What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade aims to support producers in developing countries by ensuring they are paid a fair price for their goods, have safe working conditions and use responsible environmental practices.
The origins of Fair Trade in Scotland – and indeed the UK – go as far back as the 1960s when Oxfam shops began selling handicrafts and Christmas cards made in developing countries. The movement has grown and gained popular support thanks to campaigns at a local as well as national level.
In the early 2000s, local Fair Trade supporters in the town of Garstang, Lancashire saw an opportunity for their community to receive recognition for their joint Fair Trade efforts by proclaiming their town as “Fairtrade.” From this, the Fairtrade Towns movement was established. The Fairtrade Foundation now award “Fairtrade Status” to geographical areas (be that a village, town, zone or other community) which comply with a list of Fairtrade criteria. To achieve status from the Foundation, the community must show commitment to Fair Trade and use licenced Fairtrade products.
History of Fair Trade in Perth & Kinross
Perth & Kinross has been at the forefront of the Fairtrade Towns movement in Scotland.
Aberfeldy became the first Fairtrade Town in Scotland in 2002 and Kinross-shire became the first Fairtrade County in Scotland in August 2005. Perth became a Fairtrade City in 2005, before other major cities such as Glasgow and Inverness.
There continues to be a lot of support for Fairtrade in Perth & Kinross. To give just a few examples:
- Fairtrade products are used in the Council’s Hospitality Service;
- There are several schools within Perth & Kinross Council which have achieved Fairtrade Status whilst many others have regular Fairtrade events instigated by the pupils themselves;
- The Tayside Procurement Consortium is committed to the promotion of fair and ethical trading;
- The A.K. Bell Library has a café which serves Fairtrade tea and coffee.
- Local Councillors in all wards, have taken on the role of Fairtrade Champion in order to pass on information to local community areas about ways in which Fairtrade can be supported throughout Perth & Kinross.
- The Council passed a resolution, which demonstrates ongoing support for Fairtrade.
Given the level of interest, support and activity in the region, we believe that with coordinated effort, Perth & Kinross can achieve Fair Trade Zone status and Perth can successfully renew its city status.
In 2017 Perth & Kinross achieved Fairtrade Zone status during Fairtrade Fortnight! Becoming a Fairtrade Zone is a powerful message that we, the people of Perth & Kinross, care about the lives of workers in developing countries and we want to play an active role in fighting global poverty.
Achieving Fairtrade Status
A new steering group – consisting of representatives of the council, councillors and members from local Fairtrade groups across Perth & Kinross – has been established in order to coordinate Fair Trade activities in the Perth & Kinross area. The group builds upon the excellent work which the previous Fairtrade Steering Group did. At present, the group’s two main aims are:
- To make Perth & Kinross a Fairtrade Zone
- To renew Perth’s status as a Fairtrade City.
These two targets would also support the renewal of Scotland’s status as a Fair Trade Nation.
In order to achieve status, we had to meet the following five goals:
- The local council must pass a resolution supporting Fairtrade, and serve Fairtrade coffee and tea at its meetings and in its offices and canteens. (achieved)
- A range of (at least two) Fairtrade products must be readily available in the area’s shops and served in local cafes and catering establishments (achieved)
- Fairtrade products must be used by a number of local work places (e.g. estate agents, hairdressers etc.) and community organisations (e.g. churches, schools etc.) and a Flagship Employer must be identified. (achieved with 3 Flagship Employers: Culture Perth & Kinross, Live Active Leisure and the Highland Spring Group.)
- Media coverage and popular support for the campaign must be attracted.
- A local Fairtrade steering group must be convened to ensure continued commitment to Fairtrade Town status (achieved)
How can I help?
We need the support of people and communities across Perth & Kinross. You can help by:
- Joining our campaign group! Please contact Karena for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Keeping up to date and sharing developments on our Facebook (P&K Fairtrade Zone Group) and Twitter pages (@PKFairtrade).
- Asking your local shop to sell Fairtrade products.
- Buying Fairtrade products.
- Asking your workplace to use Fairtrade tea and coffee.
- If you work in a school, helping the school to work towards Fairtrade Status.
- If you attend a church, asking if the church has Fairtrade status.
- Supporting Fairtrade Fortnight in Perth & Kinross