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 ecologically-friendly production. Fairtrade has lifted over seven million people out of poverty in 58 developing countries. It restricts the use of damaging pesticides and encourages sustainable farming methods.
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. If you live elsewhere in East Dunbartonshire, why not set one up? Visit the Fairtrade Towns website to find out more.
Thousands of mainstream products now carry the Fairtrade mark, and several establishments in East Dunbartonshire, including Balmore Coach House, go over and above the norm to offer wide selections of both Fairtrade goods and fairly traded goods that do not carry the official mark. Just Trading Scotland, One World Shop and GreenCity Wholefoods are other local names to look for.
Farmers’ Markets are also a good way of supporting small (local) producers who do not come under the official Fairtrade scheme. You can support Fairtrade by encouraging other people to make changes. An easy way to start this is to spread the word to friends, family and local shops and workplaces. You can do this in several ways:
- Encourage people to read the Scottish Fair Trade Guide
- Encourage shops to 'Stock It' using pre-printed postcards available from the Fairtrade Foundation
- Sign up to help The East Dunbartonshire Fair Trade Steering Group The Scottish Fair Trade Forum
- Take the Fairtrade plan beyond East Dunbartonshire - Oxfam will give you many ideas - look under 'Get Involved’. Friends of the Earth also run relevant campaigns.
The 90kg Rice Challenge, where groups buy and re-sell 90 1kg bags of fairly traded Kilombero Rice, generating enough proceeds to allow the Malawian producers to send a child to secondary school for a year.
Schools and local organisations can also help by selling fairly traded products (e.g. foods, crafts, toys, musical instruments) from Balmore Coach House. Goods can be provided on a sale or return basis, and staff are willing to meet with groups to tell the story of the goods.
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. This award has been renewed four times since then, most recently during Fairtrade Fortnight 2015.
Council support is a primary aspect of being a Fairtrade Zone. The Council's Fairtrade Motion set out a basic commitment to use Fairtrade products at Council meetings and now regularly uses fairly traded rice and sugar.
Fair trade in schools
Fair trade is recognised as a theme across learning within Curriculum for Excellence, and East Dunbartonshire's schools are working to embed it in all aspects of school life.
The East Dunbartonshire Fair Trade Schools Group supports and promotes fair trade activity in local schools and their communities. Everyone is welcome to come along to local meetings to find help and share ideas and experiences; guest speakers can also be requested through the group. East Dunbartonshire resident Angela Oakley leads the group and can provide details of meetings and available support.
Support will also be available via Glow; a 'Fairtrade Schools' site for East Dunbartonshire’s schools is being created on the new system.
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. The Award was relaunched in 2014 to be more flexible, more relevant to learning and easier for schools to convey. It has three levels: FairAware, FairActive and FairAchiever.
Seven East Dunbartonshire schools achieved the old Award: Westerton, Craighead, Milngavie, Baljaffray, Holy Family and Millersneuk Primaries and Douglas Academy. In the new system, Balmuildy Primary was one of the first schools to achieve the FairAware and FairActive School Award.
To supplement classroom activity and show fair trade in action, Facilities Management have established a week-long fair trade ‘themed menu’ in school canteens, which is currently run twice a year, during Fairtrade Fortnight and One World Week.
In 2010, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum’s Fairtrade Cotton Schoolwear campaign was piloted in East Dunbartonshire; it has now gone national, and the local work continues. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the injustices in the supply chain and to help schools switch to Fairtrade cotton school uniforms and sportswear.
Milngavie and Craighead Primary Schools were the first two schools in East Dunbartonshire to introduce Fairtrade cotton schoolwear.
Angela Oakley is the Volunteer Co-ordinator of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum’s Fairtrade Cotton Schoolwear Campaign; she can visit schools and parent councils to help schools to switch and to teach about Fairtrade cotton.
Following the inspiring work done in our schools, our nurseries have embraced the Fair Trade Nurseries programme too. As part of the pilot programme, fourteen nurseries worked together to achieve the world’s first ‘Fair Trade Tonne’ of rice, based on the 90kg Rice Challenge. The Nurseries programme is being rolled out nationally as a result of the East Dunbartonshire pilot.