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A Nation Goes Bananas for Fairtrade!

Today’s Go Bananas! blog is from Martin Rhodes, Director of The Scottish Fair Trade Forum. The second Fairtrade Nation in the world! Who will be the next?



Humza Yousaf, Minister for External Affairs and International Development, with Ukrumah Suda and Yunita Anggraini from Perketi, an Indonesian Fair Trade craft organisation.

2013 was a big year for Fair Trade in Scotland.  We were awarded the status of ‘Fair Trade Nation’ – only the second nation ever to get this award (after Wales).  The award recognised many years of commitment to Fair Trade in Scotland.  There are approximately 150 Fair Trade campaigning groups across the country, each with a team of dedicated volunteers working hard to spread the word of Fair Trade in their local communities.


Scotland is also the home of some hugely influential Fair Trade organisations, such as Campaign Coffee Scotland, set up in the 1970s to sell Tanzanian coffee at fair prices, which in turn led to the creation of Edinburgh-based Equal Exchange, one of the most innovative Fair Trade organisations in the UK.  The award was a fantastic way of recognising this dedication, and also showed that Fair Trade is very much on the national agenda.


A year has now passed since achieving this status.  This does, of course, beg the question ‘What next for Scotland as a Fair Trade Nation?’. Despite the tremendous significance of being the world’s second Fair Trade Nation, there is still much work to be done in Scotland to ensure that we continue to source, purchase and consume ethically while spreading awareness of the positive change Fair Trade can make to producers in the developing world.


Scotland is therefore still very much on its Fair Trade journey.  Fair Trade Nation status focused mostly on public awareness.  While this is paramount to continuing the positive national attitude to Fair Trade products, the greater purchasing power of companies in the private sector and large public bodies creates opportunities for Fair Trade goods to be purchased in vast quantities.  The next stage of Scotland’s journey therefore is to ensure that Fair Trade practices are fundamental to the purchasing procedures of businesses, public agencies and the voluntary sector.


One of the most significant upcoming events for Fair Trade in Scotland is the Scottish Government’s Procurement Reform Bill. The Scottish Fair Trade Forum has continued working to promote awareness of Fair Trade at institutional and community levels, and we have been able to put the case to policymakers that Scottish communities have a clear and continued desire for ethical procurement, both in the public sector and in their own personal spending habits.  Additionally, reform in the European Parliament provides an opportunity for a substantial and sustainable development in public sector spending on Fair Trade, following a new directive passed in January this year.


Considering the magnitude of the possibilities that these new directives and the Procurement Reform Bill in the Scottish Parliament present, 2014 has the potential to be another highly significant year for Fair Trade in Scotland.  With these policy changes in place and the continued commitment of policy makers and members of civic society, there exists the real opportunity to continue progressing from Fair Trade Nation status, attained just one year ago, to becoming a nation with ethical purchasing truly at the core of its national culture.


We now wait to see who will become the world’s third Fair Trade Nation.  If you’d like it to be your country, why not speak to other campaigners and relevant organisations to see if there’s any interest in this?  We’d love to hear from you!


So, who will be the next? Will it be you? Follow The Fairtrade Nation on twitter and share their Fairtrade experience and experiences. 

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