Dear Fair Trade supporter,
On 2 November, we submitted our initial evidence that Scotland has the right to call itself a Fair Trade Nation and our case is now being reviewed by an independent evaluation panel. We will be offered an initial view on the strength of our argument and the opportunity to make amendments to the report before the panel makes a recommendation to the Scottish Government. I'm confident that we have put in a strong bid and I am hopeful that the evaluation panel, and the Scottish Government, will be impressed by the body of evidence that we have been able to assemble. The Forum's Board met this week to look at the future strategy for the campaign after Scotland, hopefully, achieves Fair Trade Nation status.
The other bit of government-related business that has kept us busy this month is our feedback on the Scottish Government's Procurement Reform Bill. When I asked you in last month's newsletter to take part in the consultation, I didn't appreciate that the Government wanted you to do so by means of a technical questionnaire! Clearly they intended this to be used by procurement professionals. So I am sorry if that came as a bit of a shock but I take comfort in the fact that I have never known a Fair Trader to be daunted by a challenge. Thank you to all of you who offered your views. You can find a summary of our response below.
Director, Scottish Fair Trade Forum
PROCUREMENT REFORM BILL 2012
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum has welcomed the Scottish Government’s Procurement Reform Bill consultation, stressing the importance of adherence to social and labour law, including relevant national and international commitments.
In a response submitted to the Scottish Government, we expressed our belief that the Procurement Reform Bill must include provisions applying fair and ethical trading at all stages of the public procurement process and that the bill must allow for public bodies to state preferences for fairly traded goods, in particular.
Legal precedent has been set as recently as May 2012 for such a preference, giving freedom to public bodies in the Netherlands to request and require Fair Trade products from bidders.
We believe that the inclusion of laws promoting ethical values in trade can be easily incorporated in the Procurement Reform Bill. Social reporting measures can facilitate the transparency of the procurement process to ensure that these criteria are met.
As Scotland moves towards achieving Fair Trade Nation status, it would be especially meaningful if fair and ethical trading standards were met within public bodies across Scotland in line with the Scottish Government’s Fair Trade commitments.
You can read the full text of our response
(PDF, 157 KB) on our website.
Peterhead and Buchan on gaining Fairtrade Zone status.
Orkney in setting up a Fair Trade Group.
Equal Exchange on their Small Co-op Big Achiever Award 2012 for their continued dedication to go the extra mile for the farmers they work for in some of the poorest areas of the world. The awards are organised by Co-operatives UK.
Fair Trade: World
HOW FAIRTRADE IS 'FAIRTRADE'?
The BBC's recent Watchdog
programme turned the spotlight on to traceability in Fairtrade products.
While the ethos of Fairtrade is that consumers should know where a product comes from and how it was produced, organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation accept that the way some produce is harvested and shipped makes it very difficult to keep Fairtrade separate from non-Fairtrade.
Rather than steer clear of this produce, the Fairtrade Foundation has ruled that a manufacturer may use Fairtrade labelling in proportion to the amount of Fairtrade produce it buys. So, for example, if five per cent of the cocoa beans that a chocolate manufacturer buys are Fairtrade, it can label five per cent of its product range as such. The argument is that
if, as a result, a manufacturer buys more cocoa at a fair price and pays the Fairtrade premium, the farmer gains - and ultimately that has more benefit than certifying only chocolate bars that contain 100 per cent Fairtrade cocoa.
'Mass balance', as the system is known, tends to be an issue with certain products (cocoa, sugar, tea and fruit juice) and
with large manufacturers that have an extensive product range. If you want a 100 per cent traceable product, it's probably better to buy from a Fair Trade Organisation.
You can read more about the pros and cons of mainstreaming Fair Trade
on the Scottish Fair Trade Forum website.
AFRICA FAIRTRADE CONVENTION 2012
'African farmers are poorly connected to the market – poor physical infrastructure, lack of organization and limited competition mean that farmers tend to have little power in trading relationships whether at any level and become long-lasting price takers. For farmers to take risk and
invest in productivity, increasing access technology, relevant information, affordable inputs, reliable and accessible markets is critical.' Fikre Marcos, Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture, in his key note address, 2 November 2012.
Read the full address
(PDF, 384 KB)
Make a Date
If you live in or plan to visit Orkney, look out for the new Fair Trade Group's stall at this year's Charities Bazaar on 10 November 2012 in Kirkwall Town Hall.
On 14 November, East Kilbride holds its Fairtrade Festival. Browse stalls in time for Christmas, watch a Fair Trade film, find out about Fair Trade volunteer oppotunities and more. Open 7.30 to 9.30 PM in the Arts Centre, Old Coach Road.
Also on 14 November, Strathaven Fairtrade Group celebrates its tenth anniversary at Avendale Old Parish Church. Kick off at 7.30 PM. Entertainment will be provided by local schools and Strathaven Academy, with one school promising a demonstration of Bollywood dancing.
And the Inverness Fairtrade Group, with Highland Council support, hosts its annual Fairtrade Bazaar in Inverness Townhouse from 10:30 AM to 3.00 PM, 17 November 2012.
Also this month, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum continues its free training sessions for volunteers who want to get involved with Fairtrade cotton. This is an excellent opportunity if you are looking to take action on the issue of Fairtrade schoolwear:
13 November from 2 to 4 PM at the Subud Centre, Perth
15 November from 2 to 4 PM at the Marywell Conference Centre, Aberdeen
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your place.
Read all about it
Catch up on an eventful twelve months in Fair Trade: you can download a PDF copy (7.6 MB) of our Annual Review 2012 from our website.
Pledge your Support
If you'd like to encourage family, friends or contacts to pledge their support for Fair Trade, why not ask them to sign and return a Scotland's Going Fair Trade
postcard. We're especially interested in hearing from people who want to set up a Fair Trade steering group in their locality or help others who have already set up a group.
You can get postcards by e-mailing email@example.com
Become a Member
As a Scottish Fair Trade Forum member you are helping to make Scotland a Fair Trade Nation. Your membership fee helps fund our volunteer programme as well as outreach work to communities throughout Scotland. Individual and organisational memberships are offered.
on the Scottish Fair Trade Forum website to find out more.
Share your News
We would love to hear about what you have been doing to promote Fair Trade. As well as this newsletter, we publish news on our website and on Facebook. So please e-mail the editor with your stories and pictures.