Many of the people providing everyday necessities such as food and clothes are often denied these same necessities. In poor countries especially, low wages and poor working conditions have forced many into crippling debt, depriving families of their basic rights.
'Fair Trade' is about making trade fair - i.e. ensuring decent wages and working conditions for producers. It’s also about encouraging eco-friendly production. Fair Trade has lifted millions of people out of poverty and encourages sustainable farming methods.
What’s the difference between Fairtrade and Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a general movement involving various organisations, including the World Fair Trade Organisation, the European Fair Trade Organisation and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office. It involves supporting small producers and businesses at home as well as abroad.
Fairtrade (all one word) is a scheme within this movement, controlled by the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations (FLO) International and other partners, and characterised by the Fairtrade Mark and a particular set of standards. The Fairtrade Foundation provides further information.
Fair Trade in East Dunbartonshire
East Dunbartonshire's involvement dates back to Balmore Coach House's forward-thinking activities in the 1980s. In the early 2000s, Milton of Campsie Parish Church spearheaded an area-wide movement that led to the formation of the East Dunbartonshire Fairtrade Steering Group in 2005.
In October 2007, the Fairtrade Foundation designated East Dunbartonshire a Fairtrade Zone - one of Scotland's first. The area has renewed this status biannually and has achieved continuous Fairtrade Zone status since 2007.
Council support is a primary aspect of being a Fairtrade Zone. The Council passed a resolution in November 2016 supporting Fair Trade locally - including a pledge to use such goods wherever possible when catering for meetings and functions.
The Fairtrade Town movement brings local people together to take action in their area. You don’t have to live in a town to get involved - Fairtrade Villages, Boroughs, etc, also exist.
Fairtrade Town groups are already active in Lenzie and Bearsden & Milngavie.
On 16 February 2024, Lenzie was awarded Fairtrade Town status for a further three years. For the latest information, check out the Lenzie Fair Trade group on Facebook (external link opens in new window).
Fair Trade in Schools and Nurseries
Fair Trade is an important theme across various aspects of school life in East Dunbartonshire and supports the Curriculum for Excellence.
The Fairtrade Schools Award, granted by the Fairtrade Foundation, gives recognition to schools working to raise awareness of Fair Trade in their school and local community. Many of East Dunbartonshire’s schools have achieved or are working towards awards through this scheme.
The area is a leader in Fairtrade cotton schoolwear and in demonstrating the many ways in which Fair Trade can support Pre-school learning.