holistic and interconnected approach to realising the Global Goals.[20] One of SGID Team's key initiatives has been to work with NHS Scotland on interpreting Global Citizenship principles for the NHS and its employees. SFTF and the Alliance have supported this process. An NHS Global Citizenship Programme has been developed which reflects and supports the existing international development commitments to partner countries, as set out in the SG's International Development Strategy, in particular the commitment to support capacity strengthening in the area of health. The programme is also intended to make it easier for all NHS staff to participate in global citizenship, both in Scotland and abroad by ensuring better guidance, co-ordination and support.

To support Scottish Government's vision and the benefits of global citizenship in NHS Scotland, under the CMO's (Chief Medical Officer's) auspice, a Scottish Global Health Collaborative (SGHC) was formed. The SGHC is an inclusive multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral network created to promote greater coherence, co-ordination, collaboration and communication for Scotland's global health activities.

A 'Scottish Global Health Co-ordination Unit' (SGHCU) has also been established[21] with a facilitation and co-ordination role for health partnership work in NHS Scotland. The aim is also to facilitate cross- sectoral collaboration, including the education sector, academia, the environmental sector and the many diverse sectors which have implications for health, as collaboration will be essential to achieve the SDGs. The Unit has commissioned the production of a comprehensive Active Global Citizenship resource for NHS workers,[22] which number some 160,000 in Scotland. With input from Development Education Centres, the Alliance, the SFT Forum and Scotland's Malawi Partnership the resource will take a holistic look at health inequality from global impact at macro-economic policy level (such as trade agreements) to local and household level circumstances and behaviours.

Fair Trade and Trade Justice is referenced in the resource, to be published in 2020, in terms of awareness raising amongst individual health workers and influencing behaviour change in consumer choices. Bridge 47, an independent development organisation[23] and Scotdec (Development Education Centre) have been commissioned to develop and test the resource with NHS workers. There are enormous opportunities for Fair Trade - and specifically SFTF - to influence and awareness raise in the context of training and events provided for the NHS workforce on active global citizenship. This is a 'quick win', possible through the encouragement of SFTF's increased involvement by SGID. It is less clear how the Trade Justice agenda is currently being directly addressed through NHS sustainable procurement policies, based on the current NHS Procurement Strategy,[24] which makes no reference to either Fair Trade or fair and ethical trade throughout the strategy.

Figure 2.3: Getting Involved in Global Citizenship[25]

Figure 2.3: Getting Involved in Global Citizenship

Infographic text:

Active Global Citizenship
What is it? and how can I be an active global citizen?

Getting Involved
Register as a Board Global Health Champion (some overseas experience) or the People Register (no global health experience but lots of interest!)

Volunteering Opportunities
There are lots of ways, at home or overseas. As a first step link with your board lead and/or local champions.
Drop us an email for their contact details.

Helping from Home
Support local global health and sustainability network.
Contribute your skills and expertise to local Health Partnerships, for example mentor/support colleagues overseas.
Provide remote education and training and peer support.
Fundraising to support local and global partnerships.

Contribute overseas
Review the Health Partnership Mapping Tool to explore partnerships where you might contribute.
See our Guide to Volunteering for principles of partnership working and toolkits.

Helping from home
Discuss with your line manager how your voluntary global citizenship work might contribute to your Continued Professional Development (CPD).

On return from overseas
Debrief with a colleague, complete your Continued Professional Development (CPD) global health questionnaire and share the work on the Health Partnership Map.

2.3 Beyond Aid: A European Perspective on Trade and Procurement

With the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU, it is important for the review to look at current development, trade and procurement policies in place in Europe, as Scotland considers both the 'best practice' policies it is able to enact at national level, those trade policies on which it must influence the UK Government and those policy areas which represent opportunities for achieving more as a world leader in sustainable development.

European development policy is focused on fostering sustainable development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty. Providing over 50% of all global development aid, the EU and its Member States are collectively the world's leading donor.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development builds on these successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) but also goes further; incorporating follow-up from the 2012 Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, and aiming to address poverty eradication, and by 2030 reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty. The EU states a strong commitment to making aid more effective and aligning this to development action. The European Commission is part of the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.[26]

2.3.1 EU Policies on Fair Trade

Despite the increasing support of Fair Trade by EU citizens, the rapid growth of Fair Trade sales in the last 25 years, strong political support from the European Parliament, Committee of the Regions, and in a large number of EU Member States, it has been argued that there is no real European level strategy to promote Fair Trade.

Trade and regulation of business tends to be dealt with separately (and not interlinked) from public procurement policy, as in Scotland (where much of trade policy is still reserved to Westminster). In public procurement 'sustainable' is most often seen as purely 'green' rather than embracing the 3 pillars of sustainability (including social and economic). The message that FT delivers on all three pillars is an important selling point, particularly within context of the growth of the organic market (in EU 75% of FT products are also organic).

2.3.2 EU Trade Policy and Trade for Aid Policies

Whilst the European Commission has been reluctant to develop distinct policies for Fair Trade as part of members states' Trade Policy, (in contrast to the EU's co-ordinated strategy in support of organic agriculture as an alternative farming approach),[27] its Trade for All Strategy[28] references 'fair and ethical trade' as one of the desired outcomes of trade agreements and trade preference programmes and promotes fair and ethical trade as a response to consumer demand.

In 2018 the European Aid for Trade Strategy update and references 'building on the broadened possibilities offered by 'new generation' EU Free Trade Agreements to support labour rights and the Decent Work Agenda, through the binding social and environmental provisions[29] and calls for support for fair and ethical trade in partner countries.

One practical example of promoting 'fair and ethical trade' has been through the Awards for EU City of Fair and Ethical Trade (Ghent in Belgium won the first award).

Case Study 1: Ghent - 'EU City for Fair and Ethical Trade'

The city, in partnership with the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) and the City of Ghent have shown real leadership in sustainable procurement by developing a multilingual Toolbox for Socially Responsible Workwear which is specifically aimed at public procurers to support them in understanding and auditing supply chains relating to textiles. The partnership had 3 pillars:

  • leading by example,
  • supporting pioneers and
  • promoting ethical consumption.

The toolkit articulates the principles of socially responsible supply chains, referencing SDGs and takes a due diligence approach to compliance with national and EU procurement policy in sourcing sustainable and ethical clothing. It advocates closer working relationships with key public suppliers to encourage towards more social sustainability in the chain and encourages Cross-border collaboration to exchange best practices.


Supply chain in the textile sector

Graphic from toolkit

Infographic text:

Supply chain in the textile sector

Cotton (Raw Material)
Labelling and Packaging

The toolkit is a practical and supportive guide reflecting very similar procurement processes to those of Scottish public procurement agencies and could easily be replicated in Scotland, using the pilot approaches outlined. A pilot might be led a Fair Trade University, local authority or purchasing agency.

2.3.3 EU Procurement Directives and Fairtrade

The EU public procurement rules voted in on 15 January 2014 'make it easy to buy fair' supported by EU Commissioner Michel Barnier and key Members of the European Parliament. The rules enable public authorities across Europe to make a deliberate choice for Fair Trade products, alongside other sustainability considerations.

The law confirms the direction set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the 'North Holland' case ruling (Commission vs Netherlands C 368/10), which for the first time clarified 'that public contracts can award additional points to products of fair trade origin.'

The opportunity to consider social aspects alongside environmental ones is a step forward from the existing rules. Furthermore, the new Directive explicitly allows referring to robust certification schemes as a proof of compliance with the sustainability requirements set out in call for tenders. The EC Trade for All (TFA) policy report recognised that there was insufficient information for producers and EU consumers regarding access to Fair Trade schemes.[30] To remedy this the Commission stated that they will use the existing structure for implementation of TFA's to promote fair trade and other sustainability assurance schemes, like the EU organic scheme; address 'fair and ethical trade' more systematically in the upcoming review of the EU 'Aid for trade' strategy and report on fair trade- related projects as part of its annual report.

The Commission committed to promoting - through the EU delegations and in cooperation with the High Representative - fair and ethical trade schemes to small producers in third countries, building on existing best practice initiatives. It also agreed to step up support to work in international fora, such as the International Trade Centre in order to gather market data in relation to fair and ethical trade markets, which could then serve as a basis to follow the evolution of the markets. A final commitment related to developing awareness- raising activities in the EU, in particular working with local authorities in the 'EU City for Fair and Ethical Trade' award.

The new public procurement Directive came into force in March 2014 and EU Member States were[31] granted two years to transpose it into national law. In Scotland, this was achieved through the Public Procurement Reform Act of 2014.

2.4 Fair Trade Public Procurement in Scotland

The Scottish Procurement Policy Handbook defines pubic procurement as 'the acquisition, whether under formal contract or otherwise, of goods, services and works from third parties by contracting authorities.'[32] Public bodies include central and local government and bodies governed by public law. Several key organisations here include the NHS, fire service and police and public educational institutions such as schools, colleges and universities. These bodies adopt their own policies in line with the law and directed by the Scottish Government's policy.

Procurement policy in Scotland is a devolved matter. However, it is notable that under the devolution settlement Scotland has no legislative competence to create law that contradicts EU law.[33]

The Scottish Government has shown a strong commitment to Fair Trade through its political support of Scotland becoming a Fair Trade Nation. This commitment was strengthened through the inclusion of 'fair and ethical trade' within the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 stating that the Procurement strategy must include a statement of the authority's general policy on 'the procurement of fairly and ethically traded goods and services.'[34] However, 'fair and ethical trade' is not defined and the Act only makes the statement a requirement, not the adoption of the practice.

The EU Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) launched its latest a publication 'From local to EU level: Scaling Up Fair Trade in Europe[35] in March 2019. According to the report, the main challenges that Local Authorities promoting Fair Trade face are a lack of internal capacity and financial resources. The report calls for EU support in developing, testing, implementing and upscaling Fair Trade projects, together with calling for EU funding for training and awareness raising for national procurement agencies on applying sustainable development to procurement practice.[36] The Beyond Aid agenda in Scotland may wish to consider how public procurement can better enable
the practical execution of 'fair and ethical trading' embedded in national policy.

2.5 Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and FairTrade

SDG 17 Partnership for the Goals calls for the enhancement of 'policy coherence for sustainable development' as a key means of implementing all global goals. A recent publication tracking countries' progress towards policy coherence by the OECD, found that, according to countries' Voluntary National Reviews, this presents a major challenge. It requires meaningful collaboration and co-ordinated action across both policy sectors and different levels of government. It also requires balancing short-term priorities with long-term sustainability objectives and considering the impact of domestic policies on global well-being outcomes.[37] PCSD is the key challenge for Governments committed to a holistic approach towards sustainable development, connecting both domestic and international policies with impact globally. The report demonstrates the importance of strong institutional and governance mechanisms in empowering people to meeting the inclusivity challenge.

The UK Government published a report in June 2019 on progress towards delivery of the SDGs, with the SG's report due late in 2019. Oxfam in Scotland recently consulted with civic society on what Scotland could be doing to further the delivery of SDG17[38] and commented on several action taken by the SG's as an international leader (such as hosting an Inclusive Growth conference with OECD and IMF in 2017) and through its refreshing of the National Performance Framework align its 11 outcomes to SDGs.

Within the framework two outcomes are mapped to Goal 17:

We are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally.
We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from

As part of the Oxfam report, the Alliance has commented on PCSD in Scotland and provides a Wiki resource mapping progress, calling for the SG to undertake a more detailed analysis of where policy incoherence might arise, and how key synergies might be leveraged, particularly in relation to International Development.[39] This Wiki resource was developed to foster collaboration between sectors; with the Scottish Parliament and environmental NGOs already committing to develop the resource further from new angles. The Alliance hopes SG will make the same commitment.

2.5.1 Scotland's National Performance Framework (NPF)

'The NPF is Scotland's wellbeing framework. It explicitly includes 'increased wellbeing' as part of its purpose and combines measurement of how well Scotland is doing in economic terms with a broader range of wellbeing measures. These indicators incorporate a wide range of different types of data - from social attitudes and perceptions to economic and environmental statistics - in order to paint a picture of Scotland's performance… The values also inform decisions about what is prioritised to make progress on the National Outcomes and purpose, and how to behave to get there. This means placing greater emphasis on openness and transparency'.[40]

Scottish Government, 2019

Indicators for the NPF's outcome area for international development are currently under development. However, if PCSD is to be applied holistically and lead to fundamental shifts in behaviour at Government, business and civic levels, every outcome needs to consider how it relates and impacts on wider global issues, rather than purely interrogating policies from the perspective of 'doing no harm to our current international development agenda'.

The Framework potentially represents a first step towards re- thinking Scotland's economic model towards a 'Wellbeing Economy' focused on a humanity rather than GDP, growth driven model. The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has spoken on the international stage about 'Wellbeing' outcomes becoming central to the way Scotland measures its success as a nation.

Initially the NPF focused on domestic interpretation of the global goals rather than assessing domestic actions against their wider international impact, such as trading practice. The ID Minister for the SG has publicly announced his commitment to establishing a Ministerial cross-departmental working group to assess all SG policies through the Sustainable Development lens.

2.5.2 The NPF: Towards a Wellbeing Economy that Embraces Fair Trade

The graphic on the following page (p26) highlights the relevance of at least 7 of the NPF outcomes to Fair Trade, both within the domestic market (and the FTOs who are attempting to develop domestic sales)/ how support for enterprise operates and international trade impact for developing countries producers.

If a 'Wellbeing economy' is defined as one in which 'humanity defines economics not the other way round',[41] then fairness and equity in trade to benefit the most marginalised communities of the world directly suffering the consequences of richer countries' consumption, must be part of the NPF's approach.

'The good news is that rich countries don't need more growth in order to improve people's lives. We already have enough income; the problem is that it's captured at the top. If we share what we already have more fairly, we can improve people's lives right now without having to plunder the Earth for more. Fairness is an antidote to the growth imperative.'

Jon Hicks[42]

This review recommends that the SG Global Citizenship commitments to Fair Trade are re-framed to embrace this holistic approach towards achieving well-being in both international relationships and domestically, so that rather than Scotland contributing internationally to the achievement of the Global Goals by developing countries, Global Citizenship is seen as an integral and multi-directional commitment to achieving 'Shared Value' in the joint pursuit of global goals.

'Shared Value through community level impact at international level is the only way to achieve the global goals[43] ' commented Ian Walker, Senior Director of Global Impact for Johnson & Johnson…'Global citizenship is not one-directional. 'My future is tied up with yours.'

Ian Walker, Johnson & Johnson, 2019

The acceptance that non-development policies are recognised as impacting on the global Goals by large companies such as J&J, indicate opportunities for Global Citizenship alliances with likeminded corporate sector companies.

2.5.3 Interrogating Fair Trade Practices for Policy Incoherence

The Fair Trade movement, and specifically the FLO Fairtrade certification scheme, has itself faced criticism in the media in recent years. This has tended to focus on questioning the validity of the Fairtrade audit processes and secondly its environmental credibility.

Several stakeholders in the Fair Trade movement consulted during the review commented on the lack of urgency with which some of this criticism has been addressed by Fairtrade leadership. Environmental criticisms have largely been focused on the use of water, its preservation and water intensive crops (such as flowers); Fair Trade crops contributing towards deforestation; Fair Trade crops' previous use of pesticides -once widely accepted and supported by development and aid internationally - now found to pollute land and Carbon intensive exporting practices. Recent trends for locally produced foods and the 'Food Sovereignty' movement also questions the long term support of retailing and consuming Fair Trade produce.

A further major theme of criticism by Fair Trade activists themselves has been the FTI strategy of encouraging large brands and retailers to adopt Fairtrade Mark certification for 'own brand' product lines. This 'high risk' trend of relying on a few multi-nationals for scaling up Fair Trade sales has, it is argued, been characterised by a lack of transparency in reporting and information sharing by these companies, including 'traceability' concerns where a large coffee/ tea plantation supplies both Fairtrade and non-Fairtrade commodities. It has also led to a situation where - due to scale - many farmers supplying the Fairtrade market are tenants and not smallholder producers with voting rights within a farmers' co-operative, resulting in variable or weak policies for community sustainable development.

Many of these criticisms are being addressed through developments such as:

  • Strengthening the audit of environmental practices within the FT certification scheme;
  • Promoting crop diversification and in-country food security;
  • Focusing on promotion of FT commodities which cannot easily be grown in the North's climate;
  • Interest in developing renewable energy for freight transportation and
  • Further scrutiny of traceability and 'single source labelling' to differentiate and provide transparency.

In the spirit of transparency, it is important that Fair Trade in Scotland responds openly and pro- actively to these questions as they are raised within the context of 'do no harm' and policy coherence. If Fair Trade (and its representative body in Scotland, SFTF) is to become an authoritative voice on identifying policy incoherence where it exists, it must also be open to responding and advocating for change within the Fair Trade system itself.

Figure 2.4 National Performance Framework and Fair trade's alignment to the indicators


Figure 2.4 National Performance Framework and Fair trade's alignment to the indicators

Infographic text:

Our Purpose - To focus on creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth
Our Values - We are a society which treats all our people with kindness, dignity and compassion, respects the rule of law, and acts in an open and transparent way

We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy
We are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally
We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally
We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe
We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential
We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society
We have thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone
We are healthy and active
We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment
We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely
We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination

FT Principle: 1 Opportunities for disadvantages producers
FT Principle: 2 Transparency/accountability
FT Principle: 3 Trade Practices
FT Principle: 4 Fair payment
FT Principle: 5 No child labour, no forced labour
FT Principle: 6 No discrimination, gender equality, freedom of association
FT Principle: 7 Good working conditions
FT Principle: 8 Capacity building
FT Principle: 9 Promote Fair Trade (education)
FT Principle: 10 Climate Crisis and protecting our planet

2.5.4 Scottish Government and Agencies: Progress Towards PCSD and Fair Trade

For the purposes of this review interviews were conducted with several policy leads within the Scottish Government working in policy areas with clear synergies to Fair Trade, as well as public agencies funded by the SG such as Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The review asked them to articulate how they believed Fair Trade fitted with their policy remits and where further collaboration might be possible. The policy areas consulted on were:

  • Learning for Sustainability (education & skills)
  • Trade (including Brexit readiness)
  • Human rights
  • Fair & Inclusive workplaces
  • Social Economy
  • International Climate Change
  • Sustainable Public Procurement

The review also spoke to:

  • Scottish Enterprise Social Economy lead
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise Sustainable Communities lead
  • Scottish International Development Alliance
  • Scotland Malawi Partnership
  • Highland One World Group (DEC)
  • Oxfam Scotland
  • International Social Enterprise Observatory
  • Community Enterprise In Scotland (CEIS)

One of the most significant findings from these interviews, was the consistently poor knowledge levels or understanding of the principles of Fair Trade, beyond a general awareness of the existence of FT Mark certified products. There was a lack of basic Fair Trade literacy and in some cases a misunderstanding about what FTOs delivered in terms of their social purpose in supporting producers to import to Scotland and the UK.

If Scotland as a Fair Trade Nation is to achieve real growth in Fair Trade and build on its achievements as a civic society initiative, it must impact upon policy delivery and in this respect further awareness raising and education across both SG directorates and public agencies is required. Whilst there is much evidence of existing efforts and initiatives to 'join up' policy and practice areas, there is a key role for the SFTF in leading dialogue on the embedding of Fair and Ethical Trade within the policy frameworks and practice procedures of these bodies, in partnership with other internationally focused and social enterprise led organisations.

A summary of the findings from these interviews are given in the following table together with recommendations (pp37-41).

2.6 Learning Points

2.6.1 Fair Trade Messaging and SDGs

The SDGs provide an opportunity for Fair Trade in Scotland to ensure that its messaging and advocacy work clearly articulates the current and worsening impact of climate change on developing world producers. This could be achieved by highlighting best practice examples of fair trade producers mitigating climate change impacts through social enterprise, employee ownership and action.

Fair Trade's wider social objective of campaigning for economic and trade justice needs to be re-stated in reference to the SDGs and the SG NPF's indicators and placed at the heart of all campaigning. This should go beyond FT as purely a consumer oriented labelling initiative. In particular regards to SDG13 Responsible Production and Consumption, aligning Fair Trade to the Goals is a good starting point, but there is a danger that this restricts its message and reach to being misunderstood as a solely consumer oriented approach.

Where Fair Trade adoption and alignment is already taking place within the public and third/ social enterprise sectors, its visibility should be increased and aligned with SDGs. This might be enhanced through the development of an appropriate branding/logo to be utilised in branding and publications of all SFTF members and partners, Scottish organisations and businesses.

Leadership by example will only be effective if it is visible. Public agencies, business, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government's existing procurement and offer of Fair Trade goods within the buildings and at events requires more consistent promotion and branding.

2.6.2 Global Citizenship Education: Upskilling and Awareness Raising

Stakeholder understanding and informed awareness of Fair Trade in the context of Global Citizenship is generally poor, even amongst International Development NGOs. Knowledge rarely extends beyond the FT mark a consumer labelling initiative. Priority should be given to global citizenship education for and upskilling of business, government public and third sector policy makers and procurers, with SG directorates (beyond ID) and its agencies having a key responsibility for ensuring that SFTF has access to appropriate forum.

2.6.3 Identifying Priority Areas for Eliminating Policy Incoherence

The business led working group drafting a draft Action Plan for Business and Human Rights should urgently consider independent scrutiny of auditing of their proposal by an independent agency such as the Forum or the Alliance in order to eliminate policy incoherence. The Scottish Business Pledge is also a clear area of inconsistency in terms of Global Goals implementation and fair and ethical trade globally, particularly in terms of its interpretation of business responsibilities within the international supply chain.

Within the Scottish Government and its agencies, priority should be given to policy coherence and 'doing no harm' in relation to International Trade policy and Sustainable public procurement and further work is required across SG directorates to provide a meaningful definition of what Ministers regard as 'fair and ethical trade'.

Public agencies and organisations representing business (largely small business) need to improve their awareness of Fair and Ethical trade within the context of contributing towards the Global goals and NPF indicators. Again, there is an obvious role for both the Forum and the Alliance's members to provide training and engagement activities.

All projects and businesses receiving funding through SGID should be subject to due diligence in relation to fair and ethical trading and supply chains, in common with the mechanisms currently being developed between Human Rights and International Trade policy. This includes attention to governance and parent importer companies (where these are not the same as the producer).

Sight should also not be lost of the most fundamental policy incoherence issues relating to Wellbeing economy vs GDP growth economic models. These two divergent approaches to macroeconomics continue to sit uneasily together with the framework of NPF indicators.

Transparency and accountability also apply to the Fair Trade movement itself. In Scotland the Forum also has a leadership role, on behalf of the movement, in responding to criticism of existing Fair Trade practices and advocating change to the Fairtrade status quo where policy incoherence exists.

Policy Area

Progress in PCSD in Relation to Fair and Ethical Trade

Related Policy and Actions of Other Agencies / SG Directorates

Next Steps: Opportunities and Recommendations

Climate Change International

Main area of relevance to ID perceived to be existence of the Climate Justice Fund, recognising that the poor and vulnerable at home and overseas are the first to be affected by climate change.

Since 2017 focus on 2 strands: Climate Challenge Action Fund (Malawi) and Climate Justice Innovation Fund: must be Scottish based organisations working in medium/low rated UN Development index countries with specific priority given to SG's priority countries (also Zambia, Rwanda and Pakistan).

Most discussion centred around helping developing countries to mitigate climate change 'in country' rather than changing domestic trading and procurement practices to support sustainable livelihoods.

Good practice examples of this approach in funding, through Climate Justice Fund of Water Futures Programme Malawi: SG working with UK retailers to ensure water sustainability for Malawian communities and their key export products: tea and coffee.

Glasgow hosting COP26 in December 2020.

Scotland Malawi Partnership

Climate Action Fund

SIDOS - Alliance for International Development for all who are 'committed to creating a fairer world, free from poverty, injustice and environmental threats' - works with SG on Climate Justice Innovation Fund.

Climate Change is the main challenge for producers of food and crop based commodities (e.g. cotton) and their importers and is directly impacting FT in terms of water preservation, crop failure etc. for smallholders & their families today.

Opportunities to support FT producer-led initiatives (such as with FT Africa), rather than only funding projects to 'ensure voices are heard'?

Where engagement strong with UK retailers on water sustainability, this conversation should be extended to reflect wider ethical and fair trading principles.

COP26: Key opportunities exist for improved messaging communicating urgent impact of climate change on developing countries (caused by the North) and how Fair Trade is a solution, which can empower producers to address issues encountered following Climate Change Action legislation.

Education: Learning for Sustainability (LfS)

Curriculum for Excellence cross-curricular approach to learning e.g. social studies and globalisation of trade; fairness & equality for cohesive communities.

Very much dependent on teacher's professional judgement on 'relevance' to student's learning and their existing knowledge; there is no guidance that students must learn about FT; there have been challenges in embedding sustainability learning into practice;

Fit with SDG 4.7 young people's awareness of SDGs & global citizenship

Climate emergency and local responses to addressing inequalities

One Planet Working Group: One Planet: an agenda for living

Development Education Centres (DECs) funded by SGID.

Provides schools with support to explore sustainable development at international level but can be dependent on geography of school in relation to centre.

However, DECs don't necessarily have a FT focus, depending on local focus and priorities. Highland One World Group is very active in this area.

Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) funded by SGID. Civic society initiative promoting Scotland - Malawi links through a Co-operative agreement between the two countries; promoting sustainable economic development and building Scottish market for products;

Full time Youth & Schools Engagement Officer in post to develop links and promote understanding of Malawi amongst young people; Education Scotland supports cross-curricular school 'Malawi days' as easier to integrate within curriculum.

Liaison with Education Scotland (or at least awareness raising) on the need for 'fair and ethical trading' to be embedded as part of LfS curriculum;

SFTF to work with SG LfS on raising awareness of FT schools as a model for delivering the cross-curricular commitment and use as an LfS outcomeindicator;

'Relevance' central to teacher's responsibilities under CfE so need to highlight FT in relation to current themes such as Climate Crisis and Brexit threats to trade; also examples of environmentally sustainable FT practice by producers;

Holistic approach to ID support requires further scrutiny of products/businesses promoted from Malawi and whether practice represents 'fair and ethical' trade (similarly for other commercial projects supported with ID funds);

Explore how funded youth engagement posts in DECs and SMP could more effectively support their partner SFTF in promoting awareness of Fair Trade and/or consider resourcing similar role in SFTF).

See also Adult Learning recommendation (chapter 6 recommendation)

International Trade

Scotland a Trading Nation: our export growth plan[44] - key document;

focus is on next big markets; 15 priority countries (incl. China) and longer term interest in the South (Brazil, Nigeria, South Korea, India) ); SG follows FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) guidance on which countries Scotland can work with; where FCO guidance specifically advises not trading within a country due to human rights violations
SG would remove from their priority list.

Strategy expects 'Scottish businesses to adopt ethical business practices, conduct appropriate due diligence on business partners and to be aware of local business conditions in export markets.' SG public agencies carry out due diligence where public funding is provided.

Investment: Due Diligence Checking[45] guidance issued - developed with Human Rights Team (below)

Commitment to social, environmental and other goals 'how SG wants to trade as well as what we want to trade'.[46]

Scottish Business Pledge: international element (see below); Work on Due Diligence check for Exporting businesses - with Human Rights Team (see below).

The record of nations in term of human rights, living wage and labour relations (in terms of both their own citizens and supply chain due diligence), doesn't feature in criteria for selecting target market countries, although FCO guidance is followed: key future area for PCSD in Scotland, the onus cannot simply be on business to adopt appropriate due diligence checks or to assume established practice is always sufficient.

Bringing due diligence in supply chains to the forefront of Scottish Development International and Business Pledge exporting due diligence, for micro and small businesses on which Scottish economy depends;

Key PCSD opportunity is to influence Free Trade Agreements regardless of Brexit outcome, in favour of developing country producers and ensure post- Brexit tariffs do not negatively impact producers (currently reserved power).

Support developing country producers to access Generalised Systems of Preference (currently a barrier for many due to complexity of requirements).

Piloting support for developing trade relationship between priority African country and Fair Trade producers as model of good practice for scaling up fair and ethical trade practice. Scotland brand?

Human Rights and Fair Work

National Action Plan[47] largely domestic in focus with little attention to international human rights; International outcome focuses on Business & Human Rights, with working group of business organisations & SHR Commission developing an action plan;

Current focus of team on ensuring protection of Human Rights following Brexit, but work underway regarding due diligence for exporting businesses on HR;

International Engagement tends to be seen as influencing other nations through sharing examples of good, fair work in Scotland rather than 'what other countries are doing wrong'. (2018 Human Rights Framework).

Fair Work focused first on Scottish workforce by expected to extend responsibility for investigations down supply chains;

Fair Work Action Plan - wage rates, living wage/ engagement with UK Govt; mainstream policy area; Established independent Fair Work Convention

Aligns closely and Scottish Business Pledge.

Despite refresh to the Business Pledge, it does not currently address 'responsible business abroad' (as well as at home)

Elements of Scottish Business Pledge have just been reviewed: several mandatory criteria - 3 of them are the first 3 Fair Work criteria.

Encouragement to go for full Business Pledge award. Businesses must select 5 further commitments from a menu of 7, one of which relates to Internationalisation. This is seen in terms of opportunities for Scottish business growth:

'Access to international markets drives business performance and scale, while facing international competition drives business innovation and productivity growth.' No reference to fair work or trading practices internationally.

Priority for SGID or one of its sponsored agencies such as SIDOS or SFTF to influence the draft Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

Currently no independent ID presence on working group and is, in effect, self-auditing within sector).

Need to ensure that PCSD is applied relating to fair and ethical trading; this includes:

  • supply chain practices
  • Tax transparency (Fair Tax)
  • Fair wage and freedom of association

Key opportunity for Scotland as a Fair Trade Nation to have PCSD relevancy

Need for Human Rights policy to embrace the Human Rights of workers within international supply chains on which much of Scottish consumption currently depends.

Business Pledge currently does not reflect Global Citizenship commitment. There is an opportunity, aligned to wider International Trade work, to see international markets as more than a productivity opportunity, but as a responsibility for doing business ethically.

Social economy (Scottish Enterprise and HIE)

Building Scotland's Future Today[48] is SE's current strategy framework which states that Wellbeing stands alongside sustainable & inclusive economic growth;

  • seeks to embed fair working practices into economic growth, focused on quality job creation & retention & increasing productivity. Exporting key to framework.
  • references Fair Work several times and Employee ownership models; no reference to Fair and ethical trading practices, supply chain issues (except in relation to flow).
  • Social Economy Manager appointed to SE to develop a more cohesive approach to joining up social and business economy strategies.
  • Definition of social enterprise seen to include 'added value for the Scottish economy' and benefit to Scottish community necessary in order to be eligible for SE services.
  • Sustainable Business' grants focus on practices within Scotland to reduce costs, waste, packaging, fuel etc.

Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-19[49] sees inclusive growth & social enterprise as going hand in hand. SG Third Sector Team is sponsor Team for several social enterprise agencies supporting growth in Scotland.

Scottish Business Pledge (see above)

International Social Enterprise Observatory (under CEiS) has been established to assist the development of Scottish social enterprise international markets with a focus on Global Citizenship. Currently focused on exporting expertise/ products but could equally relate to importing practice and support for innovation in product design.

  • Review criteria for accessing support from traditional enterprise agency routes; FTOs primary aim is to benefit disadvantaged communities and producers through fair trade, not to benefit local (domestic) communities but this is currently an essential criterion for support;
  • Clarify support for Scotland's FTOs (albeit currently micro-entities) providing a clear route map for support defined. Support is vital for FT importer/ supplier growth - and sustainability of supply chain to the consumer;
  • Key opportunity for developing mutually beneficial North-South and even North-North FT models where disadvantaged communities in Scotland work in partnership with Fair Trade importers;
  • Focus and FT messaging on ethical supply chains and SDG 7 should be promoted in enterprise sector, with SGID SFTF having a distinctive leadership voice in this agenda.
  • Explore partnership with International Social Enterprise Observatory (under CEiS)

Sustainable Public Procurement

The National Performance Framework sits within the legislation of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and Sustainable Procurement Duty.[50] It requires public organisations to:

'Consider how they could improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the area in which they operate, particularly focusing on reducing inequality. They are required to publish their planned approaches in their annual procurement strategies.'

Statutory Guidance offers a range of tools and information to support both buyers and suppliers interested in bidding for public sector contracts. This is underpinned by further guidance for buyers on how to apply the duty and take an ethical approach in individual procurements.

NHS Scotland: current Procurement Strategy;

Active Global Citizenship resources International Trade Policy

Scottish Enterprise 'Building Scotland's Future Today;

Climate Change Justice

  • Review of Procurement strategies of Government, its agencies (NHS etc.) and public sector against principles of Active Global Citizenship
  • Use the Fair trade principles to reach of useful definition of 'fair and ethical trade in Sustainable procurement policy.
  • Consider how the Scottish and local economy focus of the defined purpose of the National Performance Framework could highlight the wider international development aims included in the further guidance for buyers 'Sustainable procurement guidance'[51] including using 'Fairly and ethically traded.



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