The Scottish Fair Trade Forum AGM & National Campaigner Conference was on the 6th September at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
The day began with the AGM and Martin Rhodes’ Director’s Report of the Forum’s activities over the last year. The Report included the Fair Trade Festival in Perth and the visit of Isaac and Lydia from Kuapa Kokoo. The annual accounts were presented and approved by the members. Presentations from Bala Sport and Shared Interest followed, and then the results of the Board elections were announced : Angus Coull, Fiona Mailley and Diane Green are the new members on the Board of Trustees and you can read about them here.
After a short break for tea and coffee the National Campaigner Conference began. Kevin McCullough (Head of Campaigns at the Fairtrade Foundation) kicked off the day by talking about 20 years of Fairtrade and the delegates enjoyed some lively discussion about their favourite Fairtrade product and there was even a prize for knowing the three first Fairtrade products to carry the mark back in 1994! (Maya Gold, Cafedirect coffee and Clipper tea, by the way.) Kevin then introduced the theme for Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 and asked the delegates to discuss and feedback ways that they could engage with the theme, as well as ways that Fairtrade Fortnight could be improved.
After a delicious lunch we were joined by some newcomers who had come specifically to hear the keynote speaker Bandi Mbubi’s talk about the work of Congo Calling. Bandi completely captivated the delegates when he spoke about the terrible situation in the Congo partly caused by the mining of minerals for use as tantalum in all kinds of electronics and how we can get involved to make a difference, and to make companies make a difference! He said that 'Everyone who owns a mobile phone has a bit of the Congo' and that we all have a responsibility to lobby for systematic change. You can see the live tweets from Bandi’s talk and the whole conference here.
After a short break our panel discussion began with our panellists Javita Narang (Weaving Destination), Fiona Mailley (Equal Exchange), Kevin McCullough (Fairtrade Foundation) and Bandi Mbubi (Congo Calling) and chaired by Graeme Clark, Chair of the Scottish Fairtrade Forum Board. There was lively discussion and then lots of questions from the floor. The discussion ended with each panellist saying their favourite impact of their work/Fair trade in general (which you can see in the live tweets) - a really inspiring ending to an excellent day.
A collection of photos from the day are here, please feel free to have a look and share!