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 6 Scottish Global Citizenship as Fair Trade in Action: Conclusions and Recommendations

6.1 Introduction

Fair Trade in Scotland can rightly be proud of its achievements since the first handmade Christmas cards were retailed by Oxfam Scotland in the late 1960s. It is a movement founded on principles of justice, equality and dignity in trading relationships, made successful in Scotland through the commitment and values of grass roots campaigners and social entrepreneurs over 40 years. Sales of Fairtrade Mark Certified products have experienced a remarkable growth trajectory, achieving nearly £68 million in grocery sales in 2019 and this year the Fairtrade Mark celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

The FT mark remains, despite criticism, as one of the most robust and comprehensive certification process for ensuring that profit is not pursued at the expense of human rights, fair work and environmental justice and as such, through the International Fair Trade Charter, clearly defines what sustainable ethical and fair trading can look like. The Scottish Government has continued to support Fair Trade in Scotland through its International Development Strategy focused on Global Citizenship and has committed to continuing to fund the SFTF for a further three years which supports campaigners and advocates for Fair Trade across all public policy areas.

However, there is no room for complacency. Scottish Fair Trade grocery sales declined dramatically since several major brands withdrew from the Fairtrade Mark certification licensing (and took the license fee income for Fairtrade with them). This realised one of the key risks of focusing upscale activity on global corporate brands which do not practice Fair Trade principles across their whole corporate entity. Despite being reassessed as a Fair Trade Nation in 2017, there was a tangible sense of frustration expressed by Scottish Fair Trade campaigners and Fair Trade Organisations through our primary research. They felt that at Scottish Parliament and SG levels there was no real ongoing commitment to changing the way trade works, how businesses operate or in applying fair and ethical trading in the way in which public services procure goods.

The following series of recommendations (summarising the learning provided in chapters 2 to 6) recognise these challenges and frustrations expressed during the review. We suggest opportunities for strengthening the success of Fair Trade to date, drawing upon developments in pursuing Fair Trade and the SG Goals internationally. Responsibility for achieving growth in Fair Trade sales and ethical and fair trading/ business practices lies with all levels of Scottish society, from Parliament, Government and public agencies to business leaders, educators, young people and longstanding activists. The review also proposes practical ideas for taking forward some of the recommendations made and acknowledges that prioritisation of recommendations will need to take place within resources available. The SFTF will be required to both realise grant funding opportunities as they arise and maximise partnerships with like-minded organisations and public agencies.

Figure 6.1 provides a graphic representation of the context in which the four key priority themes for action identified by this review should be viewed. The four themes are:

  • Fair Trading messaging and relevancy
  • Influencing behaviour change: education and upskilling
  • Visibility and access to product range
  • Coherent Policy for sustainable development: making an impact.

Figure 6.1: Fair Trade in Scotland: Graphic highlighting the key contextual themes in which Fair Trade in Scotland operates and the 4 key priorities identified by the review for Fair Trade in Scotland.

Figure 6.1: Fair Trade in Scotland: Graphic highlighting the key contextual themes in which Fair Trade in Scotland operates and the 4 key priorities identified by the review for Fair Trade in Scotland

Infographic text:

Fair Trade Messaging and Relevance
Social enterprise and new business models

Visibility and Product Range
Wellbeing Economy: viewing with global lens

Coherent Policy: Achieving Impact
Global Goals and Climate Change

Behaviours: Education and Upskilling
National Performance Framework Indicators

6.2 Fair Trade Nation and Scottish Fair Trade Forum Leadership Role

To consolidate, retain and build upon Scotland's achievement as a Fair Trade Nation, the SFTF should focus on its independent role in advocating for, raising awareness of, Fair Trade principles across enterprise, public and governmental sectors, calling policies and services to account for their business policies and practices.

6.3 Fair Trade Messaging andrelevancy

There is an opportunity to 're-boot' Fair Trade's messaging in Scotland, ensuring that its principles are regarded as part of the solution to the global challenges and economic policy trends emerging, such as a move towards a Wellbeing economy. Three key messages are vital for ensuring that Fair Trade's focus on both humanity and the planet is not lost:

6.3.1 The Climate Crisis

Key to Fair Trade's future profile will be its ability to communicate how Fair Trade is part of the solution to the Climate crisis, rather than competing, and to align with campaign groups seeking immediate action, particularly during 2020 where the focus will be on Scotland with Glasgow hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). There has already been a significant drive to demonstrate synergy by both WFTO and Fairtrade Foundation in this respect and there needs to sustained efforts to support Scottish and local networks to embed this into their messaging.

6.3.2 An Integral Part of Active Global Citizenship and the Wellbeing Economy

Scotland is positioning itself as a leader in development of a Wellbeing Economy model, which is jointly focused on 'people and planet outcomes'. This creates opportunities for Fair Trade to position itself at the heart of these transitional developments, referencing the relevant NPF indicators (non- international development measures) and reflecting not only a domestic (Scotland) approach to wellbeing, but approaching the indicators through a global lens in order to achieve impact on wellbeing internationally.

6.3.3 A Radical Movement: Fair and Just Trade

Fair Trade has its roots in a radical 'rights-based movement' for changing the way in which trade works. This it achieves by putting a premium on dignified trading and working relationships, rather than a philanthropic activity. Scotland needs to re-emphasise these core values for better ways of living and doing business at an international level in order to attract new and younger supporters of the movement. SDG13, Responsible Production and Consumption, is a good starting point for aligning Fair Trade to the Goals, but there is a risk that this might restrict its message and reach, as being misunderstood as a solely consumer oriented approach.

6.3.1 Practical Ideas

The Forum might consider using the structure of SDGs to undertake annual focused and strategic educational messaging campaigns highlighting Fair Trade's relevance to specific goals, starting with SDG 13 Climate Action in 2020 to ensure visibility relating to COP26

a. Closer alignment to the social economy movement might be enhanced through the development of an appropriate Scotland branding/logo to be utilised in media and publications of all SFTF members and partners, Scottish organisations and business;

b. Leadership by example is key but will only be effective if it is visible. Public agencies, business and Scottish Government's existing Fair Trade procurement practice and offer of FT goods within its food services (in buildings and at events) needs to be more visible, and consistently promoted / branded.

6.4 Influencing Behaviour change: Upskilling and Awareness Raising

Stakeholder understanding and informed awareness of Fair Trade in the context of Active Global Citizenship is generally poor, even amongst international development NGOs. Knowledge rarely extends beyond the FT Mark as a consumer labelling initiative. Global Citizen education relating to Fair Trade across all 10 principles is required to address this and should be facilitated across trade, purchasing and business functions within the public and government sectors in Scotland if real change and scalable Fair Trade growth is to be achieved. All SGID partner organisations have a role to play in working together towards their shared 'fairer world' goal in the context of SDGs.

Wider SG directorates and SG agencies have responsibility for ensuring that SFTF has access to the appropriate forum to provide information and share knowledge of the key principles of Fair Trade and good practice already in existence. At the forefront of this work, the SG Learning Directorate, which has responsibility for Curriculum development, should consider scope for collaboration between FE Colleges, Education Scotland, Workers' Educational Association, Scotland's Learning Partnerships and Learning Link (the networking organisation for adult education providers). It might also examine the scope for FT to become an integral part of Adult Community Learning & Development and the Learning for Sustainability short courses run by Education Centres.

Other less obvious policy areas also have a part to play. For example, more work is required to provide the SG's Scottish Procurement & Commercial Directorate with a detailed briefing about ways in which purchasing Fair Trade products will support Scotland's implementation of SDGs and sustainable procurement legislation.

Other public agencies and membership organisations representing Scottish business (both small business and major companies with a Scottish base) should be encouraged to voluntarily participate and/or commission awareness raising of fair and ethical trade and the delivery of SDGs through the NPF indicators. There is a clear role for both SFTF and Scotland's ID Alliance members in providing training and engagement activities that support the alignment of Scottish business and public agency Corporate policies to fair and ethical trading practice. Lastly, the Co-operative Group's Member Pioneers are regarded as an important source of support for raising awareness amongst consumers and should be encouraged to connect to a local city/ town/school Fair Trade group where such links do not currently exist.

6.4.1 Practical Project Ideas

a. A Global Citizenship annual award scheme might be considered to bring together cross- sectoral partners from business, public agencies, social enterprise and NGOs (complimenting existing award schemes) in order to demonstrate good practice in global citizenship that goes 'beyond aid' and philanthropic approaches. The awards scheme could become a showcase for demonstrating inter-dependencies across SDG themes and 'ethical and fair trading' models.

b. A small grant funding programme or sponsorship opportunity (such as through partnerships with business and university interests) should be considered/ extended to fund pilot curriculum and awareness raising material/events for business and public sectors which can be tracked in terms of impact on sales growth within an organisation or sector (e.g. colleges and universities where there is an existing commitment to Fair Trade and academic staff with an interest in developing further resources).

c. Letter Friends Scheme - consider this low-cost model of engaging with schools across Global Citizenship themes, including Fair Trade.

d. Fair Trade Module - a potential opportunity is for one of the Colleges or Universities with FT status to be supported in initiating a Fair Trade module at the appropriate academic level forming part of HNC/HND, degree or other higher education course linked to SDG's (the review is aware of interest by lecturing staff in taking this forward)

6.5 Coherent Policy for Sustainable Development: Making an Impact

The Scottish Business Pledge, developed between the SG and business, is a clear area of inconsistency in terms of an holistic approach to SDG implementation and the pursuit of fair and ethical trade globally. The Pledge needs to urgently develop meaningful indicators for trading internationally, with an emphasis on supplier relationships, traceability and corporate responsibility for supply chains.

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

6.5.1 Priority Practical Actions

a. The business-led group working on a draft Action Plan for Business and Human Rights should urgently consider the auditing of their proposals by an independent agency such as the Forum or Alliance (or one of its members) in order to eliminate policy incoherence and provide independent scrutiny to the proposals;

b. The Scottish Sustainable Procurement Strategy should review, in its next refresh, its definition of Fair and Ethical Trade and the barriers currently inhibiting adoption of Fair Trade products within voluntary interpretation of sustainable procurement;

c. The NHS in Scotland should urgently review its current published Procurement Strategy and guidance for health boards, ensuring that it defines ethical and fair trading to provide consistency with its Active Global Citizenship commitment.

6.6 Fair Trade Visibility and Product Range: Opportunities

As part of the national debate on sustainable food supply chains, there are opportunities for alignment of Fair Trade suppliers and products to the new organic, locally sourced demand for food, which emphasises direct relationships with producers.

SFTF and its members should explore how it might achieve resource efficiencies and more direct relationships with suppliers through the creation of one national or several distribution hubs through which retailers could purchase. There is a specific need for such a network to broaden the range of products on offer and achieve economies of scale in purchasing. This will require business/ social enterprise start up support to establish and short term loan funding for initial stock.

Working with actively engaged Fair Trade Universities, Colleges, schools and FTOs in Scotland, there are opportunities to develop and support innovative models of short, transparent Fair Trade supply chains, working in partnership with producer groups in the developing world to introduce new products (and engage disadvantaged communities in Scotland) for mutual communities' benefit.

6.6.1 Practical Ideas

One purchasing manager expressed enthusiasm for developing a 'College enterprise' working with students with additional support needs to create a social enterprise that purchases, roasts and markets coffee beans from an identified Fairtrade certified producer co-operative. Such an initiative would enable enterprising activity and provide community benefit for Scottish young people as well as supporting Fairtrade sales and generating a Fair Trade Premium (albeit at a very modest level).

6.7 Scaling Up Fair Trade Growth

As the most significant market for developing FTOs and the wider Fair Trade market, procurement by public agencies and large corporates of Fair Trade products must become a priority for the Scottish Government across its directorates to ensure that its sustainable procurement principles are, in fact, being enacted in practice. This represents the most effective mechanism for increasing sales growth at scale in Scotland, given the withdrawal of several major brands and retailers from FT licensing scheme and the limited visibility and choice of FT products on supermarket shelves. This Review advocates that priority should be given to working with food service providers on their knowledge of Fair Trade range of products on offer to the public and corporate sector markets.

This should include consideration of KPI and target setting for year on year improvements in Fair Trade contracts. A next step on the sustainability journey will be to set baseline, indicators and targets for both the growth of expenditure on fair and ethical trade (and environmentally sustainable products) and the expansion of product ranges. SGID might also consider whether the FT mark certified sales figures be used as one of their International Development indicators within the NPF.

Our understanding is that data on current public procurement sales volumes for Fairtrade produce is not collated by any of the national procurement agencies. The key procurement agencies Excel, TUCO, NHS, APUC are encouraged to work together to establish a baseline and achieve year on year improvements.

6.8 Advocating for Fair Trade: Volunteering and Civic Society

Consideration should be given to strengthening the structure, management and role of volunteering for Global Citizenship action to achieve change in consumer and retailer purchasing behaviour, building on the strength of grass roots Fair Trade networks across Scotland and the existing work of Development Education Centres.

To encourage volunteering amongst young people, the SFTF might look at the structure provided by the Saltire Award scheme for volunteering and the different types of volunteering roles accredited. The Investing in Volunteers accreditation scheme might also be considered as a development action for the SFTF, with support to finance training in order to better promote the volunteering roles within Fair Trade and global citizenship action in Scotland.

The Fair Trade Sweden 'Ambassador Scheme' is a strong example worth exploring to determine whether it would be a relevant model that could add value to the existing remit of the SFTF - particularly its digital based training and specific training linking FT to SDGs and with a focus on 'Living Wage' commitment.

6.9 Business Support for Fair Trade Organisations as Social Enterprise

With an increasing recognition of the social economy as a key contributor to economic strategies, opportunities exist for developing alliances between Fair Trade and Social Enterprise and third sector representatives in Scotland. This should be in particular reference to promoting awareness of Fair Trade as a social business model and a means of achieving social good globally. The work of the World Fair Trade Organisation CEO Erinch Sahan is commended in this respect.

Given the complex network of social enterprise organisations that exist in Scotland, it will be important to support the Forum by identifying the most appropriate sources of support and to map the most effective support journey for Scottish FTOs. Urgent support for FTOs facing persistent barriers to growth is required, if existing products are not to be lost from the Scottish market.

6.9.1 Practical Ideas

a. A process to determine the most effective 'business support pathway' for an existing Scottish FTO could be undertaken immediately. An appropriate social enterprise organisation would map the most effective pathway for FTOs, assessing sources of guidance for appropriateness, referring where necessary and monitoring business development progress over a six-month period. This would establish where the 'choke' points for FTOs are within existing referral processes and the Social Enterprise Map of Scotland and identify the most productive sources of advice.

b. In tandem with the pilot and using the business support needs identified through the Review's online survey, Social economy leaders should be encouraged to work with the Forum to offer business support for start-ups and existing enterprises facing challenges.

c. Social Firms Scotland and Social Enterprise Scotland should consider examining FT cafes run as Social firms in Sweden to investigate whether the 'concept' would have relevance within the social enterprise sector in Scotland.



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